CLEARING OFF MY DESK
I’m running out the door, and this Senate thing (we once called it a trial) looks like it could implode any second. So I’m just going to clear off a few items from my desk.
THIS IS NOT REVERSING AN ELECTION
Most of the quotes we hear from the Clinton defense about how the Founders thought the removal of a president to be so grave a step that nothing short of murder or the wholesale fencing of government office supplies would warrant such an action is misleading tripe. Yes, the Founders believed all that. But the Founders were also working under the assumption that the vice-president would be the man who had received the second most votes for president in the previous election. Now that would really be reversing an election. The president, in the Founders’ view (including the over-quoted author of Federalist 65) thought that impeachment, conviction, and removal of the president could result in the transfer of power from, say, an abolitionist to a pro-slavery administration. That would be overturning the decision of the American people. But ever since the Twelfth Amendment, the president and the vice president are on the same ticket. They run on the same platform. In 1992 and 1996 Bill Clinton dragged Al Gore around the United States the way a cat brings you a dead bird, “Gee look what I got for you!” There is no reversal, no overturning, of the national will — assuming of course the American people are not sheep and that they voted for policies not personalities (but that’s a different argument).
BETTY CURRIE WAS ALWAYS A WITNESS
When Linda Tripp told me about this whole affair over a year ago — she was sitting on the very couch that I have been watching the impeachment from — she explained to me that there was this black lady who was always kept around for Bill’s visits so he could say they were never alone. This was a story he built into the affair in anticipation of ever getting caught. Whether Currie is corrupt, a dupe, or a victim I don’t know. But she clearly likes the president.
I have a couple of minor questions, like how come she all of sudden bought a real nice beach house last summer and nobody looked into it. And why doesn’t CNN run the footage of her giving Clinton a big hug the day he was impeached? I saw it. Clinton came in right after the pep rally and hugged Betty Currie. Someone came up to her and said, you know you’re on camera, or at least that’s what Bernard Shaw suspected. She then fled out of view. But she did give him a big hug. If she is in fact the crucial witness, it seems to me that clip would be edifying.
MONICA HAS BEEN GOTTEN TO
The “perp walk” through the Mayflower Hotel last Saturday was deliberate. It was to heighten the sense that “Oh no, this thing is going to go on forever.” Monica has been dodging the press for months. There was no other reason for that spectacle than either A) she wanted the attention, B) the White House wanted the attention. These may be differences without a distinction. Remember, I still think Monica lied about the talking points.
THIS WILL NOT BE REMEMBERED AS A MESS BY “PARTISAN REPUBLICANS”
If I grab the ball and run off the field saying, “If I can’t play no one can!” I can’t then go blame the team that’s stayed on the field for not cooperating with me. It seems entirely plausible that the Democratic party’s steadfast refusal to take the charges against the president seriously and its wholesale acceptance of his agenda of lies will be viewed as more partisan than the Republicans ill-fated flight of principle against the polls.
TOM HARKIN IS A BUFFOON
If you didn’t see his press conference yesterday about the tragedy of not allowing cameras in the Senate for deliberations, you missed a real hoot. Here’s the guy leading the charge against witnesses — we know all we need to know, after all. But he thinks the Senate’s denial of the American people’s right to see him pontificate is a near criminal denial of our need to know. So not hearing the same old arguments is a tragedy of epic proportions, but not hearing witnesses who might actually settle this thing is essential to getting the country moving. I don’t get it.