"Would you allow your daughter to be in a room alone with Bill Clinton?" Never mind the obvious answer: That the question would be asked in reference to a President of the United States pretty much tells you what this man's legacy is going to be. Those job approval ratings may still be holding, but to most of America the man's ethics are repugnant.
"Most of America," of course, doesn't include the entertainment industry, which now is feeling closer to Their Man Bill than ever before.
When there was doubt about Clinton's actions with Monica his defense fund couldn't find two nickels to rub together. But as the evidence began accumulating - evidence that proved Clinton had been guilty of this sordid affair, and therefore had lied through his teeth not just in the Paula Jones case but also on national television to the entire country - presto! The spigots opened and money poured out.
A listing of the Friends of Bill who have donated the maximum ten grand to Clinton's defense fund reads like the Who's Who of the Beautiful People of Hollywood. There's the DreamWorks trio of Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen; actors and producers like Michael Douglas, Tom Hanks, Barbra Streisand, Ron Howard, Norman Lear and Bud Yorkin; and studio executives like Harvey Weinstein and Haim Saban.
They're going public, too. "I think that Ken Starr should be tried for treason," a "livid" Saban, who heads the Fox Family Channel (of all things), told the Washington Post. "This whole witch hunt is hurting the country. I am outraged as an American." Steven Rivers, a Hollywood publicist and another donor, explained to the Post that "there is nothing he could have said that would have satisfied the Clinton-haters and the pompous commentators in Washington ... I am so angry. We're talking about the destruction of the president here."
The stars are out in force, spinning madly for Bill Clinton, Victim. Dylan McDermott ("The Practice") thinks the country is wrong to "want to know everything about everybody ... It's really nobody's business." Actress Kathy Najimy ("Veronica's Closet") agrees, and though she wishes Clinton "wouldn't do things that would embarrass himself ...[it] is none of my business who he has sex with, none." Of that disastrous speech, Luke Perry ("Beverly Hills, 90210") says, "In the toughest of situations, the tightest of boxes, he handled himself very eloquently, as nobly as they would allow it to be."
Love notes of support for Clinton are also pouring in from the music industry, as one finds on MTV's web site. "Kenneth Starr is not a prosecutor," intones Ken Jordan of The Crystal Method. "He has just been digging for dirt the entire time." Rapper Fat Joe muses, "I love Bill Clinton. He's just like any other man. It ain't his fault he's not a player. He just crushes a lot," whatever that means. Tommy Stinson of The Replacements and Perfect is more blunt: "Ken Starr should be shot."
But nothing, and I mean nothing can top the performance of "comedian" Chris Rock, once of "Saturday Night Live," who now has his own show on HBO. Appearing on NBC's "Today" show August 19, he was asked by Matt Lauer what question he would pose were Clinton to be a guest on his show. "I would ask him if it was worth it," Rock replied. "'Was it worth even running for President?' That's what I would ask him. 'Was being President worth all this crap?'"
"I love Clinton," Rock continued, before inadvertently underscoring the obvious: "I don't even understand the crime." Just how ignorant is this man? You decide. "Hey, why don't you tell Saddam Hussein the truth right before you are getting ready to bomb him? 'I just thought you needed to know.' That's not cool. Do you know how low it is to go after somebody's sex life? You know that's the lowest you can do."
Rock then offered his solution: "I mean, Clinton: Give me a call. I will whup Starr's ass. If he would pardon me, if President Clinton would pardon me, I would whip Starr's ass right now. I will get a crew from Brooklyn and we will stomp him?Who else? Stephanopoulos ... he needs to get stomped. Somebody need to whip his ass. Anybody."
All those trips on Air Force One to Beverly Hills over the years are not only paying rich financial dividends, they're generating the only positive spin the president can find. "Clinton chose his supporters well," one insider told the Post. "To pick a Hollywood constituency is a kind of genius; no behavior is shocking out here." It makes you wonder how they might have reacted had he told the truth.