Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

lest we forget

By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 19, 2008

Today, comrades, is a bittersweet anniversary. 'Twas ten years ago that the House of Representatives impeached President William Jefferson Clinton of perjury before a grand jury (by a 228-206 vote) and obstruction of justice (by a 221-212 vote).  

Readers who followed the Clinton follies will remember the weird optic the President's allies applied to the Starr Report (the conclusions of the investigation conducted by the Office of the Independent Counsel).  It was the Clintonites who kept media attention focused on the presidential sex so as to distract public interest from the presidential lies.   By talking up his sexual iniquities and downplaying the mendacity he used to evade responsibility for them, Clinton's supporters succeeded in portraying the prosecutors as theocrats out to enforce a sectarian sexual morality.  Judge Robert Bork demolished the claim with irreducible succinctness:

Sex is not the gravamen of [the Starr Report] but merely the predicate for the cover-up allegations. If a man was charged with lying about a break-in and inducing others to lie, you might, if you were brainless, say the whole thing was just about a "third-rate burglary" and therefore not grounds for impeachment. To prove the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, a prosecutor would have to prove the burglary, just as Starr, to prove his charges, had to establish the sex. 

As it happened, the GOP senators funked their duty, allowing Clinton to be acquitted on both counts and helping turn the charge of perjury into the juridical joke that it is today. The consequences are painfully evident in our public life.  It comes as no surprise that the creatrix of the "vast right wing conspiracy" -- that conspiracy which, by a fluke, maliciously guessed the President's misbehavior eight months before he confessed to it -- will soon be the principal communicator of our nation's good faith to the rest of the world. 

For a brief shining moment, though, it might have been otherwise.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($26,830 to go):
$150,000.00 $123,169.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Denial of Service Attack: Success! 17 hours ago
Federal debt as a social-justice concern 20 hours ago
Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle December 18
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed December 18
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? December 18

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17