Vexing A Sitting President With Litigation and Our Nation's Security
This will seem surprising that I would offer a defense to Bill Clinton but on this very important issue, he always received my support. I was against the sexual harassment litigation brought by Paula Jones that the SCOTUS allowed to proceed against Bill Clinton when he was President. It was not becuase I doubted her accusations. (If anything, I am more convinced that Bill Clinton likely committed such acts against Jones and other women).
But America is imperiled when a President of the US is distracted by hearings, depositions and litigation. All of that can wait until he reverts back to his normal citizen role after he leaves office. My opinion is reached due to years of first-hand experience in witnessing ungrounded and vexatious civil litigation. For me, a sitting president would have to be charged with a serious criminal charge with significant supporting evidence before I would agree to allow him to be sued or indicted. While a statute of limitations is needed to force litigation to go forth close in time to the acts for the benefit of witness memory to remain strong, I did not see the Clinton-Jones matter as exposed to that danger.
What was gained by the legal action? Clinton lied to save his reputation (and maybe his marriage). What was the harm of that legal foray? The complete distraction of the Commander in Chief.
While the 90's looked peaceful as we were enjoying it, we now know there were numerous dangerous developments taking place that could have been reined in or stopped by assertive action by the President. From China to Iran to Al Qaeda to North Korea to the PLO, a President focused on national security could have made our present much more safe. Our options today would be greater. What Clinton handed off to Bush was a quickly ticking time bomb (9-11 was a mere months after Bush assumed office) that only the fictional Jack Bauer could nullify in time.
Would Clinton have acted differently on everything had he been focused on the national security? No. He was still a poll-minded pol and a big D Democrat. That would not have changed at all had the Paula Jones lawsuit been stayed.
Dick Morris looks at the current Middle East War and blames Clinton for the situation. He writes:
In a nutshell, this illustrates the difference between the Democratic and Republican approaches to Israeli security.
Bush and his administration clearly see the Israeli attack as an opportunity to clean out terrorist cells that have come to be pivotal in Lebanon. With Hezbollah’s power extending into the cabinet in Beirut, it is clear that Israeli military action is necessary to forestall the creation of a terrorist state on its northern border.
While Clinton said he embraced the need for Israeli security, when the going got rough he bowed to world opinion and called for a cease-fire. When the United States asks Israel to stop fighting, it is like a boxer’s manager throwing in the towel. The bottom line is that true friends of Israel cannot afford to let leftist Democrats take power in Washington.
But American Jews have voted Democrat in the past and will continue to do so in the future. It is really the Christian evangelical Right that stands up for Israel.
Maybe nothing would have been different today. But the excuse would not be available that Clinton was distracted by the lawsuits. The same applies to President Bush. An impeachment process after the potential Democrat assumption of Congressional power would be disastrous to our national security. Would that cause the Democrats to reconsider the consequences?