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Only a few days after his inauguration, I find myself in rather stark disagreement with President Bush. He has let his staff know that he would prefer to overlook the vandalism of the White House, the looting of Air Force One, and the destruction of federal property by the juvenile delinquents Clinton assembled around him.

The bill to repair the damage to the White House is estimated to exceed $200,000. Some of these actions escalated beyond mere pranks into criminal mischief. Bush cannot allow that to happen with impunity on his watch. Those responsible should be identified and hauled into court, perhaps juvenile court.

It is easy to understand why Bush would like to put this disgusting episode behind him and “move forward.” He has an agenda, and this serves as a distraction. However, this degenerate attack on one of America’s most cherished institutions cries out for retribution. This is a time when Bush’s understanding of the importance of accountability must out-trump his goodhearted impulse to show compassion.

Close associates of the Clintons accompanied them on their farewell flight from Washington, D.C., to New York. They looted Air Force One of silverware, pillows, blankets, china, and everything else they could lift. These items should be retrieved. There is no justification for requiring taxpayers to pay the cost of refurbishing Air Force One.

President Bush needs to recognize that the lack of accountability has been a huge and corrosive problem over the past eight years. He has been presented with an extraordinary opportunity to assert that no one is above or beyond the law, that he will not turn his back on or countenance wrongdoing in high places. That is a message the people have been longing to hear — and deserve to hear.

On another front, the Clintons were up to their old tricks, studiously avoiding even the appearance of rightdoing. On the last day of his presidency, Clinton issued a pardon to Marc Rich, who is on the list of the Justice Department’s six most-wanted international fugitives. Rich fled the country in 1983 to escape charges that he committed 51 acts of conspiracy and racketeering, evaded $48 million in income taxes and was illegally involved in an oil scheme with Iran while that country was holding and torturing American hostages.

It is, of course, nothing but a coincidence that Rich’s ex-wife, Denise Rich, has visited the White House more than 100 times, donated more than $1.1 million to the Democrat Party since 1993, and presented gifts of expensive furniture for the Clintons’ new residences. Even the New York Times, friend and defender of Bill through foul and felonious times, called this pardon “indefensible” and “a shocking abuse of presidential power.”

Meanwhile, newly elected New York Sen. Hillary Clinton joined her husband to meet privately with representatives from the politically active New Square Hassidic community. A few weeks following this meeting, the president commuted the sentences of four New Square Hassidic men, currently in jail for stealing millions of dollars of federal funds.

It is, of course, nothing more than a coincidence that, while Hassidic communities are traditionally conservative, Hillary Clinton won the New Square Hassidic vote by a stunning margin of 1,400 to 12. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has called for a congressional investigation.

In the waning days of their presidency, the Clintons solicited and accepted gifts worth more than $190,000, which they took with them when they moved out of the White House. Referencing this mercenary attribute of the Clintons, The Washington Post editorially observed, “They have no capacity for embarrassment.”

The White House has been scrubbed clean. All the offices, including the Oval Office, have new carpeting and freshly painted walls. However, this is insufficient to rid the premises of the lingering presence of the Clintons, the ugly, intangible evidence of their having been there. It will take more than Lysol to get rid of the evil spirits which hang in the air, behind the walls, beneath the flooring, and in the sinks, as they usually do in houses and places where heinous acts have been committed.

Bush should assemble a team of holy men to do a spiritual sweep of the White House premises and perform such exorcisms as are required. I respectfully submit the name of Father William Kreigsmann, retired, to serve as task force leader of this holy hit squad. His righteous, commanding presence is known to have caused the most determined demons to flee in fear, never to return.

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