There was bad news this week from an unexpected quarter in the wake of
President Clinton’s State of the Union Address. Pat Robertson has lent his
voice to those who are eagerly counseling moral conservatives to despair of
convicting Bill Clinton. Calling the State of the Union “a home run,”
Robertson said that “From a public relations standpoint, he has won. They
might as well dismiss this impeachment hearing and get on with something
else, because it is over as far as I am concerned.”
These remarks show a decided lack of judgment and leadership. The speech was
not a home run; it was a bin of socialist garbage. It was delivered in his
usual plodding and pedestrian way, and was aimed chiefly at buying off every
core constituency Bill Clinton has. Bill Clinton is not a good speaker — he
is unfocused, vapid, and rarely gets to the point. Praising his speaking
ability is like praising the speaking ability of a used-car huckster.
Nor is the fact that Clinton stood before the American people and offered the
usual Santa Claus garbage something that a solid moral conservative leader
should regard as a home run. Clinton did exactly what anybody in his right
mind would have expected him to do, once Congress handed him the opportunity to prejudice the environment — he sought to bribe everybody. And he is using our money to bribe us, of course, pointing us down the path to renewed government expansion and control.
It was an awful speech, because speeches must be judged from the point of
view of truth. In terms of the policies offered, or of the man presenting it,
there wasn’t a truth in Tuesday’s much-praised State of the Union
So why should this bad speech bring the question of the impeachment trial to
That the Senate and the House allowed him to appear before the tribunal and
present this one-sided junk does deeply impair the integrity of the
impeachment process. It was a biased, partial moment. In order to recover
from this moment, the Senate must call witnesses and give us every opportunity to examine the facts in question in the cold light of truth.
Without the opportunity for witnesses, no trial has taken place. The fact
that they allowed Bill Clinton to appear before the Congress to give State of
the Union message already seriously impairs the fairness of the trial. If
the Senate follows this up with a vote for summary dismissal or denial of
witnesses, they will destroy the integrity of that process.
And by doing so, they will destroy the integrity of the Constitution. I hope
that the Senators who are taking responsibility for these decisions
understand what they are doing. Back in 1973, Mrs. Clinton characterized
impeachable offenses as, among other things, those that tend to discourage
allegiance to the country and the Constitution. And unhappily, this is what
many of our leaders are doing right now. They are behaving in ways that lend deep credence to the most cynical views of what American life and politics are about. And by doing this they undermine allegiance to the Constitution and to our way of life — directly contrary to their oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. The members of the Court of Impeachment must proceed in this matter with the fairness that their oaths require.
Pat Robertson should have realized that the days after the speech Tuesday
night were a critical time for the morale of moral conservatives. It should
have been obvious to him going in that the bad guys were going to do
everything in their power to turn the State of the Union address into a
weapon to rout the forces of decent conservatives in America. Robertson’s
remark came at the moment when it could do absolutely the most harm, and he should have known better.
The question on the mind of a moral conservative leader right now should be
how to prevent moral conservatives from giving up hope, because despair is
the only thing that is sure to defeat us. We were told in the wake of last
year’s State of the Union that its “success” had ended the Lewinsky scandal.
And we were told the same thing about the possibility of an impeachment vote
in the House after the elections in November.
What turned it around in the end both times was that truth kept marching
along, and that the grass roots people of this country woke up at the right
moment and let their voice and influence be felt, cutting through all the
lies, the phony polls, and the garbage in the propaganda media.
This moment has not yet come in the impeachment trial — but it will, and we
must be ready. These opening presentations are like two sides lining up for
battle — much as the Israelites and Philistines did. The Clintonite
Philistines are banging their swords this week, and the State of the Union
address was a pretty big bang. Judging from Rev. Robertson’s remarks, some
of the Israelites are feeling rather small and insignificant — and beginning
to lose heart. They don’t appear to want to go into battle. And General
Robertson has chosen this moment to say, in effect, “Okay, everybody, it’s
all over. Everybody run!”
We cannot proclaim surrender before the critical issues are joined. If moral
conservative leaders had spoken this way after the election, Bill Clinton
would never have been impeached. Instead, we worked hard to promote pressure
on the Congress at the critical moments, and impeachment was achieved.
Should moral conservatives despair? Whatever one might think of the chances
of victory in the Senate, if we give up now, we will encourage the temptation
to take the same path on every issue where the liberal machine sets things up
as they have with Bill Clinton. On many other issues, such as homosexual
marriage, abortion, and many others, the same temptation to despair is
drummed home every day by the degenerate propaganda media. And so if we
accept that “they” decide these matters, then our capacity to mount a serious
effort to handle the country’s moral crisis will be over. But “they” don’t
decide these things. To speak as if “they” do, and as if we may therefore
give up our fight, is to encourage irresponsibility among moral conservatives
around the country.
We are responsible. We have a critical role to play. If we play that role,
there is hope. If we do not play that role, then surely the situation is
without hope. I believe that we are intended to play that role not in
reliance on our own judgment and power, but simply in faithful reliance on
God’s word and on His truth. There is no reason, ever, to abandon the cause
Pat Robertson later issued a statement saying that he was not advocating
dismissal of the case against Clinton, but merely “commenting on what I
saw.” This is not an adequate explanation. He knows that he is in a
position of national leadership, and he cannot simply say that because he was
merely giving an “analysis.” He should have anticipated that his statement
would be used to demoralize all the forces that look to him for opinion and
encouragement, and to have a devastating impact on a process desperately
needed by the country if we are to reach the truth. He is responsible for
A key job of leaders, military and otherwise, is to anticipate the moment of
greatest temptation to defeat in those under your leadership, and to be ready
with the key word of encouragement and exhortation that will restore hope and
energy. In such moments, real leaders do not offer “commentary” about the
inevitable defeat that their troops face. To do so is a decided failure of
leadership and judgment.
In this case, Robertson is simply wrong as well about the situation we face
in the Senate. Barring this kind of demoralizing, premature and pre-emptive
capitulation, the situation is actually that the Republicans stated their
case and convinced many people that it was a good one. Now lawyers are
making their case on Clinton’s behalf and thereby convincing many people that
witnesses will be absolutely necessary. The President has taken advantage of
a platform that the Congress should not honorably have given him, consistent
with their oaths and positions, and predictably used that platform to bribe,
cajole, and otherwise mislead. This has had a certain impact, magnified by
the lying, degenerate propaganda media.
This is standard procedure in America these days. And if moral conservatives
are going to allow themselves to be misled and discouraged by that procedure,
then we are indeed going to lose totally and we have no hope at all in any
attempt in the political arena.
But I don’t believe that is true, and we have already proven that it is not.
The same scenario was played out in November after the election. It was the
confidence, courage and unswerving faith — not in Clinton, and not in this or
that human leader, but in God — that led many people to say “No, we will not
give up on the truth.”
I won’t take my cue from Pat Robertson on this. I’ll take it from the truth,
and from the responsibility that we all have to our children for the future
of this country. Winston Churchill didn’t stand up in 1940 and say “Well, as
a commentator, it seems to me that we might as well give up.” Rather, he
strove with everything he had to rouse the moral reserve in Britain and
America that was finally the key to victory. I believe that we must appeal
now to the moral reserve in America.
We have such a moral reserve in America, despite the lying polls that attempt
to convince us otherwise. And I think that moral reserve will come forward,
in God’s time, if we remain faithful to the truth.
End the trial? Not by any means, and certainly not because of this lousy