Now that I am seven episodes in, I feel confident saying that “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” airing Tuesday evenings on FX, is the fairest and arguably the best real-life political drama Hollywood has ever produced. What mystifies me is that no one on the Right appears to be talking about it.
The third in the “American Crime Story” series, this 10-part drama faithfully tracks the perjury and obstruction of justice scandal that very nearly ended the Bill Clinton presidency. While the first two in the series — “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” and “Versace” — dealt candidly with the issues of race and homosexuality, “Impeachment” takes candor a step further and deconstructs the Left’s revisionist history of Bill Clinton’s “sex” scandal.
The Bill Clinton character, served up with equal parts charm and menace by British actor Clive Owen, is something of a monster. When Paula Jones, played with minimal condescension by Annaleigh Ashford, testifies that Clinton exposed himself we believe her, not him. Her vivid description of Clinton’s royal member will not please the ex-president.
It is only in the seventh episode that the Hillary Clinton character, played — unconvincingly, alas — by Edie Falco of “Sopranos” fame emerges from the shadows. Although it is too early to tell, my guess is that Hillary will not like the portrait of herself as cold and controlling. That said, I expect the producers to pull their punches when it comes to revealing Hillary’s role in quelling the “bimbo eruptions” that threatened Clinton’s political career from the get-go.
Those “bimbos” — the Clinton term, not mine — include not just Paula Jones, but sexual assault victims such as Elizabeth Ward Gracen and Juanita Broaddrick, the latter of whom Clinton raped. (Viewers see Broaddrick briefly once in an early episode but will not see her again.) When Bill ran for president in 1992, Hillary was instrumental in hiring private investigators to bribe and/or threaten these women into silence.
Said Sally Perdue, a former Miss Arkansas and Clinton paramour, “[The PI] said that there were people in high places who were anxious about me and they wanted me to know that keeping my mouth shut would be worthwhile.” As Perdue explained, “Worthwhile” meant a GS-11 or higher job with the federal government. If she rejected the offer and talked to the media, “He couldn’t guarantee what would happen to my pretty little legs.” My guess is that the Hillary in “Impeachment” will get to play dumb about all of this.
The conservatives involved in Clinton’s undoing generally come off better in “Impeachment” than they did in the media of that era. Far from being a sex-crazed inquisitor, the Ken Starr character shies from even talking about sex, let alone pursuing Clinton on sex-related charges.