Bill Bennett’s latest piece in the Wall Street Journal eloquently
captures the disheartening realities surrounding Clinton’s smorgasbord
of scandals. He describes in unexpurgated terms, the current state of a
Democratic Party, that by its acquiescence, has adopted his behavior.
“It has become complicit in his lies; it now lives within his lies.” Or,
as Rush has stated, it has become the party of perjury and obstruction.
It would be nice if the Democratic leadership were the extent of
Clinton’s corrupting influence. Unfortunately, as Bennett explains, many
Americans have also embraced his behavior. Though polls show an
overwhelming majority of people believe he is guilty, almost as many
approve of his job performance and want him retained in office.
Another piece, by columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., analyzes the scandals
from a different perspective. Pitts seems to argue that people who seek
Clinton’s removal are really motivated by a desire to bring to justice
this arrogant rogue who has rubbed our nose in his misdeeds and has
managed to escape justice as often and effectively as the “wascally
wabbit” who eluded Elmer Fudd. He attempts to mollify his readers by
assuring them that regardless of his acquittal, Bill Clinton has been
and will continue to be punished by virtue of the permanent marring of
his most sought after prize: an honorable legacy.
Undoubtedly many of us will feel the profound emptiness of unquenched
justice when we first learn of the inevitable acquittal. But I dare say
this will not be the predominant emotion we experience.
We will also experience a sense of loss. That is because there is
more driving Clinton-pursuers than the inequity of his constitutional
unaccountability. In a graphic way, Bill Clinton has shown us that we
are currently losing the Culture War.
There is nothing unique about a scoundrel being elected to public
office, even the highest such office in the land — as much as the
framers sought to avoid it. Bill Clinton is not the first corrupt
president in our nation’s history, even if he is the most corrupt. But
there is something different about our society.
In Nixon’s case, the nation was able to clearly focus on his misdeeds
and distinguish right from wrong — and such distinctions mattered.
Though it didn’t happen immediately, the nation eventually overcame the
partisan struggles and unified in forcing him from office. Indeed a
Republican delegation ultimately convinced him to resign. Clinton
defenders erroneously point to this as evidence that Nixon’s guilt was
incomparably greater than Clinton’s. Rather, the Democrats’ and
society’s failure to bring Clinton to justice demonstrate that the
character of our society, of our culture, has radically changed.
Moreover, Clinton’s corruption is on a different order than that of
his predecessors. He has not merely beaten the system; he has changed
it. He has not only committed crimes; he has succeeded in confusing and
redefining those laws he has violated; in anesthetizing the nation into
a degenerate state of apathy about his felonious conduct. He has
undermined the very foundations of our civilization through manipulation
of the language, and the corruption of our system of laws and societal
More chilling is the fact that Clinton could not have pulled this off
in a purer society. But he has served as a catalyst to accelerate the
corruption of a culture teetering on the edge of debasement.
The founders envisioned the president as being a man of virtue
because they knew he would necessarily be the nation’s moral leader
whose example would serve as a model for citizens to aspire to and
Rush has noted that Ronald Reagan’s greatest gift to the nation was
making us feel good about ourselves, not in a delusional sense, but in a
substantive way firmly grounded in reality. He gave us a reason to have
hope; to look expectantly towards our future. As a humble, God-fearing
man he set a moral example by preaching an unambiguous message of moral
absolutes. For him there was good and evil; societal standards did not
float aimlessly in some amorphous gray area.
While liberalism sees itself as robust with vision, Bill Clinton, as
its standard bearer, ironically has sapped this nation of its idealism.
Instead of bringing out the best in us, as did Ronald Reagan, he has
tapped into our dark side to serve his ends.
For the first time in our nation’s history we are no longer
championing lofty principles; we are denigrating them in order to bring
them down to the level of our own burgeoning corruption.
Hopefully in the year 2000, we as a people will understand the
significance of the maxim that “character counts” and elect a president
who in addition to advocating the correct policy measures, will set an
example of genuine moral leadership in a society desperately, albeit
unwittingly, hungering for it.