Sneaking a Verdict ...


By William Westmiller

My 12-year-old daughter, Michelle, is a budding lawyer. Reminded of her obligation to put dirty dishes in the washer, she will explain with the most intricate logic and heartfelt pleading why she shouldn't do it and it's unfair to expect her to do it and her sisters are slack and it's not necessary and not important and why should she be burdened? It's really very cute. Cute because her command of language and logic and rhetoric is delightful. Of course, she's young, immature, and a little irresponsible. Millions of little boys and girls around the world are capable of cuteness, including the current occupant of the White House.
Billy Clinton is an innocent child. He knows the rules of the little games he plays. Caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he explains with the most intricate logic and heartfelt pleading that he didn't actually take a cookie and it's unfair to assume he intended to take a cookie and isn't everybody else eating the cookies anyway? In this case, he's right, but just too cute.
Mr. Clinton knows that evasion, obfuscation, diversion, and a grand flourish can't be construed as a fraud on the court. He knows that the law against perjury requires a flat, intentional falsehood. Moreover, he knows that any misrepresentation must be a material issue related to the complaint. It is a crude legal fact that any falsehood about other sexual conduct was irrelevant and immaterial to Paula Jones' civil rights, because she had failed to show any injury, any fundamental cause of action, under harassment law. Thus, the first two impeachment counts, alleging perjury, were groundless. Mr. Clinton was successfully cute in all his responses.
Billy Clinton is a bad boy. He promised not to play with the other girl's toys. Who could know? It's just a little secret between the two of us. And such a thrill to get away with a little bit of harmless play. And he's so sorry he got caught. He's willing to spend time standing in the corner. His sadness and travail and pout is just so cute.
Mr. Clinton didn't suddenly fall into sin. His indiscretions, philandering, and adultery had become a well rehearsed life style long before he became President. What he had learned over time was that his wife would easily forgive his escapades. More important, a large segment of the electorate would accept a testosterone-saturated male for his strength, vigor and ferocity on their behalf. If his hormones got a little carried away, it was just a common flaw of powerful men. Though his enemies found his casual misconduct despicable, his friends found it all rather cute.
Billy Clinton makes bad rules. He loves to make rules for other people. Let's make a rule, he says, that complaining gives that person the right to ask twenty questions of anyone they accuse. Let's call it presumed harassment and the questions can be about any presumed bad behavior in the past. And it's such a cute little rule. Unless the complaint is about Billy. That's an exception. These are Billy's rule for other people, not rules for Billy. Of course. It's just so incredibly cute when Billy explains it all.
Mr. Clinton just wants to assure his friends that things are under control. The rules will keep bad people in their place. Good people don't need rules. When he signed the sexual harassment law, the President applauded the inclusion of prior bad acts as a legitimate exception to the presumption of innocence. His protestations that the law doesn't really apply to unfounded charges against good little boys who participate in consensual acts is far beyond cute.
It's been many years since I've spanked my daughter and corporal punishment isn't an option in an impeachment trial. Yet, little boys and girls need to be taught that cuteness doesn't pardon bad conduct. Among children, we expect a certain degree of immaturity and irresponsibility. Among adults, cuteness is not an esteemed quality, much less a pardon for bad behavior.
Mr. Clinton is not guilty of any high crimes, but he is certainly guilty of excessive cuteness. Removing him from office would be an excessive penalty for his childish behavior. However, having demonstrated his immaturity, irresponsibility, and disrespect for the legal process, Billy Clinton deserves a reprimand. The Constitution grants the Senate a cute exit from its prolonged quandary.
Article one, section three, clause seven sets a maximum limit of removal from office, but allows lesser judgments. A proportional penalty for dishonoring the law would be to disqualify Mr. Clinton from holding any future office of honor in the United States. Though it's only a little slap on the knuckles to preclude a past President from holding any future federal office, it is sufficiently rare and shameful to be cute. Billy Clinton would appreciate that kind of cuteness.

"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgement and Punishment, according to Law."

US Constitution: Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7
(Emphasis Added)

©1999, William Westmiller
California Coordinator of the Republican Liberty Caucus
Past Candidate for the Republican Nomination for (24 CA) Congress
Former National Secretary, California Chairman, Libertarian Party
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