Lessons Learned from Impeachment

by Doug Payton


After more than a year of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, and after a historic impeachment and trial, what can we come away from this with? What has the behavior of those involved showed us?


Item: Only five Democrats found it within themselves to break ranks and vote for the Articles of Impeachment in the House of Representatives, compared with scores of Republicans that did not feel compelled by party affiliation to vote for them.

Item: Senator Tom Harkin, just minutes after being sworn in by the Chief Justice to weigh all the evidence fairly and objectively, promptly pronounced Starr's case a "dung heap", even before it had been formally presented.

Item: Senator Robert Byrd said that he believed that Clinton was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, but said that he shouldn't be removed from office, even though that goes completely contrary to the Constitution.

Item: Other Democrats were also saying that they believed that Clinton lied under oath and/or obstructed justice, but every single one of them voted to acquit him on all charges.

Item: Democrats characterized Clinton's conduct with Lewinsky in harsh terms, and said those actions weren't impeachable. They spent their time mostly on this, rather than point out the fact that the actions he was impeached for were lying and obstructing justice, not for having a liaison with an intern.

Result: Virtually as a block, the Democrat Party has shown clearly that:


Item: While they were much freer to vote with their beliefs, most Republicans on most votes towed the party line. I agreed with the votes against the President, but the votes became predictable based on affiliation.

Item: Republicans have rejected censure resolutions in spite of their approval of impeachment, because the Constitution only proscribes impeachment and removal as the means to deal with a President in this situation.

Item: Removal of the President would have put the more liberal Al Gore in the Presidency, someone even less favorable to conservatives.

Result: The Republican Party has demonstrated that:

The Press

Item: Over and over, the press simply parroted back the phrase "Republicans are trying to overturn the last election" from Democrats in Congress or the administration. They never challenged this falsehood. It is false, because the results of the last election were that if Bill Clinton were removed from office, Al Gore would replace him. Gore was as much elected as Clinton was, so his succession to President would simply be another expression of the will of the people.

Item: The polls conducted all during the impeachment process asked many questions, but the press almost exclusively reported the President's approval ratings, which was a vague question at best, and could be attributed to many variables such as the economy, no major wars, etc. However, when asked if they trusted Clinton, or if he was a moral leader, his percentages went below 40 or 30 percent. The press used the results of the more vague question to point out that the people liked Clinton, but the specific questions showed that they didn't think much of him at all. Coincidentally, the week after the trial, U.S. News came out with polls that put Clinton's vague approval rating at 57% (not the 75+ quoted just days before the trial was over). Also, when asked specifically about the economic conditions in the country, only then does the number got to 76%. Compare that to their impression of Bill Clinton as a person (68% disapprove of him), and to their pick for President that set the lowest moral standard (Clinton 56%, Nixon 14%), and you begin to see the real picture.

Item: The Washington Post was giving the White House a heads-up on stories that they thought the administration would want to quickly respond to.

Result: If you didn't believe it before, the press has very obviously shown:

Sydney Blumenthal

Item: This administration advisor was smeared when Matt Drudge reported rumors that Blumenthal had beaten his wife in the past. Drudge retracted the story quickly, but Blumenthal sued him. As part of the suit, Blumenthal demanded that Drudge reveal his sources.

Item: Clinton told Blumenthal that Monica Lewinsky was stalking him. Promptly, the press started reporting that allegation, while Blumenthal denied publicly and in front of a grand jury that he did not spread that story.

Item: Reporter Chris Hitchens divulged after the impeachment trial that Blumenthal had, in fact, told him that Monica was a stalker. Liberals ignored Blumenthal's perjury and his smearing of Lewinsky, and instead attacked Hitchens for revealing his source.

Item: The attacks from Blumenthal and his backers in the press accuse Hitchens of being a Holocaust denier. According to a report on MSNBC, the Anti Defamation League doesn't think he is one, but that's not daunting Blumenthal's backers.

Result: Sydney has given us a couple of lessons in liberal tactics:

Return to "Consider This!"