“It is not, what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason, and justice, tell me I ought to do.”
– Edmund Burke, 1775
So, the Clinton “Dream Team” is almost settled. Six years ago Bill Clinton proudly created a cabinet that “looks like America.” You know, Linda Tripp gets put through the wringer for saying “I’m you” and yet Bill Clinton’s cabinet of system-gaming, rent-seeking, Gucci-loafer lawyers gets to “look like America.” Anyway that’s an old argument. Regardless, we doubtlessly are in store for a level of legal equivocation, semantic surgery, and secular moralizing the likes of which this country has never seen. But in the last year of this, the American century, that is how we decide between right and wrong, truth and lies. That’s our bed, we might as well lie in it. Personally, I was hoping that Bill would put together a team of lawyers that, well, looks like Bill Clinton. The dream team would have to pass muster with the same quota bean counters that approved his cabinet so it too would “look like America.” Here’s my roster:
The Dersh: If you gave Alan Dershowitz a dose of viagra, his posture would improve, he’d get a ruddy complexion, and he’d grow a few inches taller. It’s doubtful his head could swell any more. Alan Dershowitz is the Clinton-defending lawyer that even the Clinton defenders privately hate. Nevertheless, he is a very smart man. He uses his ample brain power in the same way that Clinton does — by cleverly elevating himself at the expense of others. Dershowitz, whose latest book is entitled Sexual McCarthyism, is in fact America’s leading McCarthyite. He constantly uses guilt by association, innuendo, “secret” information, and smug accusations which sound lofty but which are intended to debase. Just last night he suggested the White House was leaving Barney Frank off its list of House Democrats who might join Clinton lawyers because Frank is gay. But usually he’s sliming Republicans, suggesting, for one of a million examples, that if Chief Justice Rehnquist decides motions in favor of the House Managers, then he has reprised his role as a perjurer and a racist. Dershowitz is a mean, brilliant, and remorseless practitioner in the art of “blame the other guy.” He’d be the captain and he’d fill the Harvard-Jewish chair.
At his right hand would be, you guessed it, Greta Van Susteren. Greta shares several things in common with Clinton. She has a utilitarian and totally unapologetic understanding of the facts and a use ‘em or lose ‘em philosophy about legal rights. The president should be proud that he knowingly dragged the Executive Branch through privilege suits that he knew were inappropriate, according to Greta. The entire world is a legal proceeding for Greta and as long as your behavior can filter through a court room without a jail sentence — what’s the big idea? Bill Clinton’s cabinet supposedly looked like America even though it was almost entirely made up of lawyers. In the world according to Greta, she’d have it no other way. Greta would be second in command and would fill the increasingly important female, (Hollywood mandated) Scientologist, Trial Lawyer Association approved chair. Let’s see, what’s left? We need to fill the libidinous, self-righteous, sex- is-cool-even-with-the-interns-chair. Also we really could use someone who minimally fulfills the Latino requirement. Hmmmmm? Of course, Geraldo Rivera! He’s already spent a year sucking up to Clinton, he might as well get paid for it (if he’s not already).
Full Disclosure: I should add that Geraldo spent quite a bit of the last year being very nice to my mother and, to a much smaller extent, me. Whether this was genuine or simply blow-dried suck-up journalism is beyond me. He wanted us (really her) to come on his show and when she said she’d rather shave her head with a cheese-grater he gave up (I went on a couple times, but I think he got tired of me refusing to play the game his way). So now he regularly calls my mother a “snitch,” a treacherous betrayer of the truth, etc. She actually snitched on nobody, and has always told the truth, but Geraldo sounds very good when he’s angry.
Anyway, years ago during his stint as the Latino Jerry Springer, Geraldo had fat from his ass injected into his head — clearly it took. But he is an avowed adulterer, having cheated on his former wife (daughter of Kurt Vonnegut) with the wife of former Senator Jake Javits. He also did a little three-way hot girl-girl action with two coeds in his office boiler room (You can look it up in his book). So to him, Clinton may actually be a prude. Sanctimonious, popular in the minority community, shameless Don Juan, Hell, forget being his lawyer, the Democrats should dump Gore and run this guy in 2000. That concludes the staring line up. But there’s room to feather-bed the second chairs. So let’s see, we already have a Jewish Harvard Law professor, a Scientologist personal injury lawyer, a demi-Latino sex-addict, what are we missing? Oh yeah, Johnnie Cochran. Black guy. Smart. Knows how to refute conclusive DNA evidence. He already declined to represent Monica Lewinsky because he didn’t want to do anything that would hurt the president! Who else? Lanny Davis? Hmmm, smart, sycophantic to the president, administration experience, nooo, I don’t think so. MSNBC producers might have to work if we took him off the television. But while we’re there, how about Cynthia Alksne? Blonde, hmmmmm Bill likes blondes. She’s a former federal prosecutor — which usually means “currently someone who defends criminals for a living.” She has that high school cheerleader cattiness…. She’s a keeper! C’mon down! Anyone else? I don’t think so, the rest of the lawyers already work for Clinton.