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Jewish World Review / Sept. 11, 1998 / 20 Elul, 5758

Don Feder

Don Feder Resolution of Clinton crisis will define national character

NOW THAT SPECIAL PROSECUTOR KENNETH STARR'S 445-page report, with its "substantial and credible evidence of potential impeachable offenses," has been submitted to Congress, we are faced with the following question: Shall Bill Clinton be removed from office, or will we, as a nation, lose what's left of our self respect.

Clinton's supporters are reduced to two arguments: The president's actions do not constitute grounds for impeachment and ridding ourselves of this villain will precipitate a "constitutional crisis." (They won't say exactly how a process authorized by the Constitution can result in a constitutional crisis.)

Look at what happened to America when Nixon was forced to resign, they will plead. Exactly what did happen in the aftermath of Nixon's resignation?

Republicans were slaughtered in the '74 congressional elections, losing 49 House seats. The Democrats used their super-majority in the 94th Congress to bash the economy and betray South Vietnam. However, the proximate cause of these calamities was the rejection of Nixon's party, not his resignation.

If anyone benefits politically this time around, it will be the party (ostensibly) committed to smaller government and strong defense. Where's the harm here?

The Founders had something definite in mind when they adopted Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, providing that the president could be removed for bribery, treason and "other high crimes and misdemeanors."

As Ann Coulter explains in her new book, High Crimes and Misdemeanors, Against Bill Clinton," with that quaint phrase, Madison and his colleagues did not mean felonies or even infractions of criminal law, but blatant immorality.

Alexander Hamilton said the impeachment power applied to "the misconduct of public men," including "some violation of the public trust." If the president receiving oral gratification from one of his inamoratas in the White House isn't such a breach of trust, it's difficult to imagine what is.

The Founders specifically envisioned a situation in which a man of such low character -- an individual of such appalling morals -- was president that the dignity and credibility of the office required his ouster.

But Starr's report also contains hard evidence of real crimes, including perjury and obstruction of justice. The facts lend themselves to no other rational interpretation.

Only the pathetically credulous can believe that the intense interest of powerful men (presidential fixer Vernon Jordan and former U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson) in the career advancement of a 25-year-old ex-intern was disinterested and not intended to buy her silence in a civil case.

Likewise, it's impossible to imagine that the "talking points" (AKA, how to lie under oath about affairs of state) Monica Lewinsky gave to Linda Tripp was the product of a Valley Girl's legal scholarship.

"So sorry," just doesn't cut it. The only way the president can truly apologize for committing felonies and abusing his office is to resign.

What damage will be done if a compulsive liar and serial adulterer who tried to sabotage our legal system is allowed to remain in office?

Instead of serving as an example of integrity, the nation's chief executive will become an excuse for dishonesty and debauchery.

"So what if I lied? The president lied repeatedly to the American people."

"So what if I sexually harassed a co-worker? The president took White House volunteer Kathleen Willey into a little room off the Oval Office and kissed her on the mouth, fondled her breast and placed her hand on his genitals. She did not consent."

We may no longer have republican virtues, but must we sink to the level of a Babylonian brothel?

Coulter explains: "If Congress doesn't have the will to throw him out, Clinton will have established a new standard for the entire country ... a total absence of standards. Lying really doesn't matter as long as it's about sex, because sex really doesn't matter, even if it's gross, exploitive, adulterous and risky. Go ahead: Seize this loophole to the ruin of your family."

At various times in our history, Americans have been called on to decide what type of people they will be -- in 1776 (self-governing or subjects of a monarch), in 1861 (dedicated to the proposition of equality or tolerant of human bondage) and in 1973 (a nation of law or one where powerful men are a law unto themselves).

The choice confronting us today -- whether a president who wiped his feet on the Constitution while making an obscene gesture toward Sinai will be allowed to remain in office -- is no less momentous.


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.