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Press Bill Press is co-host of CNN's Crossfire. He is providing exclusive analysis to CNN during the election season.

Bill Press: The right-wing posse rides again

March 31, 2000
Web posted at: 11:26 a.m. EST (1626 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- I know you're not going to believe it, but one day this week I heard a little kid in my neighborhood singing this refrain:

Watermelon Dan, Watermelon Dan,
Out to get the Clinton man,
Hell will freeze before he can,
But he'll keep trying,
Watermelon Dan.

And so it goes every spring in Washington: the right-wing posse rides again, all three members, each loonier than the last.

Their leader is Watermelon Dan Burton, who of course got his nickname by inviting reporters to his back yard and shooting a watermelon to prove (how?) that Vince Foster did not commit suicide, a wacko theory he still believes, despite at least four investigative conclusions to the contrary.

Watermelon's right-hand sidekick is Lonesome Larry Klayman, partner in the Vince Foster conspiracy, as well as such other sinister conspiracies as: Ron Brown's murder by Clinton operatives, just before his plane crashed; Linda Tripp's stepmother's mysterious divorce; and Harold Ickes's bizarre refusal to reveal the names of his cats. All of which, in his Inspector Clouseau style, Klayman has thoroughly investigated.

Rounding out the trio is far-right-hand cowboy Redneck Royce Lamberth, federal judge who has smiled brightly on nearly every one of the 31 lawsuits filed by Klayman so far against the Clinton Administration. Starting with calling former Clinton aides "hooligans" and "con artists", Lamberth has earned his reputation as #1 Clinton-hater on the federal bench. In Lamberth's court, with rare exception, whatever Lonesome Larry Klayman wants, Lonesome Larry Klayman gets.

Of course, there's no such thing as a free posse. It costs money, even to ride the range. No problem. Money-Bags Richard Mellon Scaife rides to the rescue, with over $1.3 million to Klayman's Judicial Watch over the last two years.

And so -- with Scaife's money, Klayman's suspicions, Lamberth's blessing and Burton's hearings -- the right-wing posse saddled up again this week to pursue their elusive prey, the wily Bill Clinton. This time, on two new charges. Neither of which even passes the laugh test.

One, raised by Klayman and ruled by Lamberth: that Clinton violated the Privacy Act by making public the warm, personal letters he'd received from Kathleen Willey -- most of them signed "Fondly, Kathleen" -- in one of which she called herself his "number one fan" -- and all of them written after he had allegedly fondled her in the Oval Office. Baloney! Personal letters aren't covered by the act of privacy. And besides, in this country, thank God, anybody accused of sexual harassment has a right to defend his good name and provide evidence to the contrary, even the president of the United States.

Two, raised by Klayman and pursued by Burton: that the White House conspired to cover up thousands of White House e-mails that MIGHT -- just MIGHT -- contain incriminating evidence against Clinton or Gore. Nonsense! Technicians who installed the new system, designed to store and archive all e-mail, say the computer simply crashed. As all computers do.

Besides, the White House has already turned over 7,700 pages of e-mails, which contained no damning evidence. Unless, like Klayman and Burton, you see a conspiracy under every rock, it's hard to believe there's a smoking gun in the missing e-mails, either. After all, what more could we possibly learn, or care to know, about Monica Lewinsky? Enough already!

Still, the right-wing posse never gives up. Sure, they struck out on Whitewater, and on Filegate, and on Travelgate. Despite all the rhetoric, they never found any illegal activity in the White House coffees or phone calls or overnights in the Lincoln Bedroom. And, while they did manage, with their allies in the House, to get Clinton impeached for enjoying oral sex with Monica, he is still in office, stronger than ever.

But, hope springs eternal in the breasts of the Clinton-haters. Watermelon Dan, Lonesome Larry and Redneck Royce have saddled up one more time to go out and get their man. This time, they insist, they'll bring him back, dead or alive.

Don't hold your breath.


Friday, March 31, 2000



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