The debate over whether or not the impeached President, Bill Clinton, should be removed from office, has reasonable people wondering if the two sides are debating the same issues. The President?s supporters, including even self described Clinton-lovers like Geraldo Rivera, say that what he did was reprehensible and he shouldn?t go unpunished. There should be a censure, or some other expression from Congress that his behavior was unacceptable. The irony here is that what they want him reprimanded for is what they consider to be his private consensual sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky, while they accuse his critics and opponents of being the ones obsessed by his sex life.
Those who support Clinton?s removal from office in this debate, say they want him removed for lying under oath and obstructing justice by witness tampering and sending people like Sidney Blumenthal out to lie on his behalf. We detect some hypocrisy on both sides that needs examination.
Many in the media say that the President?s critics are motivated by hate. At CNN in particular, Al Hunt regularly uses the term, and recently Bernard Shaw and even Chris Black, who is one of their White House reporters, have referred to hate as the motivating factor. This is the White House spin. To say hatred is the motive suggests that the critics are driven by irrational feelings as opposed to reasoned analysis.
The politics of personal destruction is another interesting concept, one that Clinton, House Minority leader Dick Gephardt and others continually say should be stopped. Yet who is in fact practicing it? Do these people really believe that if Bill Clinton had acknowledged his sexual affair he would actually have been impeached? If he had done what Bob Livingston, Henry Hyde and Dan Burton did when the politics of personal destruction was used by the Clinton team of dirt-diggers, James Carville, Terry Lenzner and Larry Flynt, to expose their sexual affairs – that is, admit it was true and accept the humiliation with a sense of dignity – Clinton would probably never have been impeached in the first place.
Which brings up the hypocrisy of the Republicans. Out of all of the corruption, abuse of power, payments of hush money, compromising of national security and obstruction of justice perpetrated by this administration, it is dismaying that Clinton?s fate is being determined based only on matters related to the Lewinsky scandal, which by the way, even leaving out the articles of impeachment, is not a personal matter. It has everything to do with a hostile workplace environment, misuse of government employees including the Secret Service and even national security issues, as we?ve pointed out in previous commentaries.
Rather the Republican hypocrisy is that in a sense, this is the Al Capone principle of justice at work. Following a career of extortion, murder and racketeering, it took tax evasion to put Capone behind bars. Likewise, because of Starr?s incompetence and Republican fears, they couldn?t or wouldn?t get Clinton for the serious crimes of his administration, and instead are reduced to the current debate over lies and obstruction of justice related to his sexual predatory ways.