Topic: White Water

The 'Indispensable' Nation - Editorial

Detroit News
12/29/98 Editorial

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, declaring that America is "the indispensable nation," opined late last week that impeachment "might very readily destabilize the presidency." The influential New York Democrat thus appeared to join the ranks of those arguing in favor of compromise and censure.

   Sen. Moynihan is a voice always worth listening to, and his comments dealt an undeniable blow to those who believe a trial in the Senate is the best way to deal with the Clinton mess. But the senator's argument is less than convincing. It is not even terribly logical.

   Back in the days when the Free World seemed directly threatened by an aggressive, nuclear-armed foe, the United States indeed would have been an indispensable nation, at least in the sense Sen. Moynihan appears to mean. But the Cold War is over. And in any case, we don't remember hearing arguments then about the indispensability of American leadership or the stability of the presidency back in 1973-74 when Richard Nixon was being driven from office at the depths of the Cold War.

   The destabilization about which Sen. Moynihan warns also appears to be vastly overstated. If Bill Clinton were to be convicted and removed from office, Vice-President Al Gore would be immediately sworn into office, as Gerald Ford was after Mr. Nixon departed Washington. And in requiring that it take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict and remove a president, the Framers provided a safeguard against trivializing the impeachment process.

    Some defenders of the president, of course, have argued that perjury about a matter of sex doesn't constitute the sort of threat to the state that the Framers envisioned in specifying "high crimes and misdemeanors" as grounds for impeachment. But the Framers didn't specify that impeachable offenses had to threaten the state. Indeed, they deliberately removed the words "against the state" from their high crimes-and-misdemeanors formula in the Constitution.

   But even if that hadn't been the case, perjury of any sort is clearly an offense against the state. To believe otherwise requires that the federal courts no longer be considered a branch of government. Indeed, the truth-seeking function of the courts may be one of the most important functions in all of government. It not only ensures that justice will prevail between citizens, it ensures that government officials will remain accountable to the people.

   If the truth-seeking function of the courts were to be undermined, it can be argued, this would lead more quickly to destabilization of the constitutional order than an impeachment process specifically provided for in the Constitution.

   Legitimate questions can be raised about whether President Bill Clinton's alleged offenses warrant removal from office. That's a judgment call senators, including Sen. Moynihan, will have to make. They might conclude that impeachment by the House is censure enough. Once a president leaves office, after all, he can still be held accountable in the courts.

   But insofar as America is truly an indispensable nation, it is because of the example America sets for the rest of the world, not the "stability" of the presidency. And the rule of law is surely a very important part of that example.

Clear thoughts.

Posted by: machman (darklight@nandomail.com) *
12/29/98 05:34:53 PST

To: machman

Finnally someone has said what I have been thinking! The senatores comments made no sense to me.

The only thing desabilizing this presidency is the one who presently holds the office. Actually, the office is far more stable than it should be considering what this criminal has put it through.

Remove clinton from office and move on!

From: rebel (rot@wh.gov) *
12/29/98 05:42:45 PST

To: machman
No, perjury is NOT an offense against the state. It is an offense against the people to whom justice is denied. Leave it to Moynihan to think like the statist that he is.
From: heyduke (someone@ksc.nasa.gov) *
12/29/98 05:44:01 PST

To: machman
I may be wrong, but I thought I saw PM on Meet the Press earlier this year, and he said that perjury in a grand jury was an impeachable offense.
From: ImagineThat () *
12/29/98 05:47:15 PST

To: ImagineThat
You're right, he did. But now he says that it might be an impeachable offense, but he doesn't think so. I'm confused.
From: REBELYELL () *
12/29/98 05:54:46 PST

To: machman
All the Dems have one thing in common. They do not want to let Bill do to the party what Nixon did to the Republicans. Their methods of making demons of the other party would be lost. They think all Americans have forgotten the check bouncing, the stamp stealing, and using Congress like their own whore house. I did not forget but a lot of people have. They also have used Nixon in the press for years to try and make themselves look good. But their party is more important than the Constitution to them. The is pompous, selfish, and egotistical. This is what we are left with is a bunch of children who only think of themselves. Wake up America!
From: bmwcyle (bmwcyle@bigplanet.com) *
12/29/98 05:56:10 PST

To: ImagineThat
Senator's Moynihan and Trifficant WERE stable influences in the shakey impeached Clinton era..unfortunately, the dirt that rubs off from anyone associated with defending Clinton has stuck to them too. How many more will go down sticking up for this worthless excuse of a president?
From: spectre () *
12/29/98 05:57:16 PST

You're right, he did. But now he says that it might be an impeachable offense, but he doesn't think so. I'm confused.

Once you get to see what is in your FBI files, your logic and thinking skills suddenly don't work very well.
From: machman (darklight@nandomail.com) *
12/29/98 05:58:15 PST

To: machman
Yes, there are the files and then there are those who will sell themselves for personal gain...like the once admired former American hero, John Glenn.
From: spectre () *
12/29/98 06:01:27 PST

To: ImagineThat
Yes, he did.

What no one has mentioned is that it is highly likely that Moynihan is being blackmailed by the WH using his FBI file or some other source. I have always thought that Moynihan was gay, but it's never been publicly discussed. My guess would be that they are using it to pressure him to change his mind.

Censure is no solution for "...a crisis of the regime."
From: GEC () *
12/29/98 06:03:22 PST

I'm confused

I'm glad I'm not the only one. You would think that since he is not running again, that he would want to do the right thing and go out on a high note. Another article posted this morning has an accurate title imho -- Censure is Conscience Balm. But as I have read elsewhere on this forum, when someone trys to get a 'free ride', someone else pays.
From: ImagineThat () *
12/29/98 06:03:24 PST

To: ImagineThat
Moynihan did say that perjury was impeachable, and the President has been impeached. He didn't comment on whether he considered an impeachment for perjury to be grounds for removal. I think he should be given the benefit of the doubt.
From: Bismark (Bismark1@ix.netcom.com) *
12/29/98 07:00:11 PST

To: ImagineThat
Moynihan understands that the Republicans finally have their "Nixon" in Bill Clinton. To remove him from office would open a new era in American politics.
From: Mopsos () *
12/29/98 07:01:49 PST