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Re: Ken Starr's Report to Congress Online

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Christopher Wright wrote:

> >So you're saying that, since "some of us never really got over Watergate,"
> >that we need to ignore Congress' responsibility under the Constitution
> >(namely Article I, Section 2) with regard to its impeachment authority?
> That's a non-sequitur. The Congress's impeachment authority covers high
> crimes and misdemeanors. What Clinton did (Boinked someone he wasn't
> married to and lied about it)  was reprehensible and stupid, but no
> ordinary citizen would be prosecuted for it.

THERE'S your non-sequitur.

In the first place, "high crimes and misdemeanors" are whatever Congress says
they are.  Do yourself a favor: Read Federalist No. 42.

Secondly, "no ordinary citizen would be prosecuted" for adultery in this day and
time, but that's not what the report alleges.  It alleges that he committed
adultery, THEN lied about it under oath, both to the Paula Jones jury, and later
to the grand jury.  THEN he tried to cover up by "rehearsing" others to say
things that weren't true, THEN he abused the power of his office by having
government employees in the White House go out and lie about it (although THEY
were probably unknowing, most of them), THEN he abused the power of his office by
directing that White House personnel such as the Secret Service and Bruce
Lindsay, put up a fight to keep from having to testify about what THEY knew.  He
did this, KNOWING that he was using the fig-leaf of "executive privilege" to
cover up his own lies.  If you'll remember, this is what Nixon got in deep
doo-doo for doing.

In short, if you want to believe the White House spin, go right ahead.  But this
is NOT about a legal matter under juridical law, it is about "high crimes and
misdemeanors" of the President, under the Constitution.  There is a distinct

> Politicians aren't in the moral leadership business, and we all know it.

That's funny, apparently Joseph Lieberman, Barbara Boxer, Pat Moynihan and other
members of the President's own party aren't quite so sanguine about that as you

The fact is:  The President is required to uphold standards.  This one does not,
and I am one of those who believes he really never has (although even THAT is
beside the point).  And his lack of moral leadership extends to all areas of his
job performance.  For example, he has never had any problem with lying about
those who oppose him in matters of policy, or about the effect of his
administration on such things as the economy.

Like Mr. Nixon, it is far, far more important to this man to hold onto his power,
no matter what and come what may, than to uphold the office.  The most righteous
thing that Mr. Nixon did was to resign, realizing that he had failed in his
attempt to hold onto that power.  It remains to be seen whether the present Chief
Executive is made of as stern a stuff.

> We've also known they've told whoppers since the political promise was
> invented. I don't like it but I'm not going to cast my eyes skyward and
> invoke divine judgement as though a president never got caught in a
> whopper before. I also can't get terribly exercised over lying to
> Congress. They do it to each other, to the public and to anyone else
> who'll listen so often no one pays attention, in fact we expect it.

Then you are an example of why the tenor of public service has become so
downcast.  Imperfect people are elected to office with high hopes.  It's true
that none of us meets every challenge.  But to equate campaign promises, e.g.,
with the kinds of abuses of power that we now have hard evidence concerning with
this President, is very foolish.

> Clinton's real crime is that he wore his hair long in the '60's, smoked
> dope and married an ambitious, non-dowdy woman with brains.

Again, it saddens me that one obviously so intelligent as you would prefer to
stick his head in the sand, and recognize the truth.  The "60s mentality" does
pervade much of what the President and First Lady are about, it's true.  But the
problem isn't those who are averse to the "legacy" of that era.  The problem is
that the "morally relativistic" chickens have finally come home to roost.  These
people don't see anything wrong with anything they do, and the fact that other
people have absolute moral precepts is lost on them (except that they know enough
to be able to exploit it--witness the bravura performance at the "prayer
breakfast" yesterday morning).

> (a
> description that fits a great many men we call 'successful') Starr
> couldn't find a real crime so he settled for small potatoes and smarm. He
> couldn't even make sexual harassment stick.

Actually, he was not involved in the sexual harrassment proceeding against the
President, as I'm sure you realize.

> >N.B.:  I think it hilarious, that the same sorts of people who were so angry
> >when "the system" allowed Nixon to resign, and then be pardoned, are the
> >ones who think all this stuff needs now to be "dropped."
> There are a lot of parallels. Lots of people hated them both obsessively;
> both had some shady dealings in their past and Nixon's associations with
> Joe McCarthy carried the same stigma among some as Clinton's hippy image
> carries among others.

I've never really thought so much of his "hippy" image, as I have of his image
that he will do anything, not excluding possible treason, to hold onto power.

I would remind you there are more shoes to drop.  I believe the White House has
made a tactical error in reminding us that there are no mentions of "Whitewater"
or "travelgate" or "filegate" in the report.  The conventional wisdom is that
there is considerably more to come on these.  There is even speculation that an
indictment of Mrs. Clinton is forthcoming--which does much to lend understanding
to her desire to be seen on the "moral forefront" of forgiveness of her husband.
She may still need his protection.

> As a result lots of people wasted lots of time
> trying to compile evidence of conspiracies and skullduggery. The
> difference is that Nixon was an accessory to a real crime, and he did in
> fact obstruct justice.

No difference.  Both Clinton and Nixon committed real crimes.  Yes, Clinton's
crimes are real.  The "naysaying" of his lawyers notwithstanding, he committed
perjury and obstructed justice, and used his office to accomplish same.  He is in
deep trouble, and no "spin" is going to save him.

> In Clinton's case the evidence of a crime is
> sketchy at best, and I daresay you can't prove obstruction of justice if
> there's no crime involved.

There is a crime involved:  Perjury.  This President committed perjury.

He committed what alone are impeachable offenses, merely by having sex with the
woman in the White House.  Read Federalist No. 42.

> If you find political or ideological battles hilarious, you got a strange
> notion of how a representative government works. Congress is pissing away
> good economic times being self-righteous when they should be taking care
> of business.

I agree that they should be taking care of business.  It's too bad that the
Clinton camp doesn't see it that way, since his prompt resignation would help us
all get back on course.  Clinton is determined to fight this, to spare his
"legacy."  He doesn't give a d*mn about this country without himself as its

> I think that's the reason people outside the Beltway
> generally aren't all that worked up--they have more on their minds than
> scoring points on the opposition.

I disagree with your assessment.  I think the Starr Report is having a great deal
of impact.