Yesterday I said a few words about Blood Sport, my friend Jim Stewart’s meticulous examination of the charges against the First Couple.

It turns out, for example, that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s $100,000 commodities profit was really not rigged after all. She did nothing wrong. One wonders whether George Washington would have fared as well with a meticulous examination of his famed expense accounts.

But what of Whitewater? When all is said and done, on page 430, Jim concludes that although the Clintons were subsidized in this investment by James McDougal (mostly without their knowledge) . . . the amounts of money were minor; the investment — unlike the events that triggered Watergate or Iran-Contra — did not take place while Clinton was President . . . and (quoting the book) “there isn’t any conclusive evidence that Clinton, as governor, bestowed undue favors on McDougal in return for being subsidized.” Indeed, one of McDougal’s persistent gripes was that he got no special favors.

Nor, Jim goes on, “is there any evidence that Madison Guaranty funds were siphoned from the S&L to Whitewater or the Clintons. Despite all the concerns in the Treasury Department and White House, the Resolution Trust Corporation concluded its investigation of Madison Guaranty [the McDougal S&L] at the end of 1995 and recommended that no action be taken against the president or first lady. Persistent allegations that Vince Foster was murdered, even that the Clintons may have been involved, are preposterous. The evidence is overwhelming that Foster committed suicide.”

Clinton foes will find lots in this book to like. It recounts embarrassing personal details and the Clintons’ sometimes unfortunate attempts to deny or deflect them. But the bottom line is that unlike so many public officials, the Clintons did not abuse public office. They did not enrich themselves at taxpayer expense. They really have worked 30 or 35 hours a day, between them, trying to make the economy strong, the world peaceful, the environment safe, the children literate, the society tolerant.

It’s too soon, and beyond the scope of Jim’s endeavor, but one day there will be a book about the Clintons that talks about all the good stuff. It won’t be juicy, but it will be long.

Tomorrow: The Agenda — Reprise


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