By Susan Schmidt and Michael
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.