Why do you suppose the framers were so insistent that only virtuous
men serve as president? To set a moral example for the nation? Oh yes,
but there's much more to it than that.
Before you Clintonoids wrongly assume I am waxing nostalgic for
impeachment and urge me "to move on," you should hear me out. Despite
the brilliant scheme of checks and balances incorporated into the
Constitution, the system is not foolproof against the devices of clever
and deceitful men.
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No, I'm not referring to "lying under oath about sex." I'm talking
about Clinton's other flagrant abuses of executive authority making
headlines this week. They all illustrate just how much damage one
Constitution-disrespecting president and his administration can do to
the cause of freedom in this country.
This week, President Clinton urged India to comply with the
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, which the Senate soundly rejected
last year, and the Kyoto (global warming) Treaty, which he hasn't even
submitted to the Senate for ratification because he knows he doesn't
have the votes. In utter disregard for the Senate's constitutional role
in these matters, Clinton presses forward with the unabashed arrogance
of a totalitarian dictator.
On the environmental front, the EPA has announced that it will not
allow certain California farmers to harvest timber on their own property
because it would violate new water-quality regulations governing a river
adjacent to their land. Never mind the devastating economic impact this
could have on landowners whose livelihood depends on their land use.
Never mind that the EPA lacks statutory authority under the Clean Water
Act to regulate such "non-point sources" of pollution.
On to tobacco. In an excellent article in the American Spectator,
Byron York chronicles the extensive efforts of the Clinton Justice
Department to bring Big Tobacco to its knees. In 1996, the federal
government refused to join states in their litigation against tobacco
companies, saying they had no legal authority do so.
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In the meantime, the states achieved an enormous settlement with
tobacco, whetting Clinton's appetite beyond containment. When he
couldn't convince Congress to intervene, he directed the
always-compliant Janet Reno to reverse her earlier decision declining to
involve the Justice Department. Never mind that there had been no change
in the law authorizing Justice to proceed against cigarette makers.
Clinton would not be deterred by that annoying nuisance of a document
known as the Constitution. He proceeded primarily under the Medical Care
Recovery Act, a narrowly defined statute allowing the federal government
to recoup medical expenses on behalf of military personnel injured by
civilians. Using a tortured interpretation, Clinton argued that the
statute allows the government to recover against tobacco companies the
medical costs expended on behalf of Medicare patients due to smoking.
York notes that "It's an interpretation of the law that strikes some
experts as almost breathtaking in its audacity." Stay tuned.
In another audacious move, Clinton's FDA tried to regulate tobacco as
a drug. Thankfully this week, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision,
slapped down the FDA's attempted usurpation of authority. The
ever-brazen Clinton was unfazed by the ruling, spinning it as a victory
because the Court recognized tobacco as "one of our most troubling
public health problems facing our nation today." He knows that Gore, if
elected, can rectify this constitutional obstacle by appointing activist
To top it all off, the administration this week bullied gun-maker
Smith & Wesson into adopting gun safety measures that Congress had so
far refused to legally mandate. In exchange, the company was released
from liability in lawsuits brought by more than 15 cities, the Federal
Housing Authority and other groups seeking to hold manufacturers legally
responsible for violence caused by their weapons. The lawsuit was never
about recovering money, but using the courts as a weapon to circumvent
the democratic will of Congress. Adding insult to injury, HUD Secretary
Andrew Cuomo has promised to use the economic coercion of the federal
government to force other recalcitrant gun manufacturers to get on
Without some modicum of honor being exhibited by our elected and
appointed officials, the Constitution is hardly worth the paper it is
written on. Without some respect for their proper constitutional roles,
we are all at the whim of their capricious abuses of authority.