Politics & Policy

Dead Men Tell No Tales; Dear Ol’ Mom; New Feature; Release The Tape?; Shame On You Pleading The 25th


When you’re in the business of exposing a President who exposes himself you hear a lot of things that you still can’t believe are true. The email chatterbox circuit has been full of stories about all of the deaths “associated” with Bill Clinton. Now while I believe the President is a liar, a sexual predator and, in all likelihood, a criminal, I do not believe he is a murderer. There are those who do, and generally I put them in the crackpot category (to be more diplomatic perhaps we should call them “mistaken patriots”). I’m sure I’ll be hearing from them after they read today’s story from Knight Ridder (page A5 Washington Post). It says that the prison doctor charged with caring for James McDougal (former Clinton pal and Starr witness) could lose his job because of the circumstances surrounding McDougal’s death. . . .


There was some attractive blond lady on MSNBC’s “Watch It!” with Laura Ingraham and recent immigrant from the planet Vulcan James Warren (Bureau Chief of the Chicago Tribune). Seems she read the Goldberg files from Monday. . . .


Column of the week T.B.A.

So far George Will is slightly ahead in the race for most morally indignant column of the week. Michael Kelly and Maureen Dowd are close behind. . .


I have to admit I don’t think the House should release the videotaped deposition of Clinton to the public yet. It’s a tough call. But I’ve been persuaded that House is being irresponsible in its handling of the Starr Report. By letting it pass through their fingers without considering it themselves the House keeps its imprimatur off of it. They want Starr to remain the lightning rod for any embarrassment rather than be grown-ups and handle this mess themselves as the Constitution requires. There is more than enough to justify hearings. Let the tape come out when the nation must decide about impeachment, not when the House wants to duck the responsibility of calling for hearings.


Noted scholar and Harvard Professor, Orlando Patterson, in yesterday’s New York Times: “One reason African-Americans have so steadfastly stood by the President, in spite of his having done so little for them, is that their history has been one long violation of their privacy.”

Mr. Patterson equates the assault on Mr. Clinton with Jim Crow, slavery, segregation, etc. This should have resulted in as much outrage as the various comparisons of Ken Starr to a Nazi. Bill Clinton has not been prejudged. He has not been selected for investigation on the basis of some benign characteristic. He has not been unfairly accused. Mr. Patterson clouds our moral clarity about the evils of racism when he equates our quasi-pederast President with Rosa Parks.


With every lawyer and constitutional scholar in the country clawing like a dying man in the desert for a drop of new analysis in this scandal, it took Charles McCarry in today’s Wall Street Journal to come up with the most fascinating and unreported scenario. The 25th Amendment which provides for the removal of the President has an interesting clause in Section 4: Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Mr. McCarry points out that the cabinet would be unlikely to remove the President. But Congress can ask somebody else for their opinion. He suggests the three healthy ex-Presidents. Congress could pick them, or the Supreme Court, or the all of the Judges on the Federal Bench, or the combined State Legislatures, or the Spice Girls for that matter. As the dread over impeachment hearings builds, expect this scenario to played up more and more by the pundits et al. It may not happen but it will be more and more apealing to find some quasi-democratic and at the same time “non-partisan” solution. You heard it here first, or rather second.


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