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The Clinton-Lewinsky Affair
by Avinoam Sapir

People say that "politicians lie all the time." But "Total Belief in the Subject" means that what a person says is true. However, there are two situations that we have to check:

1.  The subject didn't tell us everything - the most the subject will do is to be "truthful but incomplete".

2.  The subject will use his own subjective dictionary to run away from commitment to his denial or assertion. For example, Susan Smith who could say, "I wouldn't do something like that." She couldn't say that she didn't. Only that she "wouldn't".

The Clinton-Lewinsky affair allows us to check these two points.

The latest denial by President Clinton was issued on January 26, 1998. In his denial Clinton said:

"I want to say one thing to the American people. I'm going to say this again. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie. Not a single time. Never. These allegations are false and I need to go back to work for the American people."

There are two questions: 1) Did Clinton have sex with Miss Lewinsky? and, 2) Did he ask her to lie?

1.  Did Clinton have sex with Miss Lewinsky?

When we deal with any incident which relates to sex, we need to take into account the person's subjective definition of "sex".

In the above-mentioned denial, one should note that Clinton does not talk about "sex", but about "sexual relations". So, one can ask: what is the difference between just "sex" and "sexual relations"? Moreover, Clinton did not use the pronoun "we" in regard to the "sexual relations", a pronoun which is quite expected in an activity which calls for closeness between people.

"Total Belief in the Person" means that we should ask ourselves: "Is it possible that the person is truthful, but with this true statement the person still did it?"

With this question in mind, we can go to one piece of evidence that was mentioned in the media.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Monica Lewinsky has said on one of the tapes of her conversations that the president told her that oral sex didn't count as a relationship.

If this is true, then it would explain how Clinton can say that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."

He didn't have any "sexual relations" which, according to this subjective dictionary, would very likely be defined only as sexual intercourse which calls for mutual closeness and for the use of the pronoun "we".

However, if Monica Lewinsky was only performing oral sex on Clinton then, technically, he would be truthful. She would have had sex with him, but he wouldn't have had sex with her.

It is interesting to note, but this subjective definition is found also in article by the magazine "Vanity Fair" about Newt Gingrich (September 1995).

Anne Manning is quoted as saying the following: "He [=Gingrich] prefers that modus operandi [=oral sex] because then he can say, 'I never slept with her.'"

2.  Did Clinton ask Lewinsky to lie?

If in regard to the sex Clinton targeted his denial toward "that woman, Miss Lewinsky", in regard to the suspicion of urging her to lie we find a very encompassing denial - "I never told anybody to lie. Not a single time. Never."

One should note that an encompassing denial is not stronger than a specific one. On the contrary. When a person is suspected of doing something, then a simple denial would be sufficient. Any deviation from the simple denial should alert us that something is wrong.

One should note that before Clinton got elected as president he used the same denial in regard to using drugs: "I never violated any law of my country." Later on, he admitted that he was very technical in his denial and he did "experiment" with drugs when he was in London.

Although Clinton produced an encompassing denial in regard to him asking Lewinsky to lie, his denial in regard to the suspicion that he asked his friend Vernon Jordan to ask Lewinsky to lie is a very different denial:

"I absolutely did not do that. I can tell you I did not do that. I did not do that."

A very specific and a strong denial which is quite reliable. However, if the second denial is reliable, then the first one is not.

3.  Does Hillary Rodham Clinton support her husband?

Hillary is being quoted as saying the following:

"...It's difficult and painful any time someone you care about, you love, you admire, is attacked and subjected to such relentless accusations as my husband has been. But I also have now lived with this for, gosh, more than six years. I have seen how these charges and accusations evaporate and disappear if they're ever given the light of day."

Let's compare this defense to the one she gave in 1992 when the Jennifer Flowers situation was in full steam:

"I'm sitting here because I love him and I respect him and I honor what he's been through and what we've been through together..."

If in 1992 Hillary Clinton used the pronouns "I" and "we" in professing her love towards her husband, in 1998 these pronouns are missing. Instead, she used the second person "you".

This should bring us to conclude that Hillary's support for her husband is not as strong as it was in 1992.

© 1998 By Avinoam Sapir