#15 - Impeachment
Lots of stuff happening in Washington and all kinds of stories coming out. Impeachment appears imminent for Bill Clinton and we are hearing all the arguments from each side on why we ought o or why we shouldn't. I have some thoughts on these items and reactions to the statements.
We hear continuously from the Democrats that Clinton should not be impeached because he has such a high popularity. Odd thing is that I don't remember these statements by the Democrats back in 1973 when they were having all their hearings on Nixon. Up until October of 1973 Nixon had approval ratings similar to Clinton and he did not have the advantage of a good economy as Clinton does. The stock Market was hitting record highs then, but a major concern of people was the high cost of living and inflation. In addition there are many that are saying Congress should never consider impeaching Clinton because he was elected by the people twice and that people knew about the scandals at election. I imagine Nixon is wondering where were these supporters in 1974. Nixon was re-elected by one of the largest landslides in history in 1972, five months after Watergate occurred.
The story is often said that we should censure him instead of impeaching him. Impeachment is covered in the Constitution, censure is not. The only time a president was ever censured, it as rescinded later. Impeachment in itself does not remove a president form office. He still has to be convicted by the Senate. If the Senate wishes it could dismiss the charges, convict him or vote not to convict. Impeachment is similar to the average citizen being indicted. There is enough evidence in an indictment for the grand jury to send the case to trial. In the case of impeachment, the House is saying, similar to a grand jury, there is enough evidence to take the president to a trial in the Senate. If censure were to occur, Clinton says he would accept it, but his history to date, leads many to think he may well challenge the constitutionality of it to the Supreme Court, therefor close coming later than with impeachment.
There are many recommending that he be censured and force to pay a fine with amounts named up to $4 million. Similar to what Gingrich agreed to in his case. Censure is a legal alternative for the House to use on fellow members. And has been historically done. The question comes up where would the money come from for Clinton to pay this fine. Basically he has an income of $200,000 per year plus Hillary's investment income and proceeds from the books that Socks and Buddy have written. Now where is all that money going to come from. He has already used up his legal insurance paying the Jones settlement, and owes large legal bills from all of this. He does not hire cheap lawyers. Some would say from the legal defense fund he has set up, but it can't even pay his other bills. If he suddenly gets large contributions from businesses, labor unions, etc., will it really be bribes? We will be back where we are with the questions on campaign finance of 1996.
As I have stated before, the Starr report should have covered much more than Monica and Jones. He has been investigating Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate and campaign finance longer that Monica and Paula and should have given a report on all of this with it. The only other final report Starr has produced was to clear everyone in the Foster suicide. Many of the congressmen are basing at least part f their vote, and American citizens their opinions, on what they think has happened in all of these. Similar to what happened to Al Capone. They did not get him on all the big stuf, but went to prison for income tax evasion. We need a final report on what Starr has found. Agreed he will not close down at that point because he has cases in the court system he is prosecuting.
Now the "Wag the Dog" scenario reappears. Clinton has ordered the attack of Iraq this week. Many saying he is doing it to stop the impeachment process. Clinton states that now was the time to go and it has nothing to do with impeachment. In any event, most people agree Hussein is a threat and needs put down. The question is timing.
We have also had many people advocating that we not have a trial by the Senate because then the Congress and President could only deal with that and nothing else and that our economy and military would suffer. This is a strange one. I have never known the president and Congress to only be dealing with one item at a time. If that is all they can do we need to get rid of them. I am expected to teach up to 4 different classes per day, maintain the computer, and remember to eat and have a normal life and deal with anything else that comes along. To believe this argument, then maybe I ought to be President. But yet I believe everyone deals with multiple items at a time. If you are not sure watch a mother with several young children. Not only that Clinton has seemed to be able to do at least three major items in the last week. One, work on peace in Palestine-Israel, Two work on defending himself in impeachment, making announcements he is sorry, and three now bombing Iraq. There is no reason the Congress and Clinton cannot deal with impeachment and the rest of America' problems. The problem is that the press only has space for one major headline per day.
I hear people continuously say it is a private thing and should be settled between Bill, Hillary, Chelsea, Monica, and God and that we should do nothing.. If this had occurred in the private quarters of the White House, or at non-official areas I would agree. However we must consider that this occurred in the office, the cover up was carried on as official business, and he did perjure himself under oath. He is the equivalent of the CEO of the US. Any CEO of a major business in the US who did this would be subject to immediate firing by his/her company. Furthermore Clinton has worked to strengthen these laws while in office. Also he is the commander in chief of the military and I have not seen him yet stop any of the cases of the officers in the military who have been court martialed for similar offenses even done off the clock in private quarters. I will agree with the others that he does have to settle things with those other four, but since he was on the clock in the official areas (Oval Office) doing official work, he owes an accounting to us.
Lastly we hear that 60% of the population is supporting Clinton. They are saying they approve of him as president and oppose impeachment, and accordingly Congress should not impeach. However, what is little publicized is that that the support is lukewarm. Nixon, many scholars say lost his support because the economy went south. The response to another question asked by the Washington Post/ABC News poll was that 58% of the people said Clinton should resign if he is impeached. The support does not sound as strong as initially thought. If the people really thought he should not be convicted, then that number should have been 40% or less as they should support him fighting for the right thing.
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