Strakon Lights Up, No. 48

Audits and Arkanacides


Conservative writer and attorney Ann Coulter talked to Fox News's Bill O'Reilly today about the audits that the IRS has initiated against enemies of the Clintonistas. I found their conversation thought-provoking — more specifically, thoughtcrime-provoking. Coulter said it's a "mathematically improbable series of coincidences" that anti-Clinton outfits and people ranging from the Heritage Foundation to Paula Jones to the NRA to Oliver North's Freedom Foundation to Juanita Broaddrick to the American Spectator to the Christian Coalition to Billy Dale (late of the White House Travel Office) should all have come under the IRS gun within the same handful of years.

Remarkably, O'Reilly, who is an acerbic critic of the Clintonistas, revealed that he himself has undergone "fishing expedition" audits in each of the past three tax years. He firmly believes they were politically motivated and therefore illegal. However, he told Coulter, "I don't know what the chain would be — you know, Clinton's not going to say, 'Audit that s.o.b. O'Reilly.'" Understanding that Clinton isn't "dumb enough to have a trail that leads back to him," O'Reilly asked Coulter how she imagined the process did work: "Who's going to do it?"

"I think the way it happens is the way all of these things keep happening in the Clinton administration," she said. "He surrounds himself with protectors and scoundrels who will do all of this for him, and somehow they never get punished, they're never held accountable."

"Well, who's going to investigate?" O'Reilly interjected. "Janet Reno? She's not going to do it."

"Well, no, that's a good point. We basically have the robo-cop criminal president now, because the constitutional response is to impeach and remove him, and we've been down that road and it's not going to happen, so now he can pretty much audit whomever he likes."

"Yeah," O'Reilly said, "he can do what he wants to do." Near the end of the interview, Coulter underlined the point: in the wake of the failed impeachment, we suffer under an "administration that can do anything it wants now."

I wish I could say that it was only at that point that the hairs on the back of my neck started to rise, but in fact they've been standing at attention since 1993.


This isn't the first time a coincidence involving the Clinton regime has been described as strange. On July 9, 1994, the ultra-respectable neoconservative magazine The Economist cautiously conceded that "it is true ... that a peculiar pattern of suicides and violence surrounds people connected to the Clintons or their associates. It may be no more than coincidence; but it prompts questions." The unsigned article, "Curiouser: Whitewater. Several associates of President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton have died violently," appeared shortly after Robert Fiske acquitted the Presidential Palace of all responsibility in the liquidation of Vince Foster. The Economist described the deaths of a few Clinton-connected victims — Kathy Ferguson, Bill Shelton, Jon Walker, Jerry Parks, Gary Johnson, and Stanley Huggins — and commented, "All this may be a pack of cards piled up by over-eager conspiracy theorists and ideological opponents of the president. But it remains strange."

This is old stuff, of course, to card-carrying members of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy and their libertarian confederates. The longest list of Clintonista hit vics that I've seen — from an Internet source much less respectable than The Economist — contains 56 names. That list, from 1998, casts its net pretty widely: it includes, for example, the former Clinton bodyguards killed at Waco, Trade Minister Ron Brown, and Mary Mahoney, the lesbian activist and former White House intern who was shot execution-style at a Starbucks in Georgetown. A high proportion of the deaths on everyone's list are classic Arkanacides — deaths that corrupt Arkansas officials, observing long tradition, know better than to scrutinize too closely. They include the subset called Arkansas Suicide Syndrome, whereby the victim shoots himself in the back of the head.


In "The Godfather," Michael Corleone tries to convince his innocent schoolteacher girlfriend, Kay Adams, that his father, Don Vito, is "no different than any other powerful man — any man who's responsible for other people, like a senator or a president."

"You know how naive you sound?" Kay asks.


"Senators and presidents don't have men killed."

"Oh," Michael says. "Who's being naive, Kay?"

I've always respected Michael Corleone's appreciation of the imperatives and tendencies of Power. Although some of the purported Clintonista hit vics probably are accident victims or suicides, just as sleazy Arkansas coroners and Establishmentarian investigators have hastened to assure us, I've never had any difficulty believing that rulers of great states, or the functionaries around them, sometimes have inconvenient people murdered.

My problem is, I've studied a little history. A fellow should never do that if he intends to remain a reliable citizen. One of the great achievements of the educational revolution of the 1960s, from the standpoint of our rulers, was to convince many university students and public-school pupils (not to mention their teachers) that the study of history is either "irrelevant" or best restricted to the activities of various women and colored people that no one had ever heard of before. That approach has robbed younger Americans of any perspective with which to investigate the eternal struggle of Power and Liberty. Equally unfortunately, the only history many older Americans were ever exposed to was a bundle of civic fairy tales designed to fortify the myth of American Exceptionalism and the reality of the American Empire. The consequence is that only a disaffected minority, young or old, can even countenance the possibility that political murders and conspiracies can occur in America, although they have occurred with considerable regularity in all other countries in all of history.


While I think highly of Michael Corleone's intellect, I've never thought very highly of that of a certain other fictional character — "Rhodes scholar" Bill Clinton. But the creature does exhibit hyperactive animal instincts, so I allow that Clinton isn't "dumb enough to have a trail that leads back to him," as Bill O'Reilly put it. If political murders have occurred in order to promote or protect Bill Clinton, I doubt the man himself has even been in the loop. Though many sociopaths and rapists think nothing of committing murder, it's quite possible that Clinton has never even staged an outburst like Henry II's — "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" — that he could later pretend was misunderstood by over-eager operatives.

Some leaders emerge from a study of history as capable of directly ordering murders. For example, published transcripts of their phone conversations reveal Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill indulging in thinly disguised badinage about opponents and inconvenient people they had liquidated or were planning to liquidate. Although one or two scholars have impugned the authenticity of those transcripts, they positively reverberate with the ring of truth. It's as easy to imagine Roosevelt or Churchill marking little X's on a list of dissenters and political opponents as it is to imagine Stalin doing so. It's not so easy to imagine Billy Clinton doing it — or being permitted to do it. Roosevelt and Churchill fall into that class of leaders who were creatures of their respective ruling classes but not puppets; by contrast, the creature Clinton is pure puppet. His handlers might risk letting him commit the odd rape; surely they could not risk letting him commission a series of murders.

Ann Coulter has sharpened an intellectual tool that may help us understand how the strange deaths surrounding Clinton's rise and rule were orchestrated. We probably won't know for 20 or 30 years — if we ever know — who actually did the clubbing and the shooting and the sabotaging of airplane fuel tanks: Hot Springs low-lifes, killer cops, CIA hit men, or corporate "security specialists." But we already know, as Coulter says, that Clinton has "surround[ed] himself with protectors and scoundrels who will do all of this for him" without having to be asked. In terms of the "strange deaths" and the people responsible for them, I would guess that Clinton — while he was being invented as a national figure by the Powers That Be — didn't surround himself with scoundrels so much as find himself surrounded by them. In any case, Coulter's "robo-cop criminal president" is an image to take home and ponder.

Thanks, Ann. And sweet dreams, everyone.

June 3, 2000

© 2000 by WTM Enterprises. All rights reserved.

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