Is there room for another article of impeachment?
In the last days before the impeachment vote, Clinton administration cronies have been phoning Republican Congressmen said to be undecided. They’ve been offering bribes for “No” votes, which illustrates why the whole bunch deserves the harshest possible treatment.
The Washington Post points out that Florida Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a
well-known fence sitter, received a call from a White House aide just as
votes were being tallied. The aide suggested that the Rep. come to the White House to discuss an issue important to him: disaster aid for Central
America. But then the subject turned to impeachment. The approach, reports
Diaz-Balart, was “not tactful.” At that point, the Congressman balked and
announced support for toppling Clinton from his throne.
Taxpayers, think hard about what this means. You work long hours for your
money. The government takes up to 40 percent in taxes. Then the administration, with your money to burn, dangles it in front of the representatives you voted for.
You would think the White House would be watching its Ps and Qs, perhaps
even be grave in its demeanor. Instead, the Clinton administration is using
your tax dollars in an unconstitutional effort to sway lawmakers on the eve
of an impeachment vote.
As the Post’s revealing story notes: “All across Washington and back in
home districts as well, members of Congress who remain undecided on impeachment have become subject to relentless lobbying campaigns. Their office phones are swamped by calls from Cabinet secretaries. …”
These “Cabinet secretaries” have far more to offer than copies of Leaves
of Grass. It’s cold, hard cash. So the public has the right to ask of any
Republican congressmen who votes against the articles of impeachment: How much were you paid? How much pork were you promised? How much did you vote cost the taxpayers?
Sure, there are precedents for such behavior. The White House has dragged
million-dollar bills around the Congressional trailer park before a variety
of important votes in recent years. Sometimes it worked (Nafta and budget
agreements) and sometimes it didn’t (Fast Track and UN funding). And to some degree, graft and bribery are at the heart of all government spending.
But at least in these cases, the White House could plead there was a principle at stake. Clinton could claim he really believed in hemispheric
trade blocs or some such. Only the naive would believe it, but the administration did allow itself some wiggle room to plead the public interest.
With this recent action, the mask is off. Apparently having given up the
idea that another weepy speech would do the trick, he decided to resort to
the oldest trick in the book: Assume all lawmakers are whores, and start
thumbing through a large pile of other people’s money.
This ploy speaks to a larger issue. One of the frustrations many people
feel with the impeachment process is that the corruption at the heart of
the present regime goes well beyond lies about a sexual tryst. The phrase
“abuse of power” sums it all up.
It’s a long list, and includes the assault on the Branch Davidians, the
raiding of the exchange stabilization fund to bail out Mexico and the New
York banks, the starvation of Iraq, the bombing of Sudan, the executive order abolishing federalism, the unending quid pro quos in campaign finance, and the regulatory attacks on financial privacy and the Second Amendment. Clinton’s attempt to buy his way out of impeachment should be seen as the capstone of a long, sordid affair.
But getting rid of Clinton removes only the most obvious problem. Clearly,
he is the role model for his minions throughout the executive branch. The
White House staff has conspired in the coverup, as have cabinet secretaries
and those appointed to serve under them. They are all Friends of Bill, and
they should not be allowed to escape that moniker and all that it now implies.
We have seen an impressive display of Congressional authority in recent
days. Congress needs to be reminded that its power to impeach can be wielded not only against the president, but also against his lackeys.
Congress need not be satisfied with shaving off the tip of the iceberg. We
need to jettison the entire regime. In that cause, the articles of impeachment should be as long as the administration’s long train of abuses.