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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

Truth at any Cost: Ken Starr and the Unmaking of Bill Clinton

By Susan Schmidt and Michael Weisskopf
Perennial, 328 pp, 2000

One of a myriad of books about the Monica Lewinsky scandal that led to former President Clinton's impeachment, this is one of the few that does not adopt the Clinton spin that Starr was a sex-obsessed, partisan, rabid right-winger. In fact, Truth at any Cost is actually about Ken Starr. It follows the Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC) from the first moment it heard about Monica Lewinsky until Ken Starr's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, defending his report.

The book is revealing. So many lies and distortion spread by Clinton and his team of spinners are exposed. So many false rumors spread by Clinton's allies in the press are punctured. 

For example, Ken Starr was not obsessed with sex. In fact, the OIC debated whether they should even investigate Lewinsky and Clinton. Finally, the OIC left it up to Attorney General Janet Reno to decide, and she gave them the green light. Starr and his lawyers found the sexual shenanigans embarrassing and awkward, but to prove that Clinton lied in the Paula Jones case, as he surely did, they had to prove that sex had occurred. Otherwise, Clinton's attack lawyer David Kendall would say there was no evidence of perjury. 

It's important to note that in all the attacks and accusations hurled at Starr, none proved true. The spinners didn't attack the substance of the Starr report because they couldn't. It was all demonstrably true. All the cries of leaks to the press about grand jury testimony were also false. 

Ken Starr conducted himself honorably and decently. He tried his best to follow the law. He relied on guidelines from the Justice Department. For that, he was demonized by Clinton and the Democratic party. Before he became Independent Counsel, Starr enjoyed a sterling reputation by all parties in Washington. Funny how that changed once Carville and other slobbering attack dogs sprung. 

If Starr can be faulted for anything, it's that he didn't play the political game. He didn't defend himself in the arena of public opinion, even as he was winning convictions and court decisions. He failed to understand that if you are going to accuse the President of the United States of criminal conduct, you must, at the very least, have the respect and trust of the public.

But that does not change the fact the he was in the right.

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