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It might be a problem

Posted By Jane Chastain On 09/28/1998 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

The most disturbing part of the Starr Report was a little item in the
account of the president’s first sexual encounter with Monica Lewinsky.
At some point during their first engagement, he tugged on the pink
intern pass hanging from her neck and said that “it might be a problem.”

It is the problem. At least it should be. Take away the perjury, the
obstruction of justice, the witness tampering and all the rest — the
fact that the President of the United States had sex with one of the
interns entrusted to the White House should be enough to get anyone
booted out of the Oval Office. Where is the moral outrage?

The Constitution says that a president can be impeached for “high
crimes and misdemeanors.” That was a term that came from English common
law which was widely understood to mean simply bad behavior. The
question that should be put to each elected representative is, “If sex
with an intern isn’t bad enough behavior to impeach a president, what
is?”

Instead of addressing this outrage head on, our esteemed
congressional leaders waited around, hoping that Ken Starr either would
hand them a Get Out of Jail Free card for the president or a smoking gun
that was proof positive that Bill Clinton had committed a felony. In
other words, proof positive that Bill Clinton had committed a serious
crime. The Speaker of the House actually wanted the equivalent of a
smoking gun, a bloody knife, and a stack of marked stolen cash. He
wanted proof positive that Clinton had committed a series of serious
crimes.

Well, I have news for our elected representatives. Sex with an intern
is a crime in the eyes of most parents and, if it isn’t against the law,
it ought to be. Congress makes the laws of our land. If it makes
Congress feel any better, it can pass one and make it retroactive, like
Clinton’s tax increase.

Too much has been made about the fact that Monica had passed her 21st
birthday when the affair began. Maturity comes at different ages for
different individuals. The fact that she was an intern means that she
was still under the protective care of her parents, however
irresponsible they may have been. At that point in her life, Monica had
never earned a living or provided for her own needs. A young woman is no
match for an older man, particularly a young woman with no strong father
figure at home.

Was Monica looking for a father figure? Was she looking for love,
career advancement, a good time, or as a popular Chinese tabloid, the
Guandong Writer suggested, was she a Russian spy sent to sexually
ensnare the president and destabilize U.S. politics? Mr. Clinton didn’t
know and he didn’t care, but he did know she was an intern and that
alone should be his ticket home to Arkansas.

Instead of addressing this issue, our leaders have put their moral
outrage on the shelf and, as a result, opened themselves up to charges
of being unfair and piling on. Now that’s what I call a real crime.


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