Clinton is no Nixon | 1, 2 Ronald Reagan was a sunnier personality than Nixon, more inclined to naps than wiretaps. But his two terms were likewise rife with governmental wrongdoing, most notably the gross corruption (in that word's legal sense) of top federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Defense Department, all of which suffered major scandals that ended in criminal prosecutions. Attorney General Ed Meese resigned in disgrace and narrowly escaped indictment by then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani in the aftermath of the Wedtech influence-peddling scandal, which also led to the conviction (later reversed) of Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger, as well as a couple of Democratic members of Congress. Toward the end came the Iran-Contra affair: an epoch-making disaster in which repeated and constitutionally significant falsehoods of Reaganite "patriots," uttered under oath, were glossed over and excused by the same people who have lately become so exercised over Clinton's comparatively trivial lies. Reagan himself was untruthful when he denied trading arms for hostages with the Iranian regime, a transaction Horowitz would no doubt have denounced as "treasonous" if perpetrated by a Democrat. Several of Reagan's indicted subordinates, including two national security advisors and various CIA officers, avoided prison when their convictions were overturned because of prosecutorial problems that conservatives like Horowitz normally disdain as "legal technicalities." By contrast, the scandal stories of the Clinton years have largely turned out to be duds, despite several of the most costly, time-consuming investigations in modern history. Yes, Clinton lied about his dalliances with Monica, and his administration has scarcely been sleaze-free. But Travelgate ended the other day without a single indictment, the same conclusion reached in Filegate three months ago. Whitewater resulted in convictions of the Clintons' former business partners (who had rooked them) and various other people for offenses wholly unrelated to the president and first lady. The only administration official ever indicted in Whitewater was Webster Hubbell, whose swindling of his former clients and law partners (including Hillary Rodham Clinton) predated his appointment to the Justice Department. The independent counsel probes of three or four Clinton cabinet secretaries also were fruitless. Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros was at long last convicted of the rather dinky offense of lying about a payment to his one-time mistress -- but again, that was a misdemeanor that had nothing to do with his official conduct. As for the fundraising investigations, it's true that some of what Clinton and Gore did to fill Democratic coffers in 1996 was distasteful. What several of their thousands of contributors did was illegal. Yet Republican candidates, donors and fundraisers were guilty of the same or worse in that election cycle and those which preceded it. These days, the vice president is the target of an ongoing campaign of calumnies and distortions, which I plan to examine in a future column. (Meanwhile, see the excellent Daily Howler.) But for now, let it simply be said that Horowitz's evaluation of the allegations against Gore is as feverish, fact-free and fundamentally phony as the rest of his argument.