Rep. Dan Burton's recent characterization of President Clinton as a "scumbag" was wrong. The reason is, it's imprecise. And imprecision denies others the "mile in our shoes" necessary to reach such a disheartening conclusion.
There are more accurate characterizations of the president's behavior. We could start with "liar." A federal court has already ruled that Hillary Clinton and other high-level officials lied in a deliberate attempt to deceive the American public about their efforts to socialize our health-care system, and in the process criminalize private health care. Mrs. Clinton and Ira Magaziner, a senior Clinton aide, then lied in court to cover up their illegal activities. U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth wrote: Most shocking to this court and deeply disappointing, is that the Department of Justice would participate in such conduct ... this type of conduct is reprehensible and the government must be held to account for it. Judge Lamberth awarded the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, the group that brought the lawsuit, $285,000. The president is responsible for the behavior of his underlings. He recently stated, "I am quite confident that Mr. Magaziner acted appropriately ... he is and will remain a valued member of my administration."
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We won't rehash the president's sexual encounters. "60 Minutes" sold us a happily married couple, reconciled after a brief affair. What we got were two people who have deceived us from the beginning about the state of their marriage and condition of their lives. They have continued this pattern of deceit -- public and private -- ever since. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, they have lied and denied to the public, the media, and the courts, regardless of the charge. The president has used the Secret Service police to facilitate his adulterous encounters in the White House. He then encouraged the participants to lie to attorneys and FBI agents investigating his activities, to assist him in a cover-up.
Mr. Clinton continues to use the power and prestige of his office to attack and demean those women who have sought to expose his crude advances to the light of day. An army of private investigators and attorneys stand against these women -- operating out of the White House, on behalf of the American people. Such activities are despicable enough, but Mr. Clinton was not finished subverting the system: he paid for his sexual gratification -- and the participants' silence, once they learned what they really were to him -- with public dollars by arranging government jobs.
Let's not forget bribery and extortion: Some 1,400 confidential FBI files on political opponents and news reporters were handed over to the administration by Director Louis Freeh. These contained information gleaned by agents from personal and confidential interviews for the purpose of assessing interviewees' suitability for White House access. These investigations are not about traffic tickets or public criminal records: They contain the most personal and potentially embarrassing activities and family secrets. Adultery. Homosexual children or siblings. Etc. They are overwhelmingly hearsay. These files were one of the administration's first acquisitions upon coming to power. They are one of the major reasons it remains in power.
Treasonous is another valid description of our president's behavior. The American Heritage Dictionary defines treason as, "Violation of allegiance toward one's sovereign or country ... consciously and purposely acting to aid its enemies (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981)." The word originates from the Medieval Latin "traditio," or a handing over.
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Many Americans seem unconcerned that President Clinton has handed over U.S. computer, telecommunications, and military technology to China, in return for campaign contributions and money-laundering that enriched the Democratic Party. Perhaps they forget that America nearly went to war with China during both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. China is fast becoming Asia's Superpower. China has stated its intention to "unify" Taiwan with the mainland. The U.S. went to war in the Mideast when Iraq sought to "unify" with Kuwait. Oil fields are also at issue between China, Taiwan, and Japan in the Diaoyu Islands. Perhaps when America's sons and daughters are called upon to shed their blood to recover what Mr. Clinton has so cavalierly sold, memories will improve.