Washington is awash in a flood of innuendo, guesses and lies. While everyone seems to be forming an opinion as to what the facts are, only a handful of people actually know what transpired behind closed doors.
One of them, former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, is in the process of negotiating possible immunity for her testimony; the other faces giving the State of the Union address Tuesday to a nation less interested in where the nation will be several months from now, than whether its president will remain at the helm. It is essential that President Clinton address the nation to answer some questions. If he does not, his presidency will grind itself to a halt.
This past week saw events of tremendous importance. The Pope made a historic visit to Cuba during which he criticized both the Castro regime and the 30-year old U.S. embargo. Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were both in town to meet with Clinton to discuss the mired Middle East peace process and steps that can be taken to get the process moving again. The trial of Theodore Kaczynski came to an abrupt end as he pleaded guilty to being the elusive and deadly Unabomer. Relations with Iraq seem to be moving closer to another military confrontation led by U.S. forces.
But very little attention has been directed toward these events. Instead, the primary focus has been on what might have occurred between Clinton and Lewinsky, all the details of her past and possible implications to the Clinton presidency. Talk of impeachment proceedings, or at the very least delaying the State of the Union address, has circulated. The media is in a frenzy searching for any details, no matter how small, about what might have happened.
Clinton needs to tell the people what happened. In interviews immediately after the scandal broke, Clinton gave answers steeped in “legalese.” He owes it to the American people to give direct, honest answers. What occurred between Clinton and Lewinsky is still quite unclear. Unless Clinton goes on the record with his side of the story, his historical legacy will be far from the one for which he aimed. Clinton has left a void now being filled with rampant speculation and growing distrust from the people. Why doesn’t he say something . defend himself? The nation’s business will be shadowed by sideshow until he steps forward.