The Mote And The Beam

Ken Starr, the Javert to Bill Clinton’s unzipped Jean Valjean, had a starring role in a news story last week, rich in irony and karma.

It will be recalled that Starr was responsible for the impeachment investigation of the former president that led to a report that focused less on the original allegations than on Clinton’s lunatic dalliance with the groupie intern Monica Lewinsky.

As bad as Clinton’s behavior was, Starr’s report struck many as even more creepy with its slavering over every seamy detail. It seemed to many as if they were watching an icky updating of a Puritan witch-hunt or Susannah among the Elders where the investigators were as avid for every salacious detail as the actual participants had been.

Now Starr has lost the presidency of Baylor University, a Baptist school “founded on Christian principles,” tarnished by scandal. Starr was demoted for failing to take seriously, investigate, and punish a pattern of sexual assault by members of Baylor’s sports teams that has so far sent more than one perp to prison. In fact an outside investigation found the administration ignored complaints and essentially enabled a cover-up of the mess.

So Starr has gone, ignominiously, from investigator to investigatee, from peeping Tom to a man who turns a blind eye. As Baylor’s Baptists probably know, this is what can happen to those who cast stones. Starr, stepping down, employed the usual rhetoric of the holier-than-thou. Others were at fault. He hadn’t been kept informed. The fault was not in the Starr, but in his underlings. Maybe that’s so, but he was in charge and the buck, as Harry Truman knew, stops at the boss.

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