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Monday, March 10, 2008

Politics: The Clinton Factor

A great deal was made during impeachment hearings of what Bill Clinton did to whom, and when, and for how long, etc. What was on the blue dress? How did it get there? Republicans in particular hammered Slick Willie for the fact that he had sex in the oval office, disrespected the office of the president and all that jazz.

None of that really mattered of course. I am sure William Jefferson was not the first sitting president to have sex in the oval office, with or without the respective spouse. Presidents have a long history of character flaws and behavior that are not "befitting" the office. The old adage is that the greater the character the greater the flaws, and this generally turns out to be true.

What truly rankled me, as a concerned citizen, was the legal defense put forth by the Clinton administration.

Not to be too base here, but if Clinton came out and said "Yeah, I did (it/her)", everyone would have forgiven and forgotten and the impeachment mess never happens. Instead we had a series of receding denials as more evidence was brought forth, public discourse on the definition of "is", and a general collapse of the public awareness of what government was doing on a day-to-day basis. Everyone was on board for the show, never mind that man behind the curtain.

Here is the rub. The President of the United States of America is, among other things, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the country. The President's ultimate responsibility is to ensure that laws of the land are enforced. This means that the integrity of the person sitting in the Oval Office is not just a sidebar, but is paramount to deciding whom should hold that office. It also means that any actions done by a chief exective in the public realm that conflict with or negate their moral authority to enforce the law compromise that person's ability to successfully prosecute the office of the President (or Governor, in the case of New York's Eliot Spitzer).

So when Bill Clinton went before Congress and lied under oath, that was more than just lying about infidelity. The infidelity itself doesn't really matter in the public realm. That in and of itself was and is solely between Bill, Hillary and Monica Lewinsky. But when Bill Clinton lied under oath, he told everyone in the world that the laws of the United States, which he was charged to uphold, didn't apply to him the way they should to everyone else. At that point right there he lost all moral authority to sit in the oval office.

This was a legal defense put forth on Bill Clinton's behalf. Bill Clinton was only acting under the advice of his lawyer; the individual charged with constructing the legal defense. While Bill Clinton was responsible for the actions of his representative, the representative was concocting a legal strategy built on lies and obfuscation. The lawyer in question was advising Bill Clinton to lie to the American people and Congress under oath, because the laws didn't apply to him, the President, the way they applied to everyone else.

By all accounts, the person leading the legal defense for William Jefferson Clinton was none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton.

So to the good people of Mississippi, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, North Carolina, and all the other states and territories to come, remember who you are considering for the Democratic Party nomination. Do you want someone who wants to build this country back up, or do you want someone who actually advised a sitting president to lie under oath to congress because the rule of law doesn't apply to the president the way it does to everyone else?

Don't vote for the dissembler.
Choose the assembler, be part of the solution.
Vote for Barack Obama.

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