The Blog

Clinton v. the Constitution

11:00 PM, Feb 21, 1999 • By CHARLES R. KESLER
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By contrast, the Democrats displayed the servility of Tory placemen and the obsequiousness of the most corrupt court party. Not a single cabinet member resigned in outrage at being lied to for craven purposes; hardly a single Democratic legislator revolted against the party line. Almost to a man (and woman), they preferred Clinton's lies to their own and the country's honor. This is not good for the Democratic party, nor for constitutional government, and it was the great unreported scandal in this whole affair. It was, in fact, the worst and most revealing thing about this affair -- far worse than Clinton's retaining office for two more years.

Bill Clinton got away with it again, as he has his whole life, but this time he paid a heavy price. His shamelessness is apparent. Fortunately, he is a coward too, which makes his lack of shame less dangerous to the Constitution than it might be.

As for the Constitution, it is alive and, though not well, still healthier than one might think. A sign of this is that the only oratory that will be remembered from Clinton's impeachment and trial belongs to Henry Hyde, James Rogan, and a few of the other House managers who spoke so bravely in defense of the rule of law in America.

Charles R. Kesler teaches government at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California.