President Clinton's latest antics with Congress and his most recent reflections on impeachment provide a perfect contrasting backdrop for showcasing George Bush's qualities as a leader who will restore decency, civility and accountability to the office of the presidency.
Clinton has threatened to veto the tax and spending bills Congress has just passed. This is so predictable. Ever since Clinton deceived the country into believing in 1995 that Newt, not Bill, shut the government down, he's had a club over Congress, especially during the final weeks of the sessions. This close to the election, Clinton has extra incentive to obstruct legislation, because it fits in with the Democratic strategy to paint the Republican Congress as do-nothing.
Why the veto? Because the bill lacks legislation to punish hate crimes, fails to fund the Justice Department's vendetta (my word, not Clinton's) against the tobacco industry, fails to grant amnesty to more than a million illegal immigrants and fails to require 6,000 schools to use federal funds for building modernization.
There is a clearly discernible pattern in Clinton's approach to governing and his policy proposals that reveals an extraordinary arrogance and egomania. Has anyone ever told him that he is in charge only of the executive branch and that we have 535 other elected officials who have something to say about legislating?
The same thing holds true with his policies. In case you forgot, the legislature has spoken emphatically and often about the tobacco issue. When Clinton couldn't impose his will on Congress he browbeat Janet Reno into reversing her opinion that the government had no legal standing to sue. She then unleashed the Justice Department to terrorize the industry into adopting the reforms Congress declined to require. Now she needs big money to fund her illegal lawsuit, and Congress is properly withholding it.
Clinton also wants to provide amnesty to over one million illegal immigrants who have entered this country. It's not hard to understand why Clinton can't grasp what this casual pen-stroke will do to the rule of law and to any deterrence our law provides against illegal immigration.
As for those 6,000 schools, Republicans insist on allowing local school districts the flexibility to decide for themselves how to spend the federal monies. Clinton and Gore want to dictate that these funds be spent on school construction and that prevailing wages, often union scale, be applied to the local projects -- which will significantly increase the construction costs, but will reward big labor.
Clinton's self-absorption is also revealed in his Esquire Magazine-reflections on the impeachment ordeal. As everyone surely knows by now, he lamented that the Republicans never apologized for the impeachment, and he compared his own plight to that of the slaves. He said the Republicans have "yet to come up with one example of official misconduct in office -- not one."
Only an accomplished sociopath could compare deserved consequences for bad behavior (impeachment) to undeserved punishment of the innocent (slavery). Only a scofflaw could flippantly diminish the abuses of power, the contempt of court, the felonious perjuries, subornations of perjury, obstruction of justice, lying to the American people -- and let's not even get into Chinagate -- as merely private wrongs.
It's too late for the national Democratic Party and Gore to disassociate themselves from Clinton; they made their beds, and Clinton was on the top bunk. Consider the fear-inciting phone calls by Ed Asner to seniors and the advertisement where James Byrd's daughter describes Bush's opposition to Hate Crimes legislation as "killing her father all over again."
They simply will not get out of the gutter. Gore is steeped in the character issue himself. Beyond his bouts with the truth, his previously fawning biographer has turned against him for putting politics above principle. It is unthinkable that as an incumbent during such prosperity he would be in jeopardy of losing his home state. Even Gore's fellow Tennesseans believe it's time to end the culture of corruption this band brought to Washington along with their nauseating theme song and their moralizing Hollywood sycophants.
Bush has promised to end divisiveness and usher in an atmosphere of unity and accountability. Even respected Texas Democrats enthusiastically endorse Dubya and say he'll put principle above partisanship. I'm all for healthy partisan competition, but Clinton and Gore have taken partisanship to a new, nasty and destructive level. They've made "accountability" an obsolete term. It's time to bring on the adults.