Why are many of us so outraged over Bill Clinton’s illegal bodily seizure of Elian Gonzalez? He’s grossly abused his power before. He’s twisted and broken the law before. He’s misused the Justice Department countless times before.
Why aren’t we numb by now? What distinguishes this act so much that we can’t let it go?
I believe this Elian issue — the whole thing, not just the raid — crystallizes for us all that is repugnant about Bill Clinton and his sordid administration. It is the culmination of seven long years of corruption.
Our chief complaint is not that he has committed crimes while serving as chief law enforcement officer of the nation or even that he has been the most corrupt president in history. The nation is resilient enough to endure and survive his criminal acts.
But he’s done much more than break the laws. He has also distorted the law and subverted the Constitution to save his skin and serve his political ends. And in the process, he has corrupted everything and everyone around him.
He broke numerous campaign finance laws, then proposed new laws to create a diversion from his crimes. He refused to enforce existing gun laws but then called for more laws that would do nothing to prevent the violence he decries.
Far more damaging than his impeachment crimes were:
- His enlistment of law professors to contort the plain meaning of the Constitution as to what constitutes an impeachable offense, significantly raising the bar of misconduct and establishing the odious precedent that the president is above the law
- His surreal public and grand jury denials that his lies weren’t lies because sex isn’t sex and is isn’t is
- His defamation and demonization of his accusers and political opponents
- His persuasion of fellow Democrats that it was worth dishonoring the nation to prevent any political benefit that may accrue to Republicans in the event of his removal from office
While most of us regard the Constitution and the law as sacred institutions, as foundations to ordered liberty, Bill Clinton views them as convenient instruments for political manipulation. And this couldn’t be more clear in the case of Elian Gonzalez.
When the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals refused his request to transfer custody of Elian to his putative father he publicly misrepresented the Court’s ruling. Then he fabricated a false affidavit to procure an illegal search warrant to justify an illegal and violent raid on someone’s home. Then, after further corrupting the Justice Department and the federal officers assigned to do his dirty work, he audaciously claimed that he did it not to break the law, but to uphold it.
Bill Clinton has bequeathed us a corruption so pervasive and contagious that it has tainted an entire party — an entire political ideology. Has it ever occurred to Democrats to ask themselves what precisely is the limit of corruption they will tolerate from Clinton and his administration? The fact that only a handful of liberals have denounced Clinton’s obliteration of the Fourth Amendment is proof positive that he has corrupted them beyond recognition. Say what you will about liberals, but before their Clintonization most of them were Fourth Amendment hawks. No longer, because our right to be secure in our own homes had to be subordinated to Clinton’s nefarious purposes. It is just one more in the long list of our freedoms that have been sacrificed in the outworking of Bill Clinton’s dubious legacy.
The Miami raid represents the unbridled abuse of presidential power accelerated to a terrifying crescendo. It is emblematic of an America that has fundamentally changed while under the stewardship of an unrestrained, unaccountable adolescent leader. It symbolizes the death of the rule of law inflicted by the law itself — the Chief Executive and his dutiful enforcers. Clinton has even made flag-wavers ashamed of America.
But I refuse to end on a negative note. On the positive side, Elian will forever remind us of what is at stake as we fight over the future direction of this country. Let not Clinton’s despicable sacrifice of Elian be in vain. Let it serve to reinvigorate patriots to redouble their commitment to resurrecting the principles and values that form the underpinnings of this Republic.