Absurdity, Brazenness and Hypocrisy Reigns

A year's worth of presidential scandal proves at least two things about us: our weakened ability to think and political hypocrisy. The President's defenders and pundits constantly preach that removing Clinton from office will "overturn the 1996 elections." I'm wondering whether they want Americans to believe, and whether Americans actually believe, that removing Clinton from office means that Bob Dole and Jack Kemp, defeated in the 1996 presidential elections, will assume the presidency and vice-presidency. It doesn't. If the Senate were to convict Clinton, Vice-President Gore, who was elected in 1996 becomes president. So what's this business about "overturning the 1996 elections?"

How much ignorance abounds in the land is debatable. What's not debatable is our heightened immunity to paternalistic insults. Some evidence of this is Clinton's Buffalo speech where he made a pitch for using the budget surplus to save Social Security rather than the tax cuts Republicans want. Clinton told a cheering crowd, "We could give [the surplus] back to you and hope you spend it right." Then he advised, "If you don't spend it right," Social Security shortfalls will surface "just 14 years away." Elites have always felt they've had wisdom superior to the masses and an ordained duty to forcibly impose that wisdom on the rest of us. What's surprising is Clinton's audacity to articulate that sentiment. What's even more surprising is our acceptance of his paternalistic insult. By the way, Social Security's $10 trillion debt demonstrates that Washington's retirement management isn't that great.

Clinton's impeachment has also amply demonstrated gross political hypocrisy. One member of congress after another has argued that we should adhere to Framer intent behind Article II, Section 4 (the Constitution's impeachment clause). Clinton supporters in Congress and out, including law professors, talk about the words of George Mason, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. They've searched the "Federalist Papers" and other writings to discover Framer intent about impeachment. I say great, but let's not restrict this new found "respect" for what the Framers had to say about impeachment. How much respect do you think congressmen and lawyers of the Alan Dershowitz ilk have for these words of James Madison, "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on the objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."? Or, would these constitutional hypocrites be enthusiastic about Federalist paper 28 that says "that the state governments will in all possible contingencies afford complete security against invasions of the public liberty by the national authority [Washington]."

There's no stone that will go unturned to save Clinton's hide. The President's strategists felt it necessary to argue that Clinton's perjurious testimony and justice obstruction in the Paula Jones case didn't violate her civil rights. Who better to present that defense than a black woman? That was Deputy White House Counsel Cheryl Mills' qualification for making that case to the Senate; but she had another qualification. Last September, the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform wrote to the Justice Department requesting that Ms. Mills be prosecuted for perjury and obstruction for lying under oath and concealing subpoenaed documents - no word yet from the Justice Department. The subpoenaed documents were ultimately handed over when other White House lawyers looked into Ms. Mills' files and discovered them hidden there. The bottom line is who's better to defend the President against charges of perjury and obstruction of justice than a person with personal experience in that area?

Clinton has exhausted all shams; now it's the Senate's turn.

Walter E. Williams


January 22, 1999

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