editorial -- December 19, 1998

The Disgrace of a President
It was a remarkable day on Capitol Hill, though you would hardly know it from the look of the Capitol grounds. Only a few hundred people bothered to take time from holiday activities to witness the historic events -- the surprise resignation of the Speaker of the House, and the second impeachment of a president in the history of the nation. With their numbers scattered across the broad lawn, the area was far less populated than on a typical tourist-oriented springtime afternoon.

Small groups of anti-Clinton demonstrators, overwhelmingly young and male, clashed with the larger, older, and heavily female groups of Clinton supporters. Reporters and cameramen, who made up the majority of the people on the lawn, jockeyed to position themselves for decent shots with the grand Capitol dome behind them. As members began to filter out of the chamber and down the steps of the House of Representatives, demonstrators alternately cheered and booed depending upon the impeachment votes of each congressman.

Two Capitol Police busses lined up to collect staunch Democrats for a White House meeting with President Clinton. As the busses moved toward Pennsylvania Avenue, Clinton supporters cheered in solidarity with the hollow show of support to be made by these congressmen. Their leader was now permanently disgraced, but their sense of outrage at the events that had transpired inspired them to continue.

In a way, the outrage of Clinton supporters is understandable. Their president has been given a raw deal since day one. Right-wingers wanting him out of office for any reason hounded him from the start. He had to suffer the demeaning consequences of overreaching sexual harassment laws. He was forced to lie to protect himself and his family from prosecutors' questions that were none of their business.

But the case of Clinton-supporters took an irrevocable turn for the worse on August 17, when Clinton was caught red-handed. Despite countless opportunities to end this wretched ordeal, the President has selfishly refused to resign and let the country move on. For this reason, if no other, Clinton deserved exactly what he received at the hands of the House of Representatives.

Clinton supporters continue to decry the way their president has been treated. They are right about the unfairness. But life is not fair, and he is not just their president. With every day he holds out, with every defiant tactic he employs, with every bomb he drops on Iraq, he lowers the depth of his disgrace.

Related Web Columns:
Pardoning "Schmucko"
Who Cares If the President is a Liar?
, January 17, 1998

Related Editorials:
We Don't Need You, Mr. President, September 15, 1998
Subpoena His Ass, August 17, 1998
Disemboweling Your Friends, March 18, 1998