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|Hunting of the President, The
by Chris Parry
I remember how it went down. The US was looking good. The economy was ridiculously strong. The war in Kosovo had just ended without a US casualty. And then came Monica. Suddenly we all thought Bill Clinton should be impeached. Why wouldn't we? He'd got a blow job in the Oval Office. Get him outta there, right? Well, maybe not so much. Maybe we need to look deeper. Maybe we need to look at the guys who had spent the previous four or five years digging for anything that could bring Clinton down. Perhaps we need to investigate the hornets nest of Republican people with a grudge who had offered money, sex, position and power to anyone who could find something to drag the President under. sure, Clinton was blown by Monica, but when you see exactly what went on to get to that piece of information, it becomes apparent that every scandal Clinton had but for the last one was not exaggerated - rather, they were manufactured.Remember Paula Jones? I remember Paula Jones. Who could forget that saddle she called a nose? Who could forget her claims that she was lured into a hotel room by Clinton where he dropped his pants and spanked Senor Monkey? We all heard about it. We all sympathized, at least to some extent, and even though nothing was proven, we never forgot. The shit stuck.
"You can not watch this film and not feel sick in the stomach about it."
Same with Whitewater. We didn't quite understand what happened to get Hilary and Bill investigated for financial wrongdoings, but we knew something fishy was happening, so even though nothing was proven, some of the shit stuck.
Then there was Jennifer Flowers. Unlike we did with Paula Jones, we had no sympathy for this big-haired bombette when she talked of her one-time romance with Clinton, mostly because it looked like she was the kind of girl who would have been doing the luring. Still, despite Clinton saying he'd never met the woman, some of the shit stuck.
So was Clinton just a bad guy? Why did all this happen to him? Was he just a scumbag who managed to avoid getting caught until the very end?
No, it would seem. According to The Hunting of the President, Clinton made the mistake of disappointing some friends back in Little Rock. The former Governor rode into the White House on a wave, but left behind a few folks who thought they should be riding in his wake. So they got mad. And then they got ornery. And then they got connected.
The elves were a group of lawyers who agreed to pay for Paula Jones' legal advice as she sued Bill Clinton for sexual harassment. Jones wasn't going to sue, but once 'the elves' agreed to back her with dollars, she had nothing to lose. So she sued. And Clinton tried to settle. And Jones wanted to accept his settlement. But the elves wouldn't have got their gallon of blood out of Clinton if that had happened, so they leaked sensitive information about a supposed "distinuishing characteristic" of Clinton's penis to the press, and the settlement offer was duly pulled. And once again, the shit stuck.
(For the story on these events, take a look at Salon.com's excerpt from the book The Hunting of the President, which this documentary was based on.
The elves included all manner of Republican names, such as right wing bulldog 'commentator' Anne Coulter. Right wing talk show host, Laura Ingraham, was also involved in the case, helping spread leaks to Matt Drudge. Strangely enough, these two sabouteurs are often rolled out as 'commentators' by the supposedly 'liberal press', where they frequently defend the Republicans no matter what, call liberals things like cowards and scum, but never disclose that they themselves actively sought to bring down the last Democrat President. This conspiracy not only spent a boatload of money invesitgating the President, but also included one Ken Starr, who spent $55m of the taxpayers' money running an ongoing investigation of the President.
Compare this to the Bush government, who have spent a mere $12m investigating the events of 9/11. Which is mor worthy of investigation do you think?
So anyway, I could go on about the conspiracy for days, but all that is really pertinent is that, as is seen clearly in this documentary, the Republican conpiracy that Hilary Clinton talked about was real. and until you see this film, or read the book it was based on, you can't even know one tenth of it.
Let's just say that the man at the center of this conspiracy was DATING Jennifer Flowers at the time she made her accusations against Clinton. Conflict of interest anyone?
So is this a great documentary? Not exactly. Like so many interesting political documentaries of the last few years, it suffers greatly from production values that sit o the low side, and tends to ramble on when the fence-sitters in the audience need to be kept interested. To be fair, there's a whole lot of information here, much of which would be just about impossible to chop because it ALL matters and is ALL jaw-dropping stuff, but that's what separates the great documentaries from the merely good ones.
And The Hunting of the President is 'merely good'.Which, when considering the importance of the subject matter, makes it unmissable. From insane private detectives to former right wing journalists who realized they couldn't stand by and watch what was going on any longer, to friends of the Clintons who were jailed because they wouldn't perjure themselves, this is a collection of conspirators so devious and unflinching that you have to ask yourself if democracy can ever truly be saved. Personally, I'm saying we've already lost the fight. (For more on this film, including clips and background information, take a look at the official website at http://www.thehuntingofthepresident.com/)
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originally posted: 04/08/04 22:04:10
|OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
This film is listed in our political documentary series. For more in the Political Documentary series, click here.