JWR Jeff JacobyBen WattenbergRoger Simon
Mona CharenDr. Laura
Linda Chavez

Paul Greenberg Larry ElderJonathan S. Tobin
Thomas SowellMUGGERWalter Williams
Don FederCal Thomas
Political Cartoons
Left, Right & Center

Jewish World Review Dec. 21, 1998/2 Teves, 5759

Larry Elder

Larry Elder

On to the Senate!

THE GOP ON A "DEATH WISH"? Several Clinton defenders, including former Watergate counsel Richard Ben-Veniste, offer this suicidal assessment of the pro-impeachment Republicans ---- that impeachment equals the destruction of the Republican Party.

C'mon, Republicans, cry the pro-perjury-and-obstruction-of-justice crowd, the president remains popular! "Hey, you Republicans," says the White House, "don't you get it? The polls say people don't want impeachment! The Dow hovers around 9000! Saddam Hussein remains a threat! The polls, for crying out loud, look at the polls!"

During the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas hearings, feminists chastised Republicans, arguing that they "just don't get it." Well, this time, it's the Democrats who "just don't get it."

This is about perjury, stupid. This is about the Constitution, stupid.

This is about Dr. Barbara Battalino, a former Veterans Affairs psychiatrist. In a medical malpractice and sexual harassment case brought against the hospital by one of Battalino's former patients, Battalino lied, under oath, about having had consensual sex with the defendant. The government prosecuted and convicted her for obstruction of justice, sentencing her to house arrest. The defendant's medical malpractice/sexual harassment lawsuit? The court threw it out. And Dr. Battalino, who also attended law school, lost her right to practice both law and medicine.

This is about Diane Parker, a former post office supervisor, accused by a subordinate of sexual harassment. Parker lied, under oath, when asked about a sexual encounter with the defendant, a lie for which Parker got 13 months in a federal prison. The defendant's lawsuit? He received $10,000, significantly less than the $850,000 Paula Jones agreed to in settling her sexual harassment case against the president.

This is about 115 people in federal prisons for perjury, as well as over 4,000 California state felony prosecutions in 1997 alone. Two things explain the Republican "death wish."

First, let's assume Republicans polled as ardently as does the Clinton administration. Questions remain. Which poll? When Monica Lewinsky's name first surfaced, the American people wanted to believe the president. But the majority also felt that Congress should impeach, or the president should resign, if proof demonstrated perjury, subornation of perjury, witness-tampering or obstruction of justice.

As recently as September, a New York Times poll confirmed that the majority of the American people wanted resignation or impeachment, given proof that Clinton committed felonies. Then, Ken Starr testified persuasively before the House Judiciary Committee, and later, several days of hearings and debate seemed only to confirm the substance of the independent counsel's charges against the president.

Now, however, the polls show that, while people believe the president committed perjury, they still wish him to complete his term in office. So, which poll to believe? The earlier ones, suggesting that the American people would not tolerate perjury? Or the later ones, in which the public acknowledges perjury but wishes Clinton to remain anyway? What about the recent Washington Post/ABC poll, showing that 58 percent of the people want the president, if impeached, to resign?

Second, maybe, just maybe, some Republicans truly care about the rule of law. Maybe, just maybe, many Republicans recognize that a presidential pass on perjury becomes a full frontal assault on the Constitution, on the sanctity of the oath and on the rule of law itself.

Remember, the president found himself on the wrong end of a sexual harassment lawsuit. The trial judge, pursuant to the sexual harassment discovery laws that the president himself supported, authorized Paula Jones' lawyers to ask questions about Monica Lewinsky. Not only did the president deny the relationship, but he stood by while his lawyer introduced into evidence an affidavit the president knew to be false.

The president then apparently got his secretary, Betty Currie, to retrieve subpoenaed gifts from Monica Lewinsky. And, in violation of the federal judge's order of silence, the president, after his Paula Jones deposition, had a rush Sunday meeting with Betty Currie, where it appears he unlawfully tried to shape her testimony.

The president lied to aides, some of whom he knew would appear before the grand jury. In particular, the president told aide Sidney Blumenthal that Monica Lewinsky stalked him, a lie Blumenthal repeated before the grand jury.

Maybe, just maybe, many Republicans find the president's conduct outrageous and deserving of punishment more severe than a rap on the knuckles by way of censure.

Maybe, just maybe, some Republicans place principle over party, law over political expediency. When asked about predictions that a post-impeachment GOP will suffer election losses, House Judiciary Committee Member Lindsey Graham said that, at the end of the day, he must live with his conscience. If the people choose to punish the Republican Party in the next election cycle, so be it. That is their right.

So, some Republicans appear willing to sacrifice control over Congress in favor of ... principle! It may not be pure statesmanship, but it's darn close.


12/10/98: Will the real America stand up?
11/30/98: Save the children:tax the poor
11/30/98:Ken Starr and the vast left-wing conspiracy
11/19/98: Will the real hypocrite stand up!?
11/13/98: The Clinton 400
10/23/98: My evening with Chris Rock
10/15/98: Slavery is not funny
10/02/98: Clinton --- friend of the working woman
9/28/98: George Washington vs. the Grand Jury
9/18/98: It's the perjury, stupid
9/14/98: The "Larry List" of the most fascinating women in politics
9/07/98: Why blacks shouldn't support Clinton
8/27/98:The Brown bomber strikes Justice Thomas
8/21/98:So very clintonesque
8/17/98: Gary Coleman, hate criminal?
8/07/98: How much mea culpa?
7/24/98: ATM Al?
7/24/98: Advising the advisors
7/17/98: Camille Cosby's carelessness
7/9/98: Moses mugged
7/2/98: Al Campanis -- forever a racist?
6/25/98: And you thought "coke" was worse than smokes
6/19/98: Is Jasper ‘America'?
6/12/98: Guess who's not coming to dinner
6/5/98: What now, NOW?
5/29/98:What's next, ‘burger busters'?
5/21/98: 'Stuff' happens
5/18/98: This just in
5/11/98: Stepping up
4/30/98: Who's faking whom?
4/16/98:To spank or not to spank

©1998, Laurence A. Elder