Governor of Texas Says No More Stealing, You Guys
July 10, 2002
By Doug Pibel
With a predictability rivaling, say, the rising of the sun,
the dispensers of public wisdom have discovered the source
of the corporate crime spree which is taking up far too much
valuable headline space these days. This naughtiness, of course,
originated, just like all other ills currently afflicting
America (not, mind you, that I would intimate that there is
one single thing wrong with America) behind Bill Clinton's
It goes like this: Ken Lay, Bernie Ebberts, and all those
other fine captains of industry were perking along, making
piles of money through their industry, thrift, insight, and
many other heroic characteristics. Then, one day, they learned
that Bill Clinton had, um, well, oh, read the Starr report;
it's all in there. Whereupon, they threw up their hands in
existential despair, proclaiming as one, "If the President
of the United States can get away with having an intern tootle
his skin flute, I'm done with probity. From this moment forward,
I'll just go ahead and rob from the public."
It makes perfect sense, if you think about it right. I mean,
just by being forced to think about that randy presidential
member, I'm inspired to, well, what? I don't have the capital
to set up a good stock scam. But, hey! I could rob a bank!
I've said, "skin flute" and "member," and I bet most of you
are already itching to get out there and commit some crimes.
See how it works?
The former Governor of Texas (FGOT) is truly exercised about
this issue. Apparently, the little problem WorldCom had, the
one with putting $3.8 billion into the wrong column, was just
about almost the final straw, pretty close. He got onto the
teevee and was downright snappish, and proclaimed that this
sort of chicanery just has to stop. Especially if people are
going to keep getting busted. OK. He didn't say that last
part. He also didn't burst out laughing when he found out
what they were making him read.
In today's surreal world, that should have been the end of
it. Next day headlines: "Former Governor of Texas Says No
More Stealing, You Guys."
But some suicidal reporter had the temerity to ask the FGOT
how he squared his outrage at this corporate chicanery with
his own history of wee securities peccadilloes. The FGOT,
as is his wont, did not answer the question, responding instead
that all he has ever done has been vetted.
Which is true, at least as to securities transactions. The
SEC vetted four things the FGOT did before he was the GOT,
and found that, at least in terms of SEC rules, his actions
were, oh, what's that word — violations. The SEC, in a move
having nothing to do with the fact that they were investigating
the eldest son of the sitting president, took no further action.
I eagerly await the announcement from Ari Fleischer that
this inaction by the SEC constitutes exoneration. That inevitable
pronouncement will conflict with a directly contrary statement
by the SEC. It will also conflict with the well-known truth
that, although microscopic examination of every allegation
ever made against Bill Clinton (Waitress: "He didn't even
tip!") yielded a total of zero convictions, he was not exonerated
Which brings us back to where we must always return in modern
American political discourse: To Bill Clinton's zipper.
The odd part is the timing. Dick Cheney, for instance, has
clear access to the zipper defense. When he was busy running
the good ship Halliburton onto the shoals, the rules had already
been Monicaed out of existence.
The FGOT, however, presents a bit of problem. It seems this
may be the only instance in that fella's charmed life where
he actually led the curve, since, when he was engaging in
a little harmless insider trading, Bill Clinton was still
governor of some insignificant cracker state, not yet having
stolen America from the proud and moral leadership of the
rightful holder of the office of president.
There's really only one possible explanation for this. The
FGOT knew ahead of time where everything was going to end
up, and decided to get his licks in before sacrificing himself
to a life of public service. He's been telling us lately about
his visions — Switzerland on the Gaza and such — and he just
hasn't been called upon to share that earlier one: "Suddenly,
I knew that, in a few years, the president would unzip in
the oval office, and this stuff would be excused."
It is those precognitive skills, I suspect, that got the
FGOT the title of president, while Uncle Dick only gets to