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Commentary on the Presidency
by Charlie Meyerson Posted 98/09/12Bill Clinton’s time is up.
For someone like me—someone who voted twice for Clinton, someone who wanted to believe, naively, the president’s assertion that there was “more to the story” than we’d heard—that’s a tough call to make.
But, love him or hate him, forgive him or condemn him, Clinton must go.
Much was made in the days after his primetime confession of the fact that he didn’t say the words “I’m sorry”; that he didn’t apologize to the nation or to his wife or to poor, misguided Monica Lewinski or to Congress.
That never was the real issue—as we know, now that he *has* said he’s sorry. The problem won’t go away.
Clinton’s credibility is shot. He is—at least in the political sense of the word—impotent.
As president, Bill Clinton faces two roads now, and you can stick a fork in both of them: He faces impeachment proceedings and possible removal from office. Or Congress gives him a pass, in which case he faces two years of public appearances plagued by protesters waving cigars in his face (a prospect brought to my attention by my former colleague Jenette Kerr.) Either road spells months of ineffective, halfhearted government.
Vice President Al Gore certainly carries some of the baggage of the president’s shame. And he faces the prospect of his own independent counsel investigation. But the chance that he might survive to run for another term or two gives him much more clout in Washington than Clinton, who remains a lame duck under the best of circumstances.
The Republican party might delight at the prospect of a Democrat limping through the last days of his term, an ineffectual presence on the campaign trail. But the nation deserves better.
Clinton’s administration would able to achieve far more without him—with Al Gore in the Oval Office—than it can ever hope to achieve with Bill Clinton in power.
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Charlie Meyerson is an award-winning Chicago journalist.
Entire contents Copyright 1998 by Charles Meyerson, <CMeyerson@mediaone.net>. All rights reserved. This material may be freely transmitted to others if it’s transmitted in full, including copyright and subscription information.
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