Clicking on banner ads enables JWR to constantly improve
Jewish World Review Feb. 13, 2001 / 20 Shevat, 5761

John Leo

John Leo
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Bill and Hill are pills

At long last, Clinton apostles are losing their faith -- MASS defections from a religious faith are rare in history. Rome abandoned its emperor worship under Constantine. Sweden abandoned Christianity for the welfare state. Now another great defection is underway. Reporters, talking heads, and fashionable folk are beginning to lose their faith in Clintonism.

This is a momentous event, unpredicted even two months ago when most followers thought the founder could stay as head of their religion for life if only the church's constitution permitted. Some analysts believe that six simultaneous scandals involving the two revered leaders of the vibrant eight-year religion may have something to do with the new doubts. Probably not, though. Historians tell us that factual evidence rarely plays a part in the decline (or rise) of any faith. Besides, if facts made any difference, the leader's false testament would have led to a schism of some sort or at least cost him a few worshipful pundits. Ditto for the famous missionary outreach to the Chinese and the miracle of the blue dress.

Whatever the cause, spiritual crisis and doubt are all around us. Sharing his dark night of the soul with readers, one Washington columnist wrote, "I am silent. I can say nothing in your defense." Some believers were shocked by charges that the founder was selling indulgences to exiled sinners for $1 million plus a coffee table or two. Others felt that the founder's wife shouldn't have registered for gifts from the faithful, accepted $8 million from Viacom for her memoirs, or made off with pricey church furniture that someone had neglected to bolt down. The whole thing "just smells bad," wrote one fervent apostle, a TV and magazine commentator who had not been known for detecting objectionable aromas in her church of choice. The founder and wife, she said, "capped their career in the White House by walking out the door with practically a pillow case stuffed with sterling." She noted that the founder's wife had clearly indicated which gifts she wanted from her followers, including china (Spode) and silver (Fabergé).

Impeachy keen. As always, a mocking village atheist spoke up to make fun of the anxiety amid the previously pious. Mickey Kaus, on his Kausfiles Web site, noted that one loyal columnist had just turned on Clinton. "What's next?" Kaus wondered. Maybe: " 'The scales have fallen from my eyes'–Gene Lyons ... 'I always said he was a sleazeball'–Lanny Davis ... 'Can they still impeach him?'–Paul Begala." The caustic references here were to members of the inner circle of believers who would rather join hands with Eleanor Clift and hurl themselves from a parapet than deny the alleged integrity of their sainted leader.

In New York City, where the founder has entered the difficult years of his Babylonian Captivity, the first signs of outright impiety were visible. One prominent Democrat told the New York Observer that the general anger toward the founder and his wife "is really quite extraordinary, actually. I've never seen a reaction this unanimous." This was a big change from two years ago, when Manhattan's faithful glitterati were still genuflecting compulsively to the founder. The Observer complained editorially at the time: "Never has a president who brazenly lied to the American people been paid back by such an eloquent stack of affidavits to his good character."

Now that faith is fading. The New York Daily News, historically reverent toward the founder, is beating him regularly upside the head. The New York Times went even further, calling the founder "insensitive," the harshest ecclesiastical reproof possible at the high church of 43rd Street.

Daily News columnist and editor Michael Kramer offered criticism so strong that 1 million readers flipped back to the first page to see whether they had purchased the New York Post by mistake. The founder and his wife, Kramer wrote, "stripped the White House, pardoned their law-breaking campaign contributors, and have generally proved anew that eight years at the tippy-top in no way caused them to develop anything even remotely resembling a moral compass."
Are you a John Leo

Ordering his latest book
-- linked below --
helps fund JWR
Readers nodded in agreement, as if this were new information. Novelist Dominick Dunne, a longtime believer in Clintonism, made an earthier remark: "Here's this brilliant man, but there's always [something unpleasant] on the heel of his shoe. And that's going to ruin his triumphal entry into this city."

Even feminist leaders, who had worked so hard to look the other way when allegations of harassment, groping, and rape were leveled at the founder, began to hint at something unpleasant on the founder's shoes. Patricia Ireland used the phrase "the arrogance of it" to describe the founder's need for a $675,000-a-year taxpayer-paid office in New York.

Cynics believe the loss of faith in Clintonism may have something to do with the fact that the founder no longer occupies his throne. Nonbelievers tend to welcome the new skepticism toward the old faith, even if it is years late in developing. "It's worth noting that once upon a time such uninhibited resentment [toward Clinton] on the part of the media elite might actually have meant something," said the Washington Times. But look at the good side: some separation at last between Clinton's church and his acolytes in the fourth estate.

JWR contributor John Leo's latest book is Incorrect Thoughts : Notes on Our Wayward Culture. Send your comments by clicking here.


02/06/01: Partner hopping
01/30/01: Sensitivity police
01/22/01: Found in the White House dumpster on Jan. 20, 2001
01/16/01: New slogan belies what the Army really is
01/08/01: The black dissent
01/03/01: The year's best quips on life, politics – and golf
12/19/00: Supreme confusion
12/11/00: Racial rhetoric conveniently ignores election facts
12/05/00: Savage fantasy
11/27/00: Victims of the year get the recognition they deserve
11/20/00: It's a chad, chad, chad, chad world
11/13/00: The election rhetoric is running much too high
11/07/00: How yesterday's hero becomes tomorrow's heel
10/30/00: Would Bush's Supreme Court picks make a difference?
10/24/00: Yankees, go home!
10/17/00: Un-American activity?
10/10/00: A tempest in an ink pot
10/03/00: The Al Gore quiz
09/26/00: The sleeper effect
09/19/00: Baby-saving made easy
09/12/00: Line between reporting and editorializing continues to blur
09/05/00: In the key of F
08/29/00: Hollywood connection
08/22/00: Some friendly advice to the GOP
08/15/00: You can't make this up
08/08/00: The niceness strategy
08/01/00: When rules don't count
07/25/00: Anti-male bias increasingly pervades our culture
07/18/00: Banned in Boston
07/12/00: What Jacoby had to deal with!
07/11/00: Will boys be boys?
07/05/00: Partial-sense decision
06/27/00: Attitude toward death penalty gets in the way of facts
06/20/00: Double troubles
06/13/00: Fools paradise
06/06/00: Accidental conspirator
05/30/00: Faking the hate
05/23/00: Was it law or poetry?
05/16/00: Here, there and everywhere, people have gone bonkers
05/09/00: Tufts evangelicals are punished for acting on their beliefs
05/02/00: Elian's opera isn't over until nearly everyone sings
04/25/00: All the news that fits: The media serve up many stories from a standard script
04/19/00: Those darned readers: The gap between reporters and the general public is huge
04/05/00: Census sense and nonsense
03/29/00: Hollywood message films leave no room for other views
03/22/00: The Vatican confesses, but is it enough?
03/14/00: Watch what you say: The left can no longer be counted on to defend free speech
03/07/00: McCain's malleable messages
03/01/00: Bush's appearance at Bob Jones U. will dog him all the way
02/23/00: 'Multi-millionaire' show is new evidence we're insane

Copyright ©2001 Universal Press Syndicate  Click here for more John Leo