Sarah Paulson and Beanie Feldstein in Impeachment: American Crime Story
Mannnn, you've gotta see Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp. Credit: FX

As one of the few people I know who has watched Impeachment, I’m still struggling to figure out why I’m so relatively alone in watching it.

Obsessively watching it, I might add. As in having eagerly awaited every new episode, and then rewatching key scenes.

Impeachment: American Crime Story being Ryan Murphy’s ten-part series on the Clinton/Lewinsky sex scandal of the 1990s that led to the impeachment of the president and his subsequent senate acquittal on a party-line vote.

Yes, that impeachment, as opposed to Trump’s two impeachments. I went through over 40 years of life without having witnessed any impeachments. And now in the last 20-some years there have been three presidential impeachments and acquittals on party-line votes. Not sure that’s progress.

Anyway, congratulations to Ryan Murphy on the best political show I’ve seen in, I don’t know—ever. Factually accurate. And the acting is exceptional. Especially Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp.

You remember Tripp—the sinisterly twisted former White House aide who manipulated Monica Lewinsky into thinking they were friends. And then betrayed that “friendship” in ways that are almost too diabolically evil to believe. Oh, my God, people, you have to watch Paulson play Tripp, with all her Machiavellian mind games.

And, yet, many people are skipping the show. It’s the lowest-rated show in Murphy’s American Crime Story series. The New York Times blames the low viewership on the fact that it’s not running on a major streaming service.

But I believe the explanation is more political than that. I believe people are staying away because they want to forget all about how they defended Bill Clinton.

In retrospect, no one looks good in the Clinton/Lewinsky story. Except perhaps Monica Lewinsky; certainly not Bill Clinton.

He’s a predator. He preyed on Monica Lewinsky because—well, why not? She was available. No one was around. His wife and daughter were sleeping in other parts of the White House. He obviously never imagined he’d get caught. And once he got caught, he obviously figured he could dodge the fallout by lying.

And once he started lying, he pretty much never stopped. Until even we—his defenders—had to admit we couldn’t trust a thing he said. And yet as the leader of our party—or, more to the point—as the leader of the party fighting the party we despised, we supported him anyway.

Our support only encouraged Clinton to lie some more. And he’s still lying to this day. Or evading. He’s great at that too. And he never seems to learn. Which is why, having put his family and the country through his muck and mire, he hitched a ride on Jeffrey Epstein’s airplane.

By the way, I don’t say I’m better than anyone else in this. Back in the 90s, I was cheering Clinton on as he frustrated his Republican prosecutors. Just like the rest of you.

It’s all there in the show. Well, not me. But Dems falling in line for Clinton. Maligning Monica. Writing her off as a nutcase. A stalker. A loser.

We were all like Hillary—standing by our man.

And guess who ultimately paid the price for all this deception? Well, not Bill Clinton.

No, the payback came almost 20 years later in October of 2016, just a few weeks before the presidential election, after the revelation of Donald Trump’s pussy-grabbing tape.

When that story broke—and we heard Trump making his pussy-grabbing claims—a lot of us figured the election was over. No way Trump could survive that.

Yeah, right. Trump barely apologized. He said Clinton had done worse. And just to remind us, he held a press conference with a few of Clinton’s accusers—Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey. Brought them to his debate with Hillary Clinton. And they sat right where Hillary could see them.

The Democrats had no credibility on this issue. We’d squandered it 20 years ago defending Bill.

So, yes, I can see why Democrats might not want to relive it all by watching Impeachment. It only reminds them of their complicity in the Monica-bashing.

As for Republicans, they’ve moved on. But their hypocrisy only grows. It’s hard to keep track of all their hypocrisy in this matter, but I’ll try . . .

Newt Gingrich, speaker of the House, stepped down from his position just after the impeachment investigation was launched. Turned out he was having an affair while married to his second wife—a woman he had an affair with when he was married to his first wife.

Gingrich was to be replaced as speaker by Congressman Bob Livingston, who lasted as speaker-designate for less than a month. He resigned as Congress impeached Clinton, just as Larry Flynt was about to reveal he, Livingston, had affairs with several women.

Livingston was replaced by Dennis Hastert. In 2016, federal prosecutors accused Hastert of sexually abusing four boys, some as young as 14, when he was a wrestling coach in a suburban Chicago school.

Finally, there’s Brett Kavanaugh, one of Starr’s key investigators. After Donald Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court, Christine Blasey Ford came forward to accuse Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Kavanaugh denied the accusation. And the Senate confirmed him—on, what else?—a party-line vote.

In Impeachment, Kavanaugh is played by a young comedian named Alan Starzinski. He’s the baby-faced prosecutor who presses Starr to put more sleaze into his report.

There’s also a scene where Clinton—played by Clive Owen—smugly frustrates Starr during his deposition with the infamous quote—“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

I must confess, as I watched that scene, I had to resist the urge to cheer again. In retrospect, any celebration back then was premature, considering who’s sitting on the Supreme Court.

You might say Clinton won the battle but Kavanaugh won the war. Guess I understand why it’s a tough show to watch.