Bill Clinton and the word "is"

I really hate to defend Bill Clinton. However, I think that much of the anti-Clinton rhetoric tends to focus on the wrong aspects.

Not a day goes by when I don’t hear someone make a comment about his “it depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is” statement. Some use it to attack his intellect (“You mean he doesn’t know what “is” means?”) while some use it as an example of a slick lawyerly dodge.

Here’s the thing–it was a legitimate explanation of a legitimate answer to the question he was asked.

IIRC, the comment referred to a question from his original testimony–“Is there a relationship between you and Ms. Lewinsky?” He answered, “No.” Of course, there had been a relationship between him and Ms. Lewinsky before, but at that time there was not. So if by “is” you mean “is there right now” (which is what I would think), his answer is correct. If you mean “is there right now or has there ever been”, his answer is incorrect. This sort of subtlety is the stuff of the legal profession.

Let’s say I ask about an ex-girlfriend of yours. I ask, “Is there anything going on between you two?” What’s your one-word answer? “No.” You might go on to explain, but Clinton was under no obligation to do so. He answered the question as he understood it, and as I think most people would.

Don’t get me wrong–the man is as crooked as the proverbial dog’s hind leg, although I don’t think he is moreso than the average politician. (I do think that he is better than most at the art of being crooked, but that doesn’t mean he’s more crooked.) I’m just tired of seeing this statement taken out of context.

I put this in the Pit since it’s a general rant. Just to make it properly Pit-worthy, shit fuck piss ass bitch.

Dr. J

I agree that slick Willie is goat felching, lying ass son of a bitch. But I find it sad that we really had a special prosecutor spending thousands of dollars a day investigating if he did or did not get a hummer, from who, when.

To paraphrase Bill Maher; it’s not like he was going to die and leave the country to Monica Lewinsky.
And my all time favorite
“We KNEW he was a liar. That’s why we elected him. He was the BEST liar.”

I think the really sad part of the affair is that the president of the USA, the most powerful man in the world, couldn’t get a better piece than Monica Lewinsky? A zaftig, not-too-bright, Chatty Cathy who talked like a Valley girl?
And he didn’t even have real sex with her, just a series of hurried blow jobs.
Now if he had been caught in the Lincoln bedroom with Sharon Stone, I would have had a lot more respect for him.
And if he had been caught in the Lincoln bedroom with Brad Pitt, I REALLY would have had a lot of respect for him! :wink:

DoctorJ, the incident about the word “is” is not the story, it’s just a humerous example of the trend. Surely you’ve heard of other slippery incidents, but in case you’ve been living in a cave, I’ll enumerate a few:

Vietnam Draft Dodging
“I didn’t inhale”
Jennifer Flowers
Vincent Foster
Monica Lewinsky
Paula Jones
Questionable fund-raising

Even strong supporters of Clinton’s politics find his personal ethics tough to defend.