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The X-Rated Presidency

(Reprinted from SOBRAN’S, February 1998, p. 1)

Just as we’d — we thought — completed the February issue, a big news story made the piece titled “Clinton without Sex” seem peculiarly untimely. So let me add a few words on the topic.

Yes, our president has been implicated in yet another scandal with the opposite sex: as I write, it appears that he had a liaison with Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old White House intern, then urged her to perjure herself by denying the affair when she was to be deposed in the Paula Jones case. As usual, he insists he’s innocent. But this time nobody believes him. He has pulled the rug out from under his allies once too often.

It looks like curtains. Clinton finally seems to have used up all his luck, which he has so relentlessly pressed. His denials meant nothing; apart from being a habitual liar, he’d already sworn, in his own deposition, that he’d never done anything improper with Miss Lewinsky. The slightest admission would have been a confession of his own perjury.

Clinton has been trying to define his “legacy”; well, here it is. He’s the Sex President. That’s his essence, and that will be his reputation for all time. It goes deeper than mere “womanizing.” He’s both advocate and exemplar of the sexual revolution. He has used the presidency to promote everything from gay rights to late-term abortion. The notion that he’s been a “nonideological” president is nonsense; his ideology is a fusion of Hugh Hefner and Gloria Steinem. His kind of statism is actually more subversive of family life and personal responsibility than old-fashioned socialism. But while the failure of economic socialism is generally acknowledged, the destructiveness of the sexual revolution is still denied.

In politics, the sexual revolution is chiefly focussed on abortion. This issue, more than any other, has won Clinton the support of the major media and turned their eyes away from his “private” life. They’ve obligingly (and anachronistically) treated his personal conduct as “irrelevant” to his conduct in office, despite the intimate connection between his philosophy and his lewd behavior. Sexual freedom, women’s “liberation,” and the materialist pursuit of happiness all depend on the legitimation of abortion, as media liberals understand very well.

The advocates of the sexual revolution avoid facing its results as resolutely as tobacco companies evade the connection between smoking and cancer. And Hollywood now glamorizes free love in the same way it used to glamorize cigarettes: no illegitimacy, disease, disgust, heartbreak, shame, dishonor, or damnation attends it. The same debased and carnal image of human nature that creates our entertainment also shapes our politics.

This explains Clinton’s rise to the presidency better than any specific data of his life in Arkansas; his party almost unanimously favors the half-covert revolt against the Creator. The Sunday before the new scandal broke, he and Hillary were photographed coming out of church together, both beaming, he cheerfully carrying the Bible — presumably an expurgated edition.

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