Tag Archives: Classic Sadness

Classic Sadness: Bill Clinton Defines “Is”

Bill Clinton found himself in trouble in 1998.  The Lewinsky Scandal would haunt him from that point on and will most likely remain the defining point of his presidency.  While the entire affair (pun noted) was full to overflowing with sadness Clinton’s use of semantics earns him a special place in our sad political history.

After adamantly telling Jim Lehrer shortly after the story broke that “There is no improper relationship” we all know that it turned out that indeed there actually had been an improper relationship.  Clinton defended himself very sadly indeed:

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the–if he–if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”

Basically Clinton finds his answer justified as he and Miss Lewinsky had no improper relationship that day.  Of course had Lehrer not been such a sloppy reporter and asked all questions in past/present/future tenses Clinton’s high moral standards would have forced him to admit that there was a relationship.

In the resulting deposition Clinton was asked “Have you ever had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky, as that term is defined in Deposition Exhibit 1.”  That definition clearly wasn’t ironclad as Clinton honestly answered “I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.”

Apparently the definition, as interpreted by Clinton, included only giving oral sex – not receiving.  In addition he claimed never to had contacted Lewinsky’s “genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks” by saying:

“I thought the definition included any activity by [me], where [I] was the actor and came in contact with those parts of the bodies.”

Put simply while Lewinsky’s breast may have touched Clinton, he did not touch her breast.


We do feel some sympathy for Clinton: if there’s one thing the testimony offered proved is that this was perhaps the most depressing example of oral sex ever undertaken.  However that sympathy can not extend to our verdict.

While these amazingly pedantic explanations did prevent Clinton from being impeached we are still forced to charge him with Felony Douchbaggery for what continues to be the textbook definition of the term.

Classic Sadness: The 2003 “Mission Accomplished” Speech

Photo by Wikipedia

On May 1st, 2003 – less than six weeks after the start of a conflict many would argue is still ongoing – President Bush announced “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”  An enormous banner reading, “Mission Accomplished,” ruffled in the breeze behind him.

Of course we now know that although “Major Combat Operations” stopped the conflict continues to this day and has claimed (by varying accounts) the lives of over 4,500 U.S. servicemen and  women and tens-of-thousands of Iraqi (some estimates are in the hundreds of thousands) after this announcement.

It may be argued that the case depends completely on the definition of “Major Combat Operations” but semantics aside the hubris and spectacle of the day would haunt the administration.  Bush would later say in 2009, “Clearly, putting ‘Mission Accomplished’ on an aircraft carrier was a mistake.”


The administration’s later admissions concerning the inappropriateness of the banner coupled with the legitimate points about the definition of what was being announced soften the blow here.  While history may very well treat the former president more harshly we can only sentence him to Misdemeanor Douchebaggery for hiding behind technical definitions and ignoring the broader implications.  We also add the charge of Dumbassery in the Fifth Degree simply for being unable to see how easily this could bite him in the ass.