DECEMBER 14, 998
Do the right thing
© 1998

I really wanted to write about something (anything) other than impeachment today. However, notwithstanding all the myriad challenges the Republic must face, they all pale in comparison to the essential, basic, axiomatic truisms that are about to be destroyed.

The legacy of the Bill Clinton administration will far exceed crude jokes, media manipulation, and thuggery. The Clinton administration is about to destroy the essence of America. The victims will be recorded in history by some never-to-be-read Ph.D. The names of victims will include "Equity," "The Rule of Law," "Honesty," "Fairness" and "Reason," as well as you, me, and hundreds of millions of Americans.

The House Judiciary Committee has forwarded their Articles of Impeachment to the full House. They did so despite overwhelming odds. The mere fact they did their job is frankly astonishing. Despite the frowning Maxine Waters, the lisping ad hominem of Barney Frank, and the duplicitous dancing of Chuck Schumer, et al, the House Judiciary Committee actually did its job. By the way: Its job was to accuse. Its constitutional responsibility was to draft the indictment to be voted on by the full House. It could not, and should not have even wasted the time it did discussing punishing the president. Ain't their job. Their job was to accuse, and they did. Ever since that silly idea of censure was first floated, I have been saying, that dog don't hunt. The best, and only appropriate permanent censure IS impeachment. Any censure would have either been overturned by the courts on principle of separation of powers, and given the republicans unique ability to squander power, and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, or a democratic controlled congress could and would expunge any censure. To Henry Hyde and the House Judiciary Committee a collective "attaboy." You done good.

Now, as the matter of impeachment moves to the floor of the full House, moderate republicans are getting whip sawed from all sides. Fellow Republicans, while positioning the floor vote as a matter of conscience, are privately leaning on colleagues not to break ranks. The White House and Democrats are allegedly using any and every inducement available from the pork barrel to more sinister innuendo.

In the past I have alluded to that fictional "reasonable and rational person." It was Alexander Hamilton who observed, "Man is a reasoning, not a reasonable animal." I am both fascinated and frustrated by the rhetorical chess matches ongoing in that 87 square miles surrounded by reality called the District of Criminals. Bill Clinton lied ... routinely and consistently. He lied in a sworn deposition, he lied to a grand jury under oath, he lied to his Cabinet, he lied to his friends and family. He even lied to Congress about past lies despite overwhelming evidence and never offered an iota of exculpatory evidence, or candor. His most recent mea culpa, never did acknowledge what even the most annoying Clinton defender concedes was egregious, and reprehensible.

For the good of the country, for the good of the Constitution to which he swore a sacred oath, and even for the good of his own political party Bill Clinton must go.

Some defenders of the indefensible suggest we wait and indict the criminal after he leaves office. That will probably happen anyway. Before anyone prematurely plans canonizing Lady Macbeth or granting her a Senate seat or governorship, Hillary Clinton's day of retribution also will come.

Can the institution of the presidency survive lowering the standards to a point where a proven liar, sexual predator, obstructor of justice, and abuser of power is acceptable? I understand the partisan rancor over this tragedy. However, I don't understand why more Democrats, for the good of their party, and the selfish territorial imperative of their own political viability don't call for their guy to resign. Mark Helprin wrote a superb piece in the Wall Street Journal (October 10, 1997). Every time I re-read it, I find more wisdom. "If we tolerate crime and corruption in the belief that they are but a small challenge to our great stores of virtue and probity, when next we look those great stores will be gone." He also responded (before the call was even made) to those suggesting we "get him later." Helprin noted "Although it has its own price in damage and pain, holding the president to account would mean that future presidents would be, if not uncorrupt, less corrupt." He goes on to note the dangers of incrementalism in lowering the bar lower and lower and "altering the fundamental equations of government and the relations of the governed and the governing."

Now is the time to call Congress. Regardless of race, creed, sex, political affiliation, or what NFL team you support, NOW is the time to impress on your congresscritter that we have reached the point of diminishing return. It is no longer a question of who is right or wrong, but WHAT is right and what is wrong. Democrats need to reach deep and do what is right for the country, their party, and themselves. Bill Clinton is a charming and skilled, but tragically flawed, man. He has become a cancer that is eating out the substance and soul of not only his administration, but the country. It is time to remove the cancer and get on with healing the nation. America will survive very nicely without Bill Clinton. It may not survive with him.