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Then and now
Posted By Joseph Farah On 08/27/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
For starters, let me state that in 1974, as a 20-year-old college
student, I was an enthusiastic supporter of the move to impeach President
Richard M. Nixon. In fact, the Washington Post’s Watergate investigative
reporting team of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein inspired me to become a
I still believe Nixon got off too easily with a simple resignation.
Despite attempts to rehabilitate his legacy, he was a crook and a rotten
What’s the relevance of this personal history? I lay it out there
briefly and succinctly because I am sickened by the double-standard being
used by President Clinton and his embattled defenders today. What’s good
for the goose ought to be good for the gander.
Let’s start with Clinton himself. Here’s what he, as a law professor and
congressional candidate, was saying in August 1974: “No question that an
admission of making false statements to government officials and
interfering with the FBI is an impeachable offense.”
Hmmmm. Making false statements to government officials is an impeachable
offense. Wouldn’t you like to hear him asked at the next presidential press
conference if he still believes that?
Clinton also said repeatedly during that campaign that he believed Nixon
should resign rather than put the country through the agony of an
impeachment process. Clinton has told the nation he would never resign.
And, for once, I believe him.
Then let’s see what Clinton’s No. 1 defender, Hillary, was saying and
doing in 1974. She served on the staff of the Nixon impeachment inquiry.
She and her colleagues concluded in their report, based on historical
research, that it was not necessary to prove that statutory crimes had been
violated. Though we keep hearing about “high crimes and misdemeanors,”
Hillary and her team pointed out correctly that the founders never intended
that to mean “criminal offenses.”
The report also found specific instances in which impeachment had been
employed in American history to remove public officials who had “seriously
undermined public confidence” through their “course of conduct.” That was
the standard under which Hillary wanted Nixon judged.
“Impeachment is the first step in a remedial process” to correct
“serious offenses” that “subvert” our government and “undermine the
integrity of office,” she and her colleagues wrote. The first step, not the
Next, let’s roll out one of the principal defend-Clinton-at-any-cost
members of the House — Rep. John Conyers, D-MI. Anyone who witnessed his
performance on “Meet the Press” last Sunday would have to give him high
marks for his enthusiasm, as he blamed the whole controversy over Clinton’s
admitted misbehavior on Kenneth Starr the Inquisitor.
Back in 1974, Conyers was equally zealous. But, then, curiously, he was
on the other side of the fence. While House Judiciary Committee Chairman
Peter Rodino was urging what Time magazine called “the Democratic
firebrands” to stop calling for impeachment before the evidence was
analyzed, Conyers made the following remark: “I just want to make sure he’s
not too damn fair.”
All this having been said, there’s one more key to blind partisanship of
the current debate. Clinton’s crimes — and I use that term advisedly –
are much more serious and threatening to the future of our free republic
than anything Nixon every contemplated.
Imagine Nixon caught in the act in the Oval Office with a White House
intern. Forget the cigars. Can you fathom Bill, Hillary, Conyers, Lanny
Davis or James Carville dismissing it as consensual sex or a private
And put aside the sex stuff, altogether. Nixon aide Charles Colson went
to jail for possession of one, count ‘em, one FBI file. Starr the
Inquisitor has let the entire Clinton administration off the hook for
misusing at least 900, and probably closer to 2,000, dossiers on his
enemies. Nixon went to China. Clinton sold out the country to China.
No matter what you think of Watergate, there were no corpses associated
with it. Yet, this administration has failed to explain the deaths of two
key officials, not to mention a long list of other mysterious deaths.
There’s one more Clinton scandal that I take very personally. His
political abuse of the Internal Revenue Service. Oh, yeah, I know. Nixon
tried to use the agency against his enemies. But he failed. Even noted
leftist Noam Chomsky had this to say: “Nixon’s enemies list was nothing. We
hear so much about it today. I was on Nixon’s enemies list. They never even
audited my taxes.”
As a proud and prominent member of Clinton’s enemies list, I wish I
could say I was so fortunate.
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