The Blog

The Party of Constitutionalism

11:00 PM, Feb 21, 1999 • By JAMES W. CEASER
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Our moral constitution clearly remains the more important concern. Republicans have learned that it is not as strong as they believed -- that it cannot be counted on to automatically carry the day against a fervent partisanship and an unscrupulous president. But even this disappointment pales beside the risk that clear and public standards of right and wrong may be lost to the next generation. This possibility of corruption, which Henry Hyde identified in his closing speech to the Senate as the basic issue of the whole trial, represents the greatest threat posed by the Clinton doctrine. And because the stakes are so high, there can be no time for despair. The moral constitution is now on trial. Its impeachment is not an option.

James W. Ceaser is professor of government and foreign affairs at the University of Virginia.