All the Presidents' Lies Ben Bradlee Was Editor of the Washington Post in the 1970s When It Broke the Watergate Scandal. but, for Him, Last Week's Events - Resignations , a Small War and Clinton's Impeachment - Surpassed Even the Turmoil of Nixon's Final Days
Bradlee, Ben, The Independent (London, England)
AND SO IT HAS COME TO THIS:
Because a flirtatious 22-year-old intern decided not to have the stains from a sexual encounter with the President removed from her dress, William Jefferson Clinton is impeached.
Because America's leading pornographer threatened to out the next Speaker of the House as a multiple philanderer, Robert Livingston throws in the towel, announces he's through with politics, and heads back to civilian life. Because the same pornographer lets it be known to a favoured few that he has the goods on many other Congressmen, including at least one who has expressed an interest in running for president, other top politicians will soon bite the dust. Because the secret files of the Starr investigation, not included in the Independent Counsel's public report, but available to members of the House Judiciary Committee, contain more smarmy details about the President's private life, no one can say for sure how this mess will end, much less when. After perhaps the most extraordinary week in American political history - impeachment, resignations and a small war - the experts still recite their mantra: "This isn't about sex." Well, you could have fooled me. ANYONE WHO CLAIMS to predict tomorrow's headlines is crazy. During the impeachment hearings, Democrats were almost as critical of President Clinton as were Republicans. In an effort to persuade their colleagues that censure was a viable alternative to removal from office, one Democrat after another rose to document presidential sins: philandering, perjury, and obstruction of justice. Then, after Clinton was actually impeached, they piled into buses and drove down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. In front of the television cameras they jostled each other for the chance to show their support for the man they had just branded a philanderer, a perjurer and an obstructer of justice. All this, mind you, when the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll (taken on Saturday and Sunday) shows that more than two out of every three Americans feel the President should not be removed from office, and 79 per cent of them think that too much attention is being paid to the extramarital affairs of elected officials. This morning, in Washington, almost no one believes that the Senate will really convict the President and remove him from office. Instead there is increasing talk of censuring the President, after his trial has begun but before a verdict has been rendered. (As if impeachment itself somehow is not sufficient censure.) Opponents of censure point out that a new Congress, with a Democratic majority, can simply repeal any vote of censure taken now. They go on to worry about setting a bad precedent. Could Franklin D Roosevelt have been censured for breaking his promise not to lead America into war? Could Harry Truman, with a popularity rating less than half of Clinton's, have been impeached for firing General Douglas MacArthur? Since I left the editor's chair at The Washington Post, I have become much more patient. We will know the answers to all questions sooner rather than later. What interests me now is how we got into this mess in the first place. Would President Bob Dole find himself in anything like this predicament? No way, surely. Didn't popular wisdom have it that good people were no longer seeking public office because of the salacious curiosity of the press? Starr and his investigators have surely taken care of that one. One of the reasons we are in such a mess, I believe, is that society has become increasingly, and almost casually, accepting of lying during the last couple of generations. The cost of lying has decreased. The punishment no longer fits the crime, if it ever did. As we have heard endlessly in the last few months, perjury convictions have become hard to secure. (It depends on what the meaning of "is" is.) The risk of getting nailed for a lie seems …
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Publication information: Article title: All the Presidents' Lies Ben Bradlee Was Editor of the Washington Post in the 1970s When It Broke the Watergate Scandal. but, for Him, Last Week's Events - Resignations , a Small War and Clinton's Impeachment - Surpassed Even the Turmoil of Nixon's Final Days. Contributors: Bradlee, Ben - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: December 23, 1998. Page number: 1. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.