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Last week the Democrats screamed bloody murder when the Republicans aired certain regional campaign ads that alluded to Bill Clinton’s character problems. They said that the Republicans were trying to inject sexgate into the congressional races because they are a party bankrupt of substantive ideas to sell voters.
Did the Republicans accuse the Democrats of idea-deficiency on any of the multitudinous occasions when they morphed into Newt whichever hapless Republican they chose for instant and complete demonization? Did the Republicans cry foul even this weekend as Democrats accused Newt of orchestrating these Clinton-related ads? Twice on ABC’s “This Week” Congressman Frost attributed the ads to the very personification of evil, Speaker Gingrich. Each time, Congressman Linder denied the charge and said that Newt, when consulted about the matter, merely said, “Do what you think is right.” Not once following these spurious allegations did Linder suggest that they were motivated by the Democrats’ dearth of campaign policy issues.
Given the public’s revulsion to negative campaigning, it is hardly surprising that Democrats are trying to so characterize these ads. So let’s consider the propriety of running them. In the first place, the ads were about as innocuous as they possibly could have been in attempting to tie particular candidates to the scandal-ridden president. They primarily brought into focus Bill Clinton’s untrustworthiness by, for example, using tapes of his duplicitousness about the budget and silent video of the finger-wagging incident. There was no name-calling, but more importantly no scintilla of falsity. The ads merely used Clinton’s own words and conduct against him and his Democratic candidates. So let’s put to rest the notion that the ads were dirty or below the belt in any way. That simply is not the case. These ads were not the type generally considered dirty-campaigning. Those usually involve such things as skeletons in the candidate’s closet and the like. The references to Clinton were hardly skeletons in his closet. These matters about the president are common knowledge and objectively true.
What the Democrats are saying is that it is unfair and improper to make this character-challenged president an issue in the campaign of any congressman in his party who, if elected, is overwhelmingly likely, for partisan reasons, to protect him in the impeachment proceedings. But the Democratic Party and its congressional members, by failing to repudiate Bill Clinton and acting in concert with the White House to impede the impeachment process through vicious attacks on Ken Starr and other diversionary tactics, have themselves made Bill Clinton a relevant issue in all congressional campaigns.
Isn’t it fair and extremely relevant for the voters to know whether their congressional candidates will blindly support Bill Clinton irrespective of the evidence of his wrongdoing? By arguing that Clinton’s conduct is irrelevant, they have made themselves accessories after the fact in his misconduct and have institutionalized themselves as the party of lawlessness. If they want to continue to maintain the preposterous and reckless position that perjury and obstruction of justice by the chief executive officer of this country are not sufficiently serious misconduct to warrant impeachment, then they are drawing a moral line in this nation’s electoral sand of which the electorate must be made aware and given an alternative choice.
And concerning the ostensible absence of “real” issues to campaign on, how about looking at this from the opposite perspective. Instead of categorically indicting the Republicans for unapologetically insisting that character, moral and constitutional issues are of grave and substantive importance, let’s inquire into the Democrats’ motivation for maintaining the opposite. What could possibly impel Democrats to be so hard-hearted to this abject poverty of values demonstrated by the Clinton administration that they won’t condemn it? What could lead them to be so cynical about the rule of law of the United States? Isn’t it their judiciary, their constitution and their country, too, that are being debased? If their ideas are so preeminent shouldn’t they just concede Clinton’s wrongdoing and, along with the Republicans, demand his accountability for it? Won’t the superiority of their policies allow them to transcend this one-man scandal? What are they so afraid of that they desperately cling to this moral-Titanic of a president like he was their life raft? Could it be that behind all their cacophonous protesting lurks a morbid fear that it is their policies, when not disguised by demagogic rhetoric nor packaged in the vocabulary of class warfare, that will no longer pass muster with the American people?