Paula Broadwell speaking at her alma mater, the University of Denver, on October 26, 2012.
The old adage from the Watergate days is that “it’s not the crime it’s the cover up”. But what exactly constitutes the crime can itself be a matter of some doubt. What was the crime in Benghazi? Was it doing stuff that shouldn’t be done? Was it being surprised by the enemy? Was it not reinforcing men who were dying under fire? Was it telling tales out of school? Or just tales that were different from the tales told by the boss. Because Benghazi was terrorism from the first, didn’t Candy Crowley say? She sure put Willard right there.
Or was it sending threatening emails to some lady in the State Department? And what was she doing anyway? Was it believing in the integrity of a general? Faith is the deadliest sin in the journalistic profession. Or was it having an extra-marital affair? If you’re going to fess up, what are you going to fess up to?
In other news Jesse Jackson, Jr. is reportedly negotiating a plea deal likely to include resignation and jail time for “alleged misuse of campaign funds to decorate his house and purchase a $40,000 Rolex watch for a female friend.”
But was it that really? Had it nothing to do with attempting to buy a certain Senate Seat from a certain Governor now languishing in jail? Of course not. That would involve more than a little jail time.
Back in the bad old days of the Soviet Union everyone who was anyone had a crime to confess to. It might be plotting with Trotsky or being a capitalist roader, or an economic saboteur, or an opportunist or a wrecker. It was astounding to see how many crimes a person could have been concealing all of his life. Maybe the ultimate sign that one has arrived at the pinnacle of power is that you get to choose from a cafeteria of raps. Perhaps the more clever ones had a couple of lesser offenses in reserve against the day when they had to plead guilty to something.
Pity the man who’s done nothing but one big bad thing. He can’t proclaim his innocence, since nobody believes in innocence any more, and he hasn’t got anything lesser to bargain down to. As Clint Eastwood proclaimed in a movie, “we’ve all got it coming”. You never want to have nothing to plead guilty to.
Perhaps the moral of the story is that all of us who can’t remember a $40,000 Rolex we gave to a mistress are some kind of failures. If all you’ve got at the end of your life is a few unpaid parking tickets and a bottle of hootch in the kitchen cupboard then you missed a turning somewhere. We forgot to learn life’s lesson: the only crime is to lose.
To fall from the heights, like a star at creation’s beginnings, that were noble indeed. It means you were a player.