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Jewish World Review /Feb 10, 1999 /24 Shevat, 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas More a man, less a president

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) THE U.S. SENATE THIS WEEK, despite the acknowledgment by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) that what President Clinton did does indeed rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, will likely ignore the law and the Constitution and vote to acquit this shameless and guilty man. In doing so, many senators will place the economy, the opinion polls and political partisanship above the laws by which every other citizen is judged.

Two weeks ago, Byrd offered a motion asking his colleagues to dismiss the case against the president. But on ABC's "This Week'' last Sunday, Byrd said, "there is no doubt in my mind'' that the charges match the constitutional requirement for a finding of guilt. In an example of hair splitting that rivals President Clinton's, Byrd parsed the law.
He suggested that because the Constitution requires the immediate removal from office of a convicted president, he might not vote to convict because he thinks Clinton should stay.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said on the same program: "Each senator has his own standard.'' That's precisely the problem. When everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes, the law is diminished and our institutions demeaned. Just how far our highest office has been tarnished by Bill Clinton was apparent in Monica Lewinsky's videotaped deposition. Speaking about the president to Vernon Jordan, Lewinsky said, "I saw him more as a man than as president, and I treated him accordingly.''

Clinton's disgusting behavior gave her no reason to see him any other way. Having shed his personal dignity, he also shred the dignity of the White House. He took the office nobly filled by Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln and turned it into a room at the Playboy mansion. Having broken the moral law, he then went on to break laws he swore to preserve, protect and defend. Instead of faithfully executing his responsibilities, he merely executed them.

Byrd seemed to suggest that it is possible for a president to commit a crime, be found guilty, yet escape the consequences of his criminal behavior. This takes jury nullification to a new level, beyond the fiasco of the O.J. Simpson trial.

The president, in the words of House Manager Rep. James Rogan (R-Calif.), "wove a web of perjury and obstruction of justice.'' Dodd said history will be Clinton's ultimate judge. Good luck on that if those hundreds of historians who signed an ad opposing Clinton's impeachment are the ones writing it. Rogan correctly observed that "the failure to impose meaningful consequences for bad choices brings about more bad choices.''

House Manager Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) delivered an impassioned summation last weekend. He said, "The rule of law -- what does it mean? It means that process and procedure wins out over politics and personality.'' Not with Clinton. Graham implored senators to "get to the truth. For God's sake, figure out what kind of person we have here in the White House.'' We know, but don't care in any way significant enough to hold him accountable beyond mere words.

Since much of this has been about definitions like "is'' and "alone,'' perhaps senators should consider the definition of two other words much heard in this debate. One is "salacious'': "arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination; lecherous.'' Monica Lewinsky said she didn't like this word. After all, "it was my relationship,'' she said.

The other word is "scandal'': "discredit ... conduct that causes or encourages a lapse of faith ... in another; loss of or damage to reputation caused by actual or apparent violation of morality or propriety; a circumstance or action that offends propriety or established moral conceptions or disgraces those associated with it.''

If the Senate acquits this president, already judged guilty by one of its respected members, Robert Byrd, it will have brought more scandal on itself than Clinton has brought on the White House. The Senate will have also failed to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution "so help me God.''

This is Bill Clinton's legacy. God help us, indeed.


02/08/99: Mr. President: Tear down this wall
02/03/99: Guess who's coming to breakfast
02/01/99: NBC gets the message;is CBS missing it?
01/25/99: Let's not make this deal
01/25/99: Gov. George Bush's 'responsibility era'
01/19/99: Prophets without honor
01/12/99: The Senate's predicament and opportunity
01/08/99: ‘Compassionate conservatism’ is redundant
01/06/99: Don't give my regards to 'Narroway'
01/04/99: In culture war, a parking space trumps sex
12/28/98: Until we've learned our lesson
12/24/98: Peace in Bethlehem!? Something to think about during Xmas
12/22/98: The slime machine brings Apocalypse Now
12/15/98: The 'moving finger'
12/11/98: This sorry president
12/09/98: The eclipse of principle
12/03/98: Destroying Jewry on the installment plan
12/07/98: Before the Age of Clinton
12/01/98: Apathy and ignorance
11/19/98: Ken Starr's moment of truth
11/19/98: The fall of journalism's empire
11/17/98: Republicans drift while conservatives float
11/13/98: Supreme Courtupholds freedom of school-choice
11/10/98: The revolting Republican 'revolution'
11/06/98: Hulk Hogan for president?
11/03/98: Clinton's greatest peril isn't Monica
10/30/98: Mother Teresa was right about killing
10/27/98: Clinton to Netanyahu: 'You're despicable'
10/21/98: A 'peace' agreement: Wye not?
10/19/98: Vanity Fair snubs some of the greatest women 'leaders'
10/14/98:The mean machine
10/09/98: Impeachment: an outside perspective
10/07/98: The corruption of the Secret Service
10/02/98: Land erosion in Israel
10/01/98: The race panel: lies in black and white
9/18/98: The Clinton strategy and the Clinton legacy
9/18/98: Stopping him before he sins again
9/15/98: Repenting when the end is near
9/11/98: Faithfully executing: Congress vs. the President
9/10/98: The degrees of separation between Dan Burton and Bill Clinton
9/08/98: Joe Lieberman and the Democrats' conscience
9/04/98: Clinton vs. Reagan and the struggle for power
9/02/98: If only Bubba had been a Boy Scout
8/31/98: Liberal clergy and the Lewinsky affair
8/27/98: Combating the terrorists among us
8/25/98: The president as 'Chicken Little'
8/20/98: That was no apology
8/18/98: Big government's crab grab
8/14/98:Untruths, half-truths and anything but the truth
8/12/98: Lying under oath: past and present impeachable offenses
8/10/98: Endangered species
8/04/98: In search of an unstained president
7/31/98: The UK is ahead of US in one area...
7/28/98: Murder near and far
7/21/98: Telling the truth about
homosexual behavior
7/17/98: One Nation? Indivisible?
7/14/98: Who cares about killing when the 'good times' are rolling?
7/10/98: George W. Bush: a different 'boomer'
7/08/98: My lunch with Roy Rogers
7/06/98: News unfit to print (or broadcast)
6/30/98: Smoke gets in their eyes
6/25/98: Sugar and Spice Girls
6/19/98: William Perry opposed
technology transfers to China
6/19/98: The Clinton hare vs.the Starr tortoise
6/17/98: The President's rocky road to China
6/15/98: Let the children go
6/9/98: Oregon: the new killing fields
6/5/98: Speaking plainly: the cover-up continues
6/2/98: Barry Goldwater: in our hearts
5/28/98:The Speaker's insightful remarks
5/26/98: As bad as it gets
5/25/98:Union dues and don'ts
5/21/98: Connecting those Chinese campaign contribution dots
5/19/98: Clinton on the couch
5/13/98: John Ashcroft: another Jimmy Carter?
5/8/98: Terms of dismemberment
5/5/98: Clinton's tangled Webb
4/30/98: Return of the Jedi
4/28/98: Desparately seeking Susan
4/23/98: RICO's threat to free-speech and expression
4/21/98: Educating children v. preserving an institution
4/19/98: Analyzing the birth of a possible new nation
4/14/98: What's fair about our tax system?
4/10/98: CBS: 'Touched by a perv'
4/8/98: Judge Wright's wrong reasoning on sexual harassment
4/2/98: How about helping American cities before African?
3/31/98:Revenge of the children
3/29/98: The Clinton strategy: delay, deceive, deny, and destroy
3/26/98: Moralist Gary Hart
3/23/98: CNN's century of (liberal) women
3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.