Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor
Clinton's patriotic act - not to resign
John Hughes suggests that President Clinton should resign to save the nation the travails of a Senate trial in his opinion article "The patriotic thing - to resign" (Dec. 16). On the contrary, it is the Congress which should desist from their inappropriate use of the impeachment power. Impeachment should not be used for short-term political gain or as a calculated means of punishment for personal behavior.
A president should be impeached only when a broad consensus exists that he is no longer fit to serve. The Congress is setting the precedent that a popularly elected president can be impeached by the slimmest of partisan majorities on charges unrelated to his official duties. This is a grave and long-lasting threat to the balance of constitutional powers. Future presidents will be weakened by this usurpation of power by the legislative body. The president's most patriotic act is to continue to resist this distortion of the Constitution. David Ahlfeld Amherst, Mass. John Hughes, a much respected former editor of the Monitor, has got it all wrong when he suggests that President Clinton should resign as a "healing and patriotic action." It seems he's been spending too much time talking to right-wing federal judges and to other folks who are out of touch with the American people's rejection of the efforts of a far-right Republican minority that will not rest until it imposes the president's impeachment on this country. Of course the country would survive if Mr. Clinton resigned. That's not the issue. The real issue is to uncover and reject an ongoing coup d'etat which is using a sex scandal and subsequent quibbling on the part of the president as the anticonstitutional means to dump him. I sincerely hoped that Clinton would not be impeached. But what better place, now, than the Senate - a more civil and more representative side of the legislature that will, hopefully, put a finger on those who would so misuse this constitutional provision as the means to emasculate this president and the wishes of the majority. …