The Sept. 30, 1998 edition of the LA Times, on the front page, we hear the gibberish from one Sen. Trent Lott, one of the architects of the Right's mean spirited destruction of all safety nets for this nation's poor and children.
This ludicrous little moral dwarf is pontificating on what level of criminal behavior he believes is the point at which impeachment may begin. What he is saying, of course, is in direct opposition to his earlier statements during the impeachment hearing for one Richard Nixon, A.K.A. Tricky Dick, the Republican who set America back about one hundred years in the field of political honesty and presidential support for the constitution.
Let's hear from Trent circa 1974 when he was a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee, "It is our judgment...that the framers of the United States Constitution intended that the President should be removable by the legislative branch only for serious misconduct dangerous to the system of government established by the Constitution."
Lott added, when initially refusing to vote for Nixon's impeachment, "Absent the element of danger to the state, we believe the delegates to the federal convention in 1787, in providing that the president should serve for a fixed elective term rather than during good behavior or popularity, struck the balance in favor of stability of the executive branch."
Finally, Lott and his nine Republican colleagues on the committee claimed that, absent "a requirement of criminal acts or at least criminal intent, such a use of the impeachment power was never intended by the frames, is not supported by the language of our Constitution, and if history is to guide us would be seriously unwise, as well."
Now let's all grit our teeth and listen to what this intolerant little fellow says about the level of criminal behavior necessary to impeach Clinton, "I think that bad conduct is enough, frankly, for impeachment."
What we have here is a new round in the truly nasty attack on President Clinton that was only meant to hurt him politically and personally. There is a world of difference between the two situations but, alas, very few Americans can actually remember what happened in the news yesterday, let alone twenty-four years ago. Of course, since you're reading this then you are obviously among that small percentile who don't need reminding. For those who still can't quite place the circumstances, let's do a quick recap of the two cases, shall we?!?
Richard Nixon abetted the crime of breaking and entering into the Democratic offices situated in the Watergate Hotel. He then aided and abetted the criminals in stealing documents from that office. He then placed illegal wire taps on the phones of reporters and congressmen and their aides. He then lied about his involvement in these crimes to Congress. He and his cronies then spent many meetings discussing how to continue to lie to Congress and the American people as well as paying what they called "hush money" to some on the periphery of the scandal. Finally, he tried to use the power of the Presidency to have the FBI and the IRS to investigate those in Congress and in the press who were involved in investigation in hopes of scaring them into silence. Finally, and most frightening, he and his little band tried to use the CIA to impede the Congressional investigation. When the committee was deciding whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings against him, there were nearly one hundred separate felony and high crimes and misdemeanors which resulted in the three articles of impeachment which encompassed the charges.
Clinton, after four years of an inquisition by the Far Right and the Religious Right, led by that sanctimonious little fever blister Kenneth Starr, has been charged only with lying about an affair with a White House intern. While I agree that lying under oath is inexcusable, the fact is that the only way that the Republicans stand even the smallest chance of removing the Democrats from the executive office is to nibble at him like a pack of ducks until either his term is up or until they then find that they have to find some ridiculous charges to level against President Gore.
For those who still believe in the idea of chivalry and virtue, the only actual charges that should be pressed against Clinton is that, knowing that his illicit sexual affair had been discovered, Clinton took the gentleman's path and tried to protect the honor of Monica Lewinski while trying to protect his marriage to Hillary and his relationship with his daughter. These are neither high crimes nor misdemeanors, rather, they are the acts of a man who has had a truly sordid detail of his private life exposed for political purposes and is attempting to minimize the pain he knows he has inflicted on his family and friends.
If the bar for voting for impeachment had been lowered to such a disgraceful level for Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, we would about now be hearing about their efforts to gain parole from whatever maximum security prison they would have spent the last two and a half decades living in. The mere fact that the little goblin, Lott, is acting like such an ass exposes the entire episode as the partisan little voodoo dance it actually is and has always been.
The reality, gentle readers, is that this witch hunt is nearing its conclusion and, since the Right has discovered nothing worth getting upset about, they will, instead, try to keep the biased attacks going by stretching out the process as long as possible. Even in the truly unlikely event that these moral pygmies decide to press on with the vaporous "evidence" so far accumulated, the people will undoubtedly put an end to it this next November by simply sending these nasty little people home where they can do no further damage.
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