A tawdry end to a tawdry tale
No fiction writer could conceive the nature and the timing of the Jesse Jackson Scandal. The revelation of the Reverend’s love-child and his attempts to hide his infidelity put a fitting exclamation point to the tawdry tale that has been the story of the Clinton Administration.
Many wanted to believe Bill Clinton when he claimed he would preside over “the most ethical administration in American history.” Many praised the Rev. Jesse Jackson when he rushed to Clinton’s side to give him spiritual guidance and counseling as the Monica Lewinsky Scandal broke.
But the Oval Office photograph of Rev. Jackson standing next to his pregnant mistress as Jackson poses with the man who betrayed his marriage vows with a White House intern must rank as the signature photo of the Clinton years. Check that. Maybe the photo of a terrified little boy being snatched by Janet Reno’s Darth Vader-like storm trooper from the arms of loving relatives in a pre-dawn raid of a private home is equally indicative of the Clinton years.
Or, maybe it is the image of 74 children and adults being incinerated by federal agents near Waco. Or, maybe it is the image of Clinton’s pick for CIA director trying to explain how all those highly-classified documents and all that internet porn got on his insecure home computer. Or, maybe it is Bill Clinton copping a plea and accepting effective disbarrment. So many alarming images, so little space.
But now it is time to move forward in the hope that decent men and women following whom we hope is a more decent President, both in public and private, will lead us into an honorable future. Yet, the Clinton stain lingers on.
If you have the stomach for it, watch as C-SPAN reveals Senator Ted Kennedy, along with Democratic Senators Biden, Durbin, Feinstein and Schumer, make fools of themselves as they are trying, and failing, to create the illusion that U.S. Attorney General nominee, John Ashcroft, is a racist, gun-nut. Mr. Ashcroft is only “guilty” of being a man of honor and integrity -- something a married man who left a young girl to drown off Martha’s Vineyard may not understand.
If there is anything to be learned from the Clinton years, it is this: there is a direct connection between private behavior and the conduct of high office. Character does count. Fortunately, only on a few occasions during 20 years of military service, did I hear it said: “I don’t care what he does after hours, it’s what he does on duty that counts.”
Wrong. That might be so if the person in question is flipping hamburgers or delivering pizza. But when an officer or non-commissioned officer or the commander-in-chief is given life and death responsibility over those under them, then, in my judgment, the totality of how they live their lives is very important. It should have a bearing on their fitness to serve and whether or not they should be given higher responsibilities.
That is why it is fit and proper for the U.S. Senate to examine cabinet nominees and other high-level appointees who must receive Senate confirmation. Actually, the unintended consequence of the vicious attacks by Senators Kennedy and his fellow hypocrites is that the C-SPAN audience is able to see that John Ashcroft is a more decent and honorable person than his attackers.
Finally, here’s a story that puts the exclamation point on an earlier column about liberal media bias: Recall, how The Washington Post, in a front-page story, trumpeted that it was sending reporters to Florida to “recount” ballots? Now, their recounts are complete and George W. Bush still won. Yet, only after The Palm Beach Post and The Washington Times broke the story did The Washington Post finally give in and report that George W. Bush is still the winner. But The Washington Post buried the results of its own “recount” on page four.
William Hamilton is a nationally syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today.