If there is one word that popped into my
mind when I listened to Bill Clinton's one hour speech it was the word statism.
Statism is defined as
"...A philosophy of government by which the state (or government)
is viewed not only as the final ruling authority but the ultimate agency of redemption...
In the philosophy of statism, the government is conceived of as autonomous. It may take
shape in an autonomous king, an autonomous dictator, an autonomous committee, or even in
an autonomous democratic populous...I call the dream of statist redemption a myth because
it cannot become a reality. The dream quickly becomes a nightmare. The size of government
increases geometrically as more and more demands are placed upon it. The power of
government increases geometrically as more hope is invested in it. Finally the
cost of government increases geometrically as the price tag for the provisions escalates.
While all this happens, the ability of government to function diminishes geometrically as
it builds bigger and bigger deficits and drains more and more of the nation's resources.
Its laws become confused and contradictory, its operation becomes unwieldy and paralyzed,
and its excellence diminishes with the diminished quality of its leaders..."
Land of the Free. by R. C. Sproul
Tide: Four Alternative Movements, quoting from this article:
"...Pope Leo argued, "The contention that the civil government
should at its option intrude into and exercise control over the family and the household
is a great and pernicious error." While [Henry Cabot] Lodge insisted,
"Government is but a tool. If ever we come to the place where our tools determine
what jobs we can or cannot do, and by what means, then nary a fortnight shall pass in
which new freedoms shall be wrested from us straight-away. Societal problems are solved by
families and communities as they carefully and discriminately use a variety of
tools." They believed charity--like so much else in society--should be designed to
avoid what Leo called the "interference of the state beyond its competence...
According to Lodge, "Multiple jurisdictions and free associations are hedges against
both tyranny and anarchy, against both cultural hegemony and civil disintegration.
[Abraham] Kuyper said, "According to the Word of God, the family is
portrayed as the wonderful creation through which the rich fabric of our organic human
life must spin itself out." Again he said, "The tasks of family in society lie
outside government's jurisdiction. With those it is not to meddle." Pope Leo called
the family "the true society." Lodge called it the primary building block of our
culture. Nay, it is itself our culture' ".
One of the harshest and most
imbedded impositions/powers of the federal government is the power of taxation. Bill
Clinton would lift this burden slightly:
Provided we educate ourselves and our children in
federally qualified and acceptable programs.
Provided we choose the benefits of home ownership (Elimination, under all
conditions of the capital gains tax upon sale).
Provided we engage in activities that the government considers efficacious
or moral. For example, the hiring of a person off of welfare (with wages, in some cases,
supplemented by public assistance dollars).
Nobody believes more strongly in literacy, health and welfare reform and
the importance of family than I do. However, is it so difficult to peer into a not distant
future and become very frightened? A future where a government regulates its citizens in all
of the particulars of their lives. A government that destroys the energy and vitality of
the populace, that feeds upon itself and ultimately destroys individual liberty. Why can't
communities solve illiteracy without federal involvement. Let children's schools
be strengthened with the sweat and tears of creative educators, loving, involved parents
and open young minds. Like President Clinton, I support public charter schools, that in
principle provide for full school accountability and autonomy. Let employers working
with their employees set fair family leave policies. Let communities, churches and
families minister to the needs of the less fortunate. Restore the necessity of
individuals and communities to decide what will become of their lives, their
schools, their businesses, their old, their young, their weak,
their sick. Too many chronically uninvolved Americans complain bitterly over the
direction of a nation they take no personal responsibility for. As Thomas
Jefferson wrote: "The policy of the American government is to leave their
citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits." And
Again, "I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much
liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it."
It would be grossly unfair to characterize
"statism" as a Clinton trend or to suggest that Bill Clinton is its primary or
only exponent. Almost from the day the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1788, federal
power has steadily increased and centralized, whether by amendments to the constitution,
increasingly broad interpretations of constitutional law or an increasingly intrusive
federal bureaucracy. For example, no one questions the significance of the Marbury v.
Madison Supreme Court decision, the enactment of the fourteenth amendment, government
regulation of interstate commerce and the continually expanding notions of due process and
equal protection. Yet all of these have, for reasons of altruism and practical necessity,
contributed to the intrusive federal influence. The
question then is how we limit such influence while continuing to evolve as a modern and
just society. It is that question that our politicians must squarely face if
totalitarianism is to be avoided.
Not withstanding, Bill Clinton seems to have no great inclination to
preserve or defend individual rights and freedoms. Whether it's the enactment of sweeping
anti-terrorist laws, the V-Chip, the Clipper chip, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 or
the right to own firearms, Clinton prefers to suspend or abolish the rights of citizens
the government and/or the legal system classifies as "undesirable". According to
Clinton, if you were once convicted (rightly or wrongly) of spousal or child abuse, you
shouldn't be able to own a gun. Three strikes and you are out, regardless of the severity
of your crimes (at least in California, perhaps not federally). If you have ever been
convicted of a crime, that information is easily available from the government for a small
sum and may be published in your local newspaper. Much of this is under the guise of a
proposed constitutional amendment for victim's rights- presumably because these policies
might be unconstitutional otherwise.
Clinton advocates campaign finance reform while he actively courts
special interests (foreign and domestic) and their money. He gracefully promises to not
personally attack the character of Bob Dole (thus setting up the expectation that Dole
should do likewise), knowing full well that it is his character and
public/private morality that has been in question almost from the day he took public
office in Arkansas. Certainly, both candidates need to be
closely scrutinized. If the press is to timid to do this, we can at least be confident
that the candidates are sufficiently motivated to watch over each other!!
Summary: In his speech Clinton outlined a benevolent, well meaning
political agenda, heavily focused on the themes of education and family. These themes
paralleled those in the First Lady's compassionate book "It takes A Village".
In the name of children and their futures (and hence America's future), Clinton's domestic
policies would dramatically increase the federal government's role in our daily
lives, while claiming the opposite. It is the family, local community, state
government and innumerable private associations and organizations, not the
federal government that should be the primary vehicle for people to govern their lives.
Clinton's "bridge to the 21st century" may be an unwitting bridge to future
totalitarianism for the sake of "progress".
As de Tocqueville wrote:
" The political world is metamorphosed: new remedies must
henceforth be sought for new disorders. To lay down extensive but distinct and settled
limits to the action of government; to confer certain rights on private persons, and to
secure them the undisputed enjoyment of those rights; to enable individual man to maintain
whatever independence, strength, and original power he still possesses; to raise him by
the society at large, and uphold him in that position,- these appear to me the main
objects of legislators in the ages upon which we are entering."
And with respect to the Supreme Court, Justice Felix Frankfurter, a
strong advocate of "rigorous judicial self restraint" wrote:
"If the function of this Court is to be essentially no
different from that of a legislature, if the considerations governing constitutional
construction are to be substantially those that underlie legislation, then indeed judges
should not have life tenure and they should be made directly responsible to the
Democracy in America- Not
Bill Clinton - The Dark Side; BeachBum's Clinton Scandal Page and
for a somewhat damning perspective on the Starr investigation: "The
Salon Report on Kenneth Starr."
February 12, 1999:
William Jefferson Clinton was acquitted today by the Senate of
charges he committed perjury and obstructed justice. While practically no member of the
Senate would characterize Clinton's behavior as less than reprehensible, a majority of
Senators were unwilling to vote guilty on either charge. Even censure now appears unlikely
since Republicans perceive it as a way for Democrats to assuage their collective
consciences and constituencies.
Is the acceptable standard of conduct for the Commander in Chief lower
than for a regular member of the Armed Forces? Apparently yes. Does a high public
opinion poll rating, take precedence over the Constitution when deciding matters of
impeachment? Again, the answer seems to be yes. In any case, the President's
legal dilemmas will not end with his Presidency- eventually justice will prevail.
December 25, 1998: The impeachment process drags on, with Democratic and Republican Senators and
two former Presidents suggesting censure versus an impeachment trial. Whatever the
outcome, I consider Clinton to be a reprehensible and unstable figure in American
politics. He lacks dignity, propriety and even the appearance of integrity. His past and
present actions warrant removal from office. One may, for example, legitimately call
into question the motives behind, and the timing of, the recent bombings in Iraq. Will
Clinton's stop at nothing to preserve his Presidency? Doesn't he realize, that his
Presidency has effectively ended, since political leadership without public trust is
meaningless and possibly dangerous. As for public opinion polls- they are as fickle as the
President himself. As for the President's supposed enemies- there is none greater than
himself. It is indeed, a time to impeach. Hopefully, principled Democrats will
join hands with Republicans to make the correct and seemingly difficult choices.
September 21, 1998: The videotape of Clinton's August 17th Grand Jury testimony was made
public today. Based on public reaction thus far, the political battlefield remains
unchanged. While Democrats prematurely formulate a "harsh," short of impeachment
Presidential punishment, new information from Starr and others is being readied that will
make an even stronger case for abuse of power. White House attempts to discredit Starr's
investigation, while momentarily propping the President's approval ratings will backfire
in the long run.
According to Dick Morris, a former advisor and consultant to the President, "Beginning as early as 1990,
Clinton surrounded himself with detectives and negative-research specialists who
collectively have become a kind of secret police force to protect his interests."
Morris then relates incidents of intimidation involving Kathleen Willey and former Miss
America, Elizabeth Ward Gracen. The thrust of Morris's article is that Clinton's cover-up
and associated intimidation and threats against innocent Americans may prove his final
undoing. Certainly, no one could plausibly argue that Gracen, Wiley, Dolly Kyle Browning,
Paula Jones, etc. are any less credible than the President.
August 23, 1998: The
embarrassment the President feared is becoming even more evident as details of (his)
sexual perversion begin to flood the media. How much of this can the public endure before
snickers turn into derision and finally total disgust and rejection? At some point the
issue(s) of perjury may become secondary in the public's mind to those of public and
private morality. When this occurs, the President's power base could be completely
Perhaps, the "collective will/unconscious", wants the President to stay in
office just long enough to assure themselves that the so-called "witch hunt", is
far more an indictment of the Clinton presidency than the combined enmity of long time
Clinton foes. When the collective will is satisfied, the Clinton Presidency may become
dispensable in the public's eye. Continued "defections" of influential Democrats
and other media, business and theological opinion makers will hasten this process.
International crisis, while temporarily "helping" the President's
"plight" by shifting focus, will ultimately do further harm to his cause as the
people ask, "Can we entrust this man with the lives of our sons and daughters."
My advice to the President is to strongly and publicly admit his guilt and fallibility,
ask for forgiveness and then demonstrate placing the public interest paramount by
resigning. In this way he may achieve some victory from defeat, and as a former president
be honored and respected enough to retain a favorable place in history. Sometimes a leader
must "sacrifice" him or her self for the common weal. Is Clinton ethically and
morally capable of doing this? Clinton may decide to "tough it out," but is this
only delaying the inevitable? The Presidency is a very powerful, yet circumscribed office.
A President's "freedom of action" is often very limited and the consequences of
those actions quite predictable. If the President is confident the Starr report will
vindicate him, then he should stay in office. If he believes he can "survive" by
discrediting Starr's investigation and a report that documents a pattern of abuse- he is
sadly deluded. If anything he should be praising Starr, if not for his tactics or
underlying motivation, at least for his insistence on the rule of law and public
Are the known actions of Bill Clinton, grounds for impeachment? This is what
Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers
"The subjects of its jurisdiction are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men, or, in other words, from the abuse or
violation of some public trust. They are of a nature which may with peculiar propriety be
denominated political, as they relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society
itself. The prosecution of them, for this reason, will seldom
fail to agitate the passions of the whole community, and to divide it into parties more or
less friendly or inimical to the accused. In many cases it will connect itself with the
pre-existing factions, and will enlist all their animosities, partialities, influence, and
interest on one side or on the other; and in such cases there will always be the greatest
danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative strength of parties,
than by the real demonstrations of innocence or guilt.
Is it [impeachment] not designed as a method of national inquest into the
conduct of public men?"
Article II, section 4 of the Constitution also states that,"
President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed
from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes
Of course the phrase "abuse or violation of some public trust" is subject to
interpretation. Still it is clear that impeachment was not intended strictly as a judicial
process. In part this may have been to avoid "double jeopardy." Illegal acts
such as treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors are therefore only one,
though obviously powerful and determinative, basis for impeachment. Further, the
burden and seriousness of impeachment was deemed too great to rest within the
decision-making authority of a relatively small body of men, such as the Supreme Court.
The British model was used, where two houses of the legislature would be involved, one to
prefer impeachment, the other, in our case the Senate, to try impeachment. The requirement
of a two-thirds majority in the Senate implies that the basis for impeachment must be
strong and not capricious.
In Clinton's case, lying to a Grand Jury and/or inducing others to lie, constitutes
much more than a misdemeanor and may be determinative, i.e.., the Congress
may have no choice but to impeach. Blatant and repeatedly lying to the American people is
an obvious violation of public trust. Both actions are joined and call into question, not
only the President's integrity but his trustworthiness and fitness for office. That the
issues center around sexual impropriety is not a mitigating circumstance, especially in
the light of past recurring incidents of impropriety and cover-up. Therefore, in my opinion, there is sufficient basis for
I feel sorry for Bill Clinton. "Life" all to often exposes our
vulnerabilities. While it teaches us lessons about ourselves, its methods are frequently
cruel. A President's weaknesses are magnified and stand as sore wounds, exposed to the
world's uncaring and indifferent gaze. Perhaps only driving ambition,
naiveté and idealism
drives men and woman into public office. Whatever the reward, the costs seem
excruciatingly high. One may, however, share a less sympathetic perspective. Examine
the following quote from Cal
Thomas' August 25, 1998 editorial in the Jewish World Review:
Fyodor Dostoevsky eloquently described the effects of a congenital liar
in The Brothers Karamazov. He wrote, "Above all, don't lie to yourself. The
man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to such a pass that he cannot
distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and
for others. And having no respect he ceases to love, and in order to occupy and distract
himself without love he gives way to passions and coarse pleasures, and sinks to
bestiality in his vices, all from continual lying to other men and to himself ...''
The President's oft tendency to "split hairs," both in public
and in private, suggest he is an habitual liar- deluded by his
Finally, there is talk that the Administration may engage in a kind of
"scorched earth" policy, threatening to expose the personal foibles and
indiscretions of members of Congress if articles of impeachment are brought forward. Such
a policy would eliminate all sympathy for the President's cause and fully unite
Congressional Democrats and Republicans against him. Unwise.
August 17, 1998: "The
Presidency that Hinged on a Blue Dress and a Cigar," The President
addressed the nation on the evening of August 17, 1998 and admitted what three quarters of
the American people already knew: that he had a sexual, in his words, "not
appropriate" relationship with Lewinsky and had lied about it. Clearly
he appeared to "come clean" because: (1) Further perjury would bring
more severe consequences (to himself) and (2) He seemed confident that he did not
technically commit perjury during the Paula Jones' trial, even with the admission (The President: "While my answers were legally accurate,
I did not volunteer information"). His statement to the American people
was "appropriately" apologetic, while at the same time, expressing defiance
toward Starr's investigation. While the President addressed all the issues raised by his polling
of the American people, he did not, in my opinion, address the core issue,
i.e., a violation
of the public trust. He did not "merely" create a false impression or mislead
the American people (Again The President, "I
know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression"),
he deliberately and coldly lied to them. He even went to the lengths of rehearing
his denial (and his latest act of contrition) with a Hollywood director or
producer. The almost twenty year pattern of his sexual promiscuity and subsequent cover-up
by his closest advisors, including Mrs. Clinton, suggests that the First Lady had full or
partial knowledge of what occurred back in January. What has occurred is not
an isolated act of grievous misjudgment, a "critical lapse
in judgment." Further, Mrs. Clinton (along with her husband) has not been free of
accusations of scandal in other areas (Whitewater, cattle futures, the White
House Travel Office, campaign finance, the Vince Foster death, etc.).
The Special Prosecutor will attempt to make a case to Congress that Clinton: (1)
Directly or indirectly asked, prodded and/or induced Lewinsky to lie to the Grand Jury and
(2) That Clinton himself lied to both the January and August Grand Juries. He will do so,
despite, Lewinsky's denial of the first claim. Starr's case will be based on evidence and
the test of reasonableness. If he is successful (which is likely), a rapid succession of
events may be unleashed that forces the impeachment process. Predictably, most
Republicans will probably vote for impeachment, most Democrats against. With a two-thirds
majority required in the senate, it seems unlikely, at least at present,
that the President would be impeached. The results of the upcoming November elections may
work in the President's favor if he can successfully shift focus from himself to
Starr and "his" investigation.
Clinton leaves on what may be an ill timed vacation. Embassy bombings, Iraq's threats
to inspectors, a shattering Asian economy and spreading world recession, instability in
Northern Ireland, stalemate in the Middle East, etc. require the full attention
of a focused, astute leader. Is that what we have now? As the President said,
"We have important work to do real opportunities to seize, real problems to
solve, real security matters to face."
A chilling question remains: The President forcefully and coldly lied to the
American people (admitted) and a Grand Jury (both the one in January '98 and the one in
August '98- despite his denials) to avoid, political and personal
"embarrassment." Would he have been vulnerable to blackmail from foreign or
domestic agents that threatened to expose his lie if Kenneth Starr's investigation had not
revealed it first? What other lies has the President told and what individuals or groups
have him in their grasp? The line between a
politician's private and public life is far thinner than the President would have us
August 6, 1998: Clinton
has, through his lack of integrity, further eroded the Office of the Presidency. Who could
have imagined (or would want to have imagined) a public "conversation" on
whether fellatio is "sex" or whether the President after forcefully lying about
the charges leveled against him, should repent, seek, and receive forgiveness? It seems
almost inconceivable that Lewinsky is lying. Why would she seek transactional
immunity if she didn't need it? Why would she lie after being granted immunity? Must we
have a President
who sits on the edge while the FBI does a DNA analysis of semen (allegedly his) on a
If the President remains in office, either through lying to the Grand Jury or admitting
guilt, would Americans accept his sincerity on any substantive issue, domestic or
foreign? The answer to this question is very unclear. Perhaps the President should be
forgiven. However, in my opinion, the end does not justify the means and no matter how
worthy, hardworking and popular Clinton may be, it is obvious his word is not his
bond- perhaps it never was. Ironically, his staunchest supporters will be hurt the most-
whether or not he now tells the truth.
Certainly Clinton understands that impeachment, disbarment and post-presidential legal
challenges are probable consequences of further perjury, with or without a Gore
Presidential pardon. Truthfulness may head off some of these. If the
President lies, history will remember him, at least in part, as a deviant/unusual case and
nothing will shield him from the law. If he should be truthful, it will attest to the
power of public opinion and further reinforce the principle that no citizen is above
the law. If he is found to be innocent of all charges- history will perceive him
as a martyr, subject to the viciousness of presidential politics circa the late twentieth
century. However, that is only if he is being truthful. A martyr dos not lie to protect
himself. It would be ludicrous to say he lied to protect his family- in fact, they appear
to be willing conspirators.
January 25, 1998: New accusations of lying under oath during the Paula Jones trial coupled
with hints of offering "inducements" to Monica Lewinsky to deny trysts in
the White House threaten to further erode and possibly destroy Clinton's presidency. The
President has clearly demonstrated a pattern of marital infidelity and sexual
promiscuousness dating back from his earliest days in politics. Aides, including his wife,
have thus far successfully shielded him from the consequences of his sexual appetites.
Unwittingly or not they have contributed to his state of denial, having become
"enablers." However, if Lewinsky and independent counsel Starr credibly
substantiate the claim that Lewinsky was encouraged to lie under oath, the President may
be forced to leave office or perhaps face impeachment.
There is a tragic dimension to Clinton's current dilemma. That
which brought him to power contributes to his downfall. A downfall witnessed by
politicians and a country whose sexual morality is no more elevated than his. A country if
you will in "denial." As with most tragic reversals, perhaps the
"victim" will come full circle reaching greater self understanding and inner
peace. Hopefully Lewinsky can live her life in happiness and peace as well. A peace not
yet experienced by Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers. See also the ACLU's statement concerning the Starr
inquiry into Bill Clinton's alleged crimes (1/28/98).
October 22,1997: Where's
(to use an expression) the beef? It is now October 22nd and Clinton appears well on
his way to reelection. The President, leveraging a "good" economy and learning
his "lessons" from the past four years, has not staked one potentially
controversial position that would subject him to partisan Republican attack. While
maintaining a lead in the polls, Clinton chooses "not to rock the boat".
He has not articulated a clear, forcefully stated vision for the United States or the
World. He has not accomplished or committed himself to anything that will, in the light of
history, distinguish him as a great and forceful leader. It is true that misconceived
grand schemes are dangerous and inaction or drift may be preferable to such schemes.
However, lack of vision and purpose can be even more dangerous in a world drifting towards
April 15, 1997: The
Clinton presidency is in deep trouble. Accusations continue to mount in three