No Tears for Bob Barr

I nominate pornographer Larry Flynt for the Congressional Medal of Honor for having performed the distinguished service of forcing Rep. Bob Barr off all the national news networks for at least one day. Barr, who seemingly timeshares at MSNBC, CNBC, Fox, and Court TV so that he may trash President Clinton hourly on morals charges, is less than pure himself. It turns out the only thing pristine on Barr are the white sheets he needs when speaking to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a white supremacist organization.

Unlike the president's enemies, who use media, Flynt hires investigators and then reports facts that are verifiable. Drudge and Co. smear first, then ask corroborating questions later.

Flynt has a sworn affidavit from Barr's second wife (Barr is on number three and counting), Gail Vogel Barr, that the conservative lawmaker repeatedly pled the equivalent of the Fifth Amendment during the couple's divorce proceedings. Barr refused to answer questions regarding his alleged adultery.

Why is this relevant? Because Barr has endorsed Ken Starr's position that it is an impeachable offense for Clinton to have exercised executive privilege so that his staff members would not have to testify about the presidential sex life. If asking for privileges during legal proceedings in order to get out of revealing embarrassing sexual escapades is impeachable for Clinton, then it is similarly wrong for Barr and he should be removed from office for the crime of obstructing justice in his wife's divorce.

If, however, it was fair for Barr to exert privileges to protect himself from embarrassment in a legal case, then it is OK for the President to also exert privileges. Barr is a hypocrite unworthy of judging the president or anyone else. (Possible exception: serving as a jury member in Larry King's divorce hearing from his ninth wife?)

Next, Flynt reveals that Barr paid and arranged for his wife to have an abortion in 1983. This interests moralists because Barr has called for a constitutional ban on abortions and has said that "abortion is the murder of the unborn." Since Barr is also in favor of capital punishment for criminals convicted of murder and other high crimes, it is only fair to infer that Barr believes he himself should be executed as an accessory to murder.

Flynt's implicit questions: "Why should anyone listen to Barr's request to remove Clinton from office over not wanting to talk about his sex life when Barr has used similar tactics? Why, especially, should anyone listen to Barr judge crimes arising from sex, given that he would imprison or execute women who have sex and then seek abortions, when he has used the abortion solution himself to cover up his unplanned sex?"

Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson has demanded of Clinton: "End the tactics of sexual terrorism and put your buddy Larry Flynt back in the plain paper wrapper where he belongs." It's a good thing Nicholson wasn't under oath when he made this comment. The GOP leader knowingly lied when he called Flynt a "buddy" of the president and this is relevant or "material" to the issue at hand.

I welcome Nicholson‚s concern about the politics of personal destruction, but where has he been for the last seven years? Not a peep was heard from Nicholson when right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife started the $2.5 million Arkansas Project to look for dirt in Clinton's life so long ago. Tears ran down Majority Whip Tom DeLay's face when crying about Rep. Bob Livingston's loss of privacy, but DeLay's mug was dry when Jerry Falwell promoted The Clinton Chronicles, a video claiming Clinton is a murderer, drug dealer, and cocaine addict. Former important person Newt Gingrich screamed "mindless cannibalism" when he became the entree of the day, but he was more than happy to snack on Drudge Report tidbits of fictitious Clinton rape victims.

Clinton's critics accuse him of being shameless; they know of what they speak. For the last several weeks, the right-wing media establishment led by Drudge have been pushing a seven-year-old discredited story that Clinton fathered a child via a black prostitute. When DNA testing vindicated Clinton, did the conservative establishment issue mea culpas to Clinton or the public? Far from apologizing, Drudge issued a release congratulating himself: "The Drudge Report was first to reveal the DNA chase that captured the attention of official Washington in a series of exclusive reports." Huh? Drudge wants a pat on the back for being first and loudest at telling discredited lies about his political opponents.

Flynt or Drudge, who is the real pornographer?

TJ Walker is a nationally syndicated columnist and the president of Progressive America, a progressive think tank. Walker appears regularly on the Fox News Channel, Court TV, and MSNBC. His latest book is: The Impeachment Conspiracy! Why Bill Clinton Should NOT Be Removed From Office. He can be reached at or

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