IBD: How Low Can We Go?

Maher, Steve (SD-MS) SMAHER at GI.COM
Tue Feb 3 20:00:00 MST 1998


E D I T O R I A L S
How Low Can We Go?

Date: 2/4/98. Investors Business Daily

The economy's humming, so who cares if Clinton . . . ?
That's the argument we keep hearing. But who's going to
explain that over the past five years, our standards for
leadership in government have sunk to frightening lows?

Nearly two-thirds of Americans like the job the president's
doing right now. That's his biggest thumbs up yet.

Apparently, they don't care that there's strong evidence he
may have told an ex-White House intern to lie under oath
about their alleged affair - an impeachable abuse of power. Or
that he himself may have lied under oath - another
impeachable ''high crime.''

Second of two parts

The average person on the street invariably explains it so:
''The president isn't my clergy or my father. I don't care what
he does behind closed doors, just as long as he does a good
job.''

Ouch.

A big part of the president's job is setting high moral
standards for the country. After all, he swore - not once, but
twice - to uphold the Constitution - the highest legal, ethical
and civil standard in the land.

Indeed, America is No. 1 because it was built on high
standards. Look at our economy. It's the biggest because it
rewards the inventor of the best mousetrap. Our military is
the mightiest because it demands maximum speed and
precision.

And our government is the strongest because its architects
wouldn't stand for even a whiff of corruption.

Enter Bill Clinton.

For the past five years, Clinton has systematically
transplanted to the nation's capital the Third World fiefdom
he built in Arkansas. All its parts are now in place: a
ward-style political machine, control of law-enforcement
agencies and rampant cronyism and corruption - Little Rock
on the Potomac.

In '92, a plurality of us gave the keys to the White House - the
most hallowed office in the land - to a draft- dodger, a
pot-smoker and a wife-cheater under the assumption he
would clean up his act. He'd ''grow'' in office, the pundits
assured us.

But the only thing that grew was his thirst for power. And
now we're paying the price.

Point is, we lowered our standards for who can be president.
Who will pass the test in 2000? A felon? A tax cheat? A
cokehead? How about a polygamist? Or a wife-beater?

How low can we go?

In office, Clinton has proved his shallow character. And yet
our forbearance goes on. If you believe the polls, we now
forgive:

Spying on political enemies.

Siccing the Internal Revenue Service on citizens.

Arresting hecklers.

Hiring druggies for White House jobs.

Tampering with witnesses.

Blocking investigations.

Peddling foreign influence.

Offering jobs for favors (like silence).

Hiding subpoenaed documents.

Summarily firing all U.S. attorneys and an FBI director.

Firing and persecuting White House workers.

Selling the Lincoln Bedroom and trade junkets.

And entertaining Communist arms merchants, drug lords and
mafia bosses in the West Wing.

We've even become numb to scandal-related suicides.
President Harding and his ''Ohio gang'' would blush at such a
screed of sleaze. Tom Clancy and John Grisham couldn't
have teamed up to spin a more tangled web of deceit.

What White House behavior will be acceptable in the future?
Torture? Murder?

And look how the dignity of our national discourse has
suffered under Clinton. We are now debating - right out there
in serious public forums - whether extramarital oral sex is
somehow sanctioned by the Bible, and whether
''distinguishing characteristics'' lurk in the president's nether
regions.

What next? What other perversions will become part of our
national dialogue? Peep shows? Sadomasochism? Bestiality?

How low can we go?

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