DECEMBER 21, 1998
Objective judgment
© 1998

We are living through chaotic times. History will judge us by what we do and/or don't do. I am fascinated by the ongoing debates surrounding the president. I have struggled to remove my thoughts from the visceral contempt I hold for the man who has denigrated not only his office, but our country. If one could ever separate the personalities involved and focus rationally on what has transpired rather than who has sinned, or who is accusing, or who is reporting or not reporting executive transgressions, this nightmare is simple. However, sadly, that is not the exercise we observe.

The weekend edition of WorldNetDaily led with three stories: "Clinton Impeached"; "Livingston Quits"; and "McCurry Questions Fitness." The McCurry story was especially revealing. Mike McCurry, former presidential spokesman, when queried about the fitness of his former boss to continue to function as leader of the free world, concedes he has "enormous doubts because of the recklessness of his behavior". He further stated that Clinton's conduct was (and is) "contrary to the way you would expect a rational human being to behave." And this is a one time friend, supporter, and lead defender of the indefensible.

 It strikes me that although philosophically and politically I hold contrary views to most of the Clintonista camp, he has enjoyed the benefit of some really smart people. Several pundits have observed that Clinton uses people, and then discards them like soiled tissues. The payback must sting. Consider the growing list of insiders who are now candidly admitting to the "reckless" poor judgment of their former friend and leader. Leon Panetta, former chief of staff, Dick Morris, former adviser/tactician, George Stephanopolous, former king maker, and Mike McCurry, former White House spokesman.

 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once noted, "We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing; others judge us by what we have done." Think about that, as Bill Clinton must now face judgement in the United States Senate. He (and his partisan defenders) may judge Clinton by what they feel he is capable of doing -- the nation must judge him by what he has done.

 The language of the partisan defenders defies logic. Democrats have consistently referred to the president's conduct as "reprehensible" and "egregious." Yet despite those harsh and damning words, they defy credulity by claiming, "but it's not impeachable? Huh?"

Let's check out Webster's dictionary. Egregious: "conspicuous for bad quality or taste; extraordinary, extreme, flagrant, asocial." So the president's defenders consider his conduct (and only the specific stuff addressed, not the entire body of work) as conspicuous for bad quality. Yet they claim they want to maintain that bad quality. They consider his conduct extreme, flagrant, and asocial. Yet they presume to suggest that the nation would somehow suffer by depriving society of his demonstrated, and acknowledged asocial conduct?

 Reprehensible: "worthy of or deserving reprehension; blamable, censurable, culpable, reprovable." Defenders admit their guy deserves reprehension, that he is blamable, censurable and culpable (or responsible for his conduct). However, they also suggest we lower the bar another rung in order to accommodate the reprovable behavior that includes felonious perjury, and obstruction of justice?

 Since I visited Webster's dictionary, let's visit the words of Daniel Webster. He said, "Justice is the ligament which holds civilized beings and civilized nations together." So does the absence of justice mean that civilized beings and civilized nations would be at risk? Damn straight.

 I invite all partisans, and presidential defenders to try (just as an exercise) to divorce themselves of the personalities. Yes, Hillary, you too. Forget for a moment the principal is Bill Clinton. Let's say he's Ralph Jones. Ralph is the CEO of a Fortune 500 firm that routinely deals globally. You are a board member reviewing the facts in evidence. Ralph had a sexual relationship with an intern half his age. He lied about it to his friends, supporters, and the press. He used his position of power and authority to conceal facts; he bribed witnesses; he lied in two sworn affidavits and continues to refuse to admit what is obvious. He has significantly damaged not only his own previous good name, but the reputation of the company. His egregious and reprehensible behavior has put the business at risk, and clients and staff don't believe him. You voted for him, and you support his policies. He has always demonstrated a remarkable talent for memory. Now, in the wake of the accusations, and corroborating witnesses, he suffers from selective memory loss. However, he has become a cancer on the business, and is crippling the business domestically and overseas. You know Ralph is a rogue and a jerk, but hey, he's your jerk. What do you do?

 William Penn noted "Justice is the insurance which we have on our lives and property. Obedience is the premium which we pay for it." The premium is past due, and unless or until someone, somewhere, somehow does the right thing, the policy is about to be canceled.

 We are living through chaotic times. The Chronicles of Clinton are heavy with a growing body of bad jokes. The late night TV crowd is making a living over the increasing oddities of what may someday be perceived as an Ionessco play. However, this is n o t funny. It is seminally serious. Will Rogers once quipped, "Everything is funny as long as it happening to someone else." Well guess what? This national tragedy is not just happening to Bill Clinton, or Monica Lewinsky, or Henry Hyde, or Bob Barr. This is happening to us, the United States of America. The republic and every one of us is at risk by what does or does not result from this national drama.

 I can't remember who said it, or I'd credit him. It wasn't me, but it is regrettably all too true. "A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won't cross the street to vote in a national election."