To the editor:
Thanks for printing my last letter, though I'm afraid Mr. Winn's response (Public forum, May 25) reflects some understandable confusion. Though I admire anyone who can defuse a volatile situation without bloodshed, that doesn't make Janet Reno my "hero."
Actually, Janet Reno wasn't "number 3 or number 4;" she was President Clinton's first choice for attorney general. She turned him down because she wanted to nurse her mother, who was dying of cancer. He offered the post to her again after Wood and Baird withdrew and her mother had died.
Like Robert F. Kennedy, she's a Harvard graduate. She's won more elections than William French Smith and had less legal trouble than Ed Meese. When the Clinton administration floated the idea of dismissing her after the '96 election, it was the GOP Congress that squelched the rumor, which they hardly would have done if she was "the most corrupt attorney general" in history.
I'm sorry to hear Mr. Winn and his grandchildren have suffered during the Clinton administration, though I would be happy to suffer peace, prosperity and falling crime rates until I have grandchildren of my own. But why is this Reno's fault? There's no evidence she ever voted for President Clinton, much less supplied the 45 million pro-Clinton votes in '92 and '96.
Whenever an independent counsel has been demanded, she has appointed one, except for the campaign finance issue. In that case, she didn't say "I calls 'em like I sees 'em." She presented a painstaking review of the law to show why one wasn't necessary. Indeed, the Clinton investigation would probably have cost far less taxpayer money and enjoyed far greater public credibility if the judicial panel had stayed with Reno's original choice of the experienced prosecutor Bob Fiske instead of switching to Ken Starr, who had never been a prosecutor before.
I don't claim to be a prophet, but if the anti-Reno faction's fortune telling is the same as their arguments, then Ms. Reno will have no need to worry about her place in history.