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Jewish World Review /Feb. 16, 1999 /30 Shevat, 5759

Don Feder

Don Feder Was anything learned from the impeachment trial?

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) WITH ANTICLIMACTIC SENATE VOTES that failed to remove the president on either article of impeachment, a 13-month drama is finally over.

But before we leave the field of battle, a few reflections are in order.

When you fight for principle, you win even when you lose. Since the end of the Reagan era, Republican profiles in courage have been scarcer than hen's teeth. Henry Hyde and his fellow House impeachment managers showed the stuff of which legends are made.

House prosecutors became the incarnations of Jimmy Stewart's character in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Listening to Hyde's moving summation, I recalled the most memorable line in the film, "Lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for."

The tragicomedy now concluded also says much about Clinton's defenders -- almost the entire political left -- none of it complimentary.

The Democratic Party has been exposed for the thoroughly corrupt institution that it is.

All of the pathetic excuses offered by Senate Democrats for their votes against removal are so much overheated oxygen circulating above the dome of the Capitol.

They were so disappointed by Bill Clinton's conduct, they told us. What disappointed them the most -- his repeated lies under oath, obstruction of justice or making a mockery of his constitutional mandate to see that the laws are "faithfully executed"?

To their everlasting shame, they showed themselves willing to sacrifice the rule of law to protect the leader of their party.

Feminists threaten to give hypocrisy a bad name. It's the women's cause (as interpreted by them) not particular women who matter. Their hero broke faith with one woman, sexually exploited another, sexually harassed Paula Jones, may have molested Kathleen Willey and tried to use his secretary, Betty Currie.

Their message to men in power: You can do anything you want to individual women and we'll provide political cover for you, as long as you oppose restrictions on partial-birth abortion and support comparable worth legislation.

Who could have predicted that the last major political battle of the 1990s would find feminists allied with Larry Flynt, who once illustrated the cover of his wretched magazine with a picture of a naked woman going through a meat grinder, an apt metaphor for the way their president interfaces with the women in his life.

Once upon a time (long, long ago), liberals were in the forefront of the fight against the abuse of political authority, whether by kings, tyrants or elected leaders.

Today, liberals define themselves exclusively by their enemies. If conservatives are for a thing, they're against it. Never mind if it's right or wrong.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz tipped their hand, just before the House vote, when he declared that a vote against impeachment was a vote against "fundamentalism," "anti-environmentalism" and the "right-to-life movement."

In other words, if a politician supports progressive causes, he can break any law, betray any trust, abuse the authority of his office, and we'll defend him to the end.

Liberals -- who championed civil rights legislation, pushed laws against sexual harassment and inveighed against imperial presidents -- now find themselves running interference for a leader who tried to subvert a civil rights case, behaves like a drunken frat boy on spring break and used the presidency as an extension of his ego.

Conservatives should take heart. Had the House Judiciary Committee simply ignored Starr's report, or the full House not impeached the presidential felon, that would have been tragic. Ditto, if the Senate had gone through the charade of a few hours of arguments, followed by a test vote, followed by adjournment of the trial.

None of that happened. The trial may have been pathetic, but at least there was a trial. House managers had an opportunity to make their case, and this had an impact.

Opinion polls show that a majority of Americans now believes the president is guilty as charged, though they still oppose his removal. It was always a given that finding 12 honest Democrats in the Senate was an impossibility (it turned out none could be found) and that a handful of GOP moderates would wimp out.

Still, Clinton is the only elected president to be impeached. His sins -- not of the flesh but against the Constitution -- will follow him to his grave. Lincoln said it best, you can't fool all of the people all of the time. There will be a reckoning, someday.

In the meantime, in victory, the left has lost its little remaining credibility. In defeat, House Republicans shine.


2/12/99: Educating the democratic voters of tomorrow
2/10/99: First Amendment doesn't apply to pro-life cause
2/08/99: Dems' triumph over Constitution complete
2/03/99: Blood of victims will drown out breakfast prayers
2/01/99: Without a home the heart knows no rest
1/29/99: Poster boy for term-limits
1/27/99: The 'so-what' defense in the City of Saints
1/25/99: Whose choice?
1/21/99: Censure worse than nothing
1/18/99: Words can`t dignify a dishonored presidency
1/13/99: Conservatism "with a heart" is conservatism without a head
1/11/99: If he isn't removed, watch out for Bill!
1/07/99: We can learn a lot from Teddy
1/05/99: Monica and a call to modesty
12/30/98: Will Bubba get away with it again?
12/28/98: Zionist dream alive and well on West Bank
12/18/98: Impeach or abandon the Rule of Law
12/16/98: Clinton moves Middle East closer to war
12/14/98: Why we lost interest in the homeless
12/10/98: No place at table for conservatives
12/07/98: The day America lost its innocence
12/02/98: Pilgrims Pilloried in streets of Plymouth
11/30/98: Caribbean dogpatch not a good candidate for statehood
11/25/98: Will Vermont force gay marriage on the nation?
11/23/98: The ACLU wants your kids to get a love life
11/18/98: Why liberals hate tobacco and guns more than drugs and crime
11/16/98: "Pleasantville" a countercultural morality play
11/13/98: Ads are a tough sell for abortion
11/09/98: Why gutless Republicans lost
11/06/98: Historians against the Constitution
11/02/98: Loving response to a hateful conference
10/28/98: Professor Death will fit right in at Princeton
10/26/98: Plymouth caves to Pilgrim foes
10/21/98: On '98 election, keep a critical eye on polls
10/19/98: Clinton could yet be 'prosperity president'
10/16/98: Working families -- Dems love 'em (stuffed)
10/09/98: Majoring in 'weirdness'
10/07/98: Friends of Billy Clinton
9/29/98: Letter from ex-soldier highlights defense peril
9/28/98: Answering arguments against impeachment
9/18/98: The nation that doesn't exist
9/14/98: Bubba isn't the only one who should be ashamed
9/11/98: Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character
9/09/98: We're still just wild about Harry
9/07/98: Mexican banditry didn't end with Pancho Villa
9/02/98: Clinton forgives us!
8/31/98: Ashcroft's plain talking touches responsive chord
8/26/98: Public opinion be damned
8/24/98: Why liberals condone Clinton's lies
8/20/98: Time to move on -- to impeachment
8/12/98: With Bubba in the sexual privacy zone
8/10/98: The truth won't set Clinton free
8/06/98: Truth about Hiroshima is incontrovertible
8/04/98: Clinton not the first hollow president
7/30/98: "Small Soldiers" -- a fractured Vietnam allegory
7/27/98: Crime wave hits hometown
7/22/98: Love in an Internet fishbowl
7/20/98: Ads bring ex-gay movement out of closet
7/15/98: Brian and Amy -- the children of Roe
7/13/98: Why are we scared of obnoxious 'activists?'
7/6/98: Fonda still resists reality
7/1/98: New York blesses domestic partnerships
6/29/98: Teddy and Calvin stood for virtue
6/24/98: Will Clinton betray Taiwan?
6/22/98: Big tobacco? What about big casinos?
6/15/98: Religion -- God for what ails you
6/10/98: Planning Clinton's China itinery
6/8/98: Republicans' Custer offers advice
6/4/98: Oh, Dems Christian-bashers!
6/2/98: Goldwater did conservatives more harm than good
5/27/98: A Clinton-hater confesses
5/15/98: Giuliani's assault on marriage
5/13/98: Hillary knows what's best for everyone
5/11/98: To honor her would not be honorable
5/6/98: Conservative chasm: pragmatism vs. worship of marketplace
5/4/98: Anglo-saxon me
4/29/98: Needle exchange programs are assisted-suicide
4/27/98: Chretien's mission of mercy to Fidel
4/22/98: School-choice is a religious freedom issue
4/20/98: Corporate execs deliver body parts to Beijing
4/14/98: National sales tax --- looks better all the time
4/13/98: The U.N. sinister? Hey, where did that idea come from?
4/8/98: Unions fight workers rights in 226 campaign
3/30/98: Africa's leaders should apologize
3/25/98: GOP shouldn't look to media for advice
3/22/98: You should care about Clinton's 'private life'
3/19/98: Color-coded reading, product of obsessive minds
3/16/98: Amendment will end exile of G-d from our public lives
3/9/98: Havana will break your heart
3/2/98: Vouchers Terrify Teachers' Union
2/25/98: Presidential politics starts at a resort hotel
2/23/98: Hillary's support comes at a price
2/18/98: How many times must we say "no" to gay rights?
2/16/98: Enoch Powell spoke the truth on immigration
2/11/98: Bubba behaving badly
2/9/98: A conservative dissent on the flag-burning amendment
2/5/98: We get the leaders we deserve
2/2/98: Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
1/27/98: State of the president: hollow rhetoric
1/25/98: For Monica's playmate, we have no one to blame but ourselves
1/22/98: At Yale, bet on yarmulke over gown
1/19/98: Commission tackles America's fastest-growing addiction, gambling
1/15/98: Capital punishment and the hard case: no exceptions for Karla Faye Tucker
1/12/98: Partial-birth abortion and the GOP's future: the "big tent" meets truth in advertising
1/8/98: IOLTA: the Left's latest scam to crawl into our pockets
1/5/98: Connect the dots to create a terrorist state
1/1/98: The Unacceptables of 1997: Long may they rave
12/28/97: Hypocrisy is a liberal survival mechanism
12/23/97: Chanukah is no laughing matter
12/22/97: No merry Christmas for persecuted Christians around the world
12/18/97: Bosnia, Haiti, and how not to conduct a foreign policy

©1998, Boston Herald; distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.