Season one of “#american crime story” told the story of the O.J. Simpson murder trial, a great cause celebre of the 1990s. Season two will involve the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and season three will tell the story of the killing of Gianni Versace. Season four, though, will return to another great story of the 1990s, President Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual encounters with his intern #Monica Lewinsky and the subsequent impeachment of the president..
For those who don’t remember, the scandal started when then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky and then-President #Bill Clinton started a series of sexual encounters in and around the Oval Office that did not include sexual intercourse. The affair got caught up in an investigation in some of the president’s other misdeeds. Clinton initially denied that the affair ever happened, but forensic evidence left on a blue dress proved otherwise. The House of Representatives impeached Clinton, on the second time in history that has happened, for perjury and obstruction of justice. However, the president was subsequently acquitted during a trial in the United States Senate.
Like the OJ trial, the Lewinsky scandal was polarizing, but on political rather on racial lines. Clinton’s opponents were pretty sure that the president had been playing fast and loose for decades and wanted him gone. The president’s supporters were equally as sure that Clinton was being persecuted by a partisan witch hunt for a private sexual indiscretion. The scandal blighted the last two years of the Clinton presidency and likely was a decisive factor in George W.
Bush’s election victory over Clinton’s vice president, Al Gore.
The question arises, how will a series based on the Lewinsky affair be received? The OJ trial was almost 15 years in the past, and the defendant was in jail on an unrelated armed robbery charge. But Clinton personally escaped punishment and came out of his presidency relatively popular. On the other hand, two attempts at a Clinton restoration in the person of Hillary Clinton, the former president’s wife, have met with defeat, mostly due to that family’s tendency to violate the law and do violence with ethical norms.
Still, a TV show based on the Lewinsky scandal might prove to be an entertaining trip back to a more innocent time, between the end of the Cold War and 9/11 that featured relatively peace and prosperity and stories like presidential sex scandals dominated the media. It was a time when Americans worried about how embarrassing their president would prove to be, but not whether he would tank the economy or get the country involved in a war and terrorism was something that happened somewhere else.