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Jewish World Review /Jan. 28, 1999 /11 Shevat, 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas Let's not make this deal

(JWR) --- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com) "THE POWER OF IMPEACHMENT is given by the Constitution to bring great offenders to punishment,'' said James Iredell, a member of the North Carolina Supreme Court and delegate to his state's ratifying convention in 1787-88.

Iredell and his colleagues saw a connection between offenses and punishment. But Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and some of his colleagues apparently see some wiggle room between the two. They seem to be focusing on Article 1, Section 3, paragraph 7, which says: "If any judge or executive officer is convicted of impeachment charges, the punishment of the Senate shall not extend beyond his removal from office and declaring that individual disqualified from holding any office of honor, trust or profit under the authority of the United States in the future'' (emphasis mine).

It would appear that Lott and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Me.) think the Constitution allows a lesser punishment than the president's removal from office should two-thirds of the Senate find him guilty. Put another way, a child could be declared guilty for lying to his parents but he would not have to go to his room or do extra chores to remind him there are consequences for improper behavior.

Defenders of the president during the Senate trial remind senators that the president would not escape punishment after leaving office. This reveals even their low regard for a man most of his supporters see as someone of no lasting value other than to hold off the Republican "barbarians'' who would otherwise be storming the White House gates.

The idea of separating the president's illegal deeds from any form of constitutional punishment was hatched last September in a floor speech by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.). Widely hailed at the time, Lieberman rebuked the president for his "immoral'' behavior. Sens. Bob Kerry (D-Neb.) and Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) praised Lieberman and seemed to agree with what he said. But Lieberman left it there; he didn't recommend the president's impeachment. As has been pointed out by the House impeachment managers and many others, there are people now doing time in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice, the very things for which the president has been impeached.

Charles Pinckney, a South Carolina delegate to the Constitutional Convention, failed to see a distinction between conviction of a president and removal from office. While debating whether a president should have the power to "grant reprieve or pardon in the case of impeachment proceedings brought against a judge or officer of the executive branch'' (Article 2, Section 2, paragraph 1), Pinckney said: "No man, however great, is exempt from impeachment and trial. If the representatives of the people think he ought to be impeached and tried, the president cannot pardon him; and this great man himself ... as well as the vice president, and all civil officers of the United States, are to be removed from office on impeachment and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors'' (emphasis mine).

In a World Magazine essay last August, University of Texas government and philosophy professor Jay Budziszewski wrote there has never been a bad man and a good statesman: "To lie is to break trust. The more you break trust, the more breaking trust becomes part of your character. In every tough spot, your first impulse is to cheat. At first you cheat only your sexual partners, but pretty soon every relationship grows with the lurid colors of exploitation: with kids, with boss, with country.''

Bill Clinton has been impeached and is being tried for perjury and obstruction of justice. But his faults extend far beyond these acts. His "private acts'' are injuring the public good. Any attempt to split the difference means this president will have corrupted not only himself but the Congress and the law. If there were no other reason -- and there are many -- he should be convicted and removed from office. Anything short of that, or acquittal, is a bad deal the Senate should not make.


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

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