The Neverending Story

bob schieffer
I'll be frank: I thought it was in questionable taste the way former President Clinton slow-walked his way out of Washington with that long speech extolling his accomplishments at Andrews Air Force Base on Inauguration Day, the day that former presidents usually surrender to the new president.

But I thought that would be the end of it. Silly me.

I've lived and worked in Washington through Vietnam and Watergate, but I can't recall anything quite like the spectacle the Clintons and their relatives have made of themselves in recent days.

No, there's no threat to the Constitution as Watergate was. To be sure, they've done the country and those who believed in them no favors, but it's what they have done to themselves that is so striking.

The pardons and the gifts and the relatives - well, I guess no one can pick their relatives - are adding up to a legacy that may be unique among America's first families. For all the weaseling and double-dealing, the whole thing has taken on an aura of comic stupidity.

The New York Times now characterizes the president as one who constantly forced the nation to make unappetizing choices. The Wall Street Journal said the twists and turns of the Clinton saga are becoming as hard to follow as the plot of a Russian novel.

All that sounds about right. But what worries me is that it looks as if it could run as long as a Russian novel.

© MMI Viacom Internet Services Inc. All Rights Reserved