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The Truth, Mainly - 05/23/1994

Imposter? Maybe, maybe not

I don't want, God knows, to add to President Clinton's shame. Not since Jerry Falwell inflicted the president with his peculiar brand of Christian ministry.

As bearer of The Good News, Mr. Falwell is selling $43 videotapes passing along charges that President Clinton has engaged in just about everything from sexual hanky-panky to complicity in the murder of "countless people." Mr. Falwell says he doesn't know if the charges are true, but he feels called upon by his ministry to disseminate them because "the national media should have been doing it and has been hypocritically quiet."

"We're simply saying these charges are being made, look at them and determine what is true," he said on CNN's Crossfire show this month. "I am making no charges whatsoever."

Imagine the trouble he could cause if he ever gets around to making charges.

So I don't want to add to the President's heavy load. Still, the national media have been hypocritically quiet about an even more important issue than hanky-panky or murder, and I feel duty-bound to let you all in on it.

Are you ready for this?

No you aren't, but I can't wait any longer for the miscreant media to get on with their job.

Here it is: Without being at all judgmental, without making any charges whatsoever, I have reason to believe President Clinton is passing off an imposter in his current nomination to the Supreme Court—a person who calls himself Stephen Breyer and says he is a federal appeals judge in Boston and a one-time member of the Harvard law faculty.

But the horrible truth just might be this: Breyer is an English professor! Yes! The closest he may have ever been to the law was when he paused ten seconds to watch "Night Court" while he was flipping through the channels looking for "Masterpiece Theatre."

"Judge" Breyer has not, of course, admitted to any of this, but what do you expect from an English teacher trying to pass himself off as a judge?

The evidence is overwhelming to anyone with half a sense of just how deceitful this administration is.

How else explain the AP photograph last week of this guy astride his bicycle, wearing a short-sleeved, necktie-less unironed shirt and baggy pants, supposedly on his way "to his office in the federal courthouse"?

He's also wearing a goofy grin that suggests he's been caught in the middle of some monstrous prank. The last person I saw grin that way was an English professor who'd just been asked to justify the sabbatical leave he was on.

And how are we supposed to react to the Knight-Ridder story telling us that Breyer rides a three-speed bike and only one of the gears works? Or that he once wore a suit for nearly six months "without noticing, as nearly everybody else did," that an armpit was ripped out? Or his wife's story about his coming up out of the basement for some tools to fix a leaking water pipe?

The Truth, Mainly


"Then he remembered something else he was supposed to be doing," she said. "He got in the car and drove away. He was gone for two hours." When he came back, the basement was flooded.

That, I submit, is hardly the picture of a federal appeals judge and one-time Harvard law professor. It is clearly a picture of the kind of social misfit who hangs out in English departments throughout the land, wondering if he's had lunch and when his next class is, thinking long long thoughts about ironology, deconstruction, and dangling modifiers.

Is that the kind of person we want interpreting the law of the land? Somebody who talks about the disappearance of the author, about the fallacy of trying to read the writer's intention, about double negatives making a positive?

And the President's nominee doesn't help his credibility at all when he pledges "to cut legal jargon and write clearly."

That's supposed to be a lawyer talking?

I'm not sure if Prof. Breyer—we'll pretend that's his real name—has deceived the President or if the President is deceiving the American people. We may or may not have in the White House a willing dupe of the National Council of Teachers of English, a useful idiot waiting to be exploited by the Modern Language Association.

I make no charges whatsoever. I simply bring the facts to light so that others may decide guilt or innocence. When you've got a hypocritical media refusing to say anything that might embarrass the President, somebody—Jerry Falwell and I come to mind—has to do the dirty work.


Satterfield is a college professor and writes as a means of discovery.


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