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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Analysis - Voter's Voice

Voter's Voice: More on Clinton's troubles

The e-mail on President Bill Clinton's troubles just keeps on coming. Here's a sample of the latest reader reaction, and if you've like to comment, too, drop us a message, too. Please include your name and home town. Thank you.

'So appalled'

I am so appalled at the depths of the promiscuity, degradation, and general immorality of Mr. Clinton that I am ready to do whatever I can to hasten the day that he leaves the White House. I have called and e-mailed all my elected representatives. I have sent e-mails to both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Gore telling them how I feel -- not that I think they care. I have volunteered my time working in the office of Mr. Charles Canady who is the representative from my district and serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Is there anything else I can do to help moving day come quicker?

-- Sandra Winegar, Lakeland, Florida, September 15

'Need Clinton'

We need Clinton a lot more than we need Al Gore!

-- Jim McKay, Lakeview, Ark., September 15

'A moralistic pedestal'

Studies show that 60-70 percent of people have cheated on their significant other at least once. I would be willing to bet that most of them would swear on a stack of Bibles denying it. Given that we have such a lack of morals in this society, it amazes me that people put our political figures on such a moralistic pedestal. The reason the press digs into every second of their personal lives is that the public feeds on any dirt they can get their hands on. It's no wonder that we can't get a good man to run for president in the first place, and therefore have such poor voter turn out. Those that vote end up voting for the least of two evils.

As a registered Republican, I think that the bottom line is that our economy is stronger than it has ever been. Whatever bad decisions Clinton may make in his personal life are irrelevant. He is doing his job, and doing it well. We need to stop spending our hard-earned tax dollars investigating every little misstep our human political leaders do and direct our attention and our money to the good of the country.

-- Ginny Spotts, Raleigh, N.C., September 15

'Smut-laden report'

I feel the president has been embarrassed and humiliated and has apologized enough. How about the Republicans in the House, Ken Starr and perhaps the news stations, including CNN, doing a little mea culpa for putting this smut-laden report on the Internet where my young but computer-literate grandchildren could read it. I think there is enough shame for all concerned!

-- Maxine McManemy, Seattle, Wash., September 15

'Apparent naivete'

As an older adult who has lived and worked in several states and for different organizations in this country, I am shocked to read and hear the apparent naivete of some of my fellow Americans, including our Congress.

Have they not noticed that people all around them also have extra-marital affairs? I've seen it everywhere and can tell you that executives are normally NOT fired when caught having a consensual relationship with a lower-ranking employee.

I was not surprised to learn that this president and many of his predecessors had had "sexual encounters." Ask a few psychologists about the statistics for people who have power.

To those concerned about this causing us embarrassment abroad, stop and listen to what they are saying abroad. They're laughing at us for making such a big deal over it, not at the president.

I don't condone extra-marital affairs, but neither do I believe that this situation is cause for impeachment. Congress (especially Republicans) had better listen very clearly to the American public. If they are foolish enough to make a partisan effort to impeach this president for no more than this, they may find that the American voters have had enough.

The bottom line of this entire farce is, "It's politics, stupid," and I, for one, resent having my hard-earned tax dollars spent in this way.

-- B.C. Ladson, Springfield, Tenn., September 15

'Jumping through the hoops of pollsters' opinion'

It is obvious Clinton is jumping through the hoops of pollsters' opinions. He says he is sorry, then takes a poll to see what the American people want him to do, so he refines it and polishes it and does it again.

That is not repentance as he spoke in his prayer breakfast on Friday. True repentance is being humbled, begging for forgiveness and mercy, THEN leaving it in the hands of the people and Congress. In one hand he says he is sorry then in the other hand he has his lawyers to defend his actions. True repentance accepts all consequences for sin. Obviously he is not sincere even in his apologies. His apologies are carefully contrived for the American people to placate them. This is revolting behavior.

Having lived in Haiti for four years he reminds me of the dictators there. Declaring themselves president for life, hanging on to any scrap of power, never considering the needs of the people. The similarities are astonishing.

As far as the polls go, most of the American people are not involved enough in government to understand if Clinton is doing a good job or not. They have no idea of his foreign policies and his backhanded ways in Washington. That is why we voted for representatives in Congress to represent the people and study up on what we don't have time for and vote accordingly. The polls should be of Congress, not of the people. We voted for their wisdom to vote and do the right thing. They are the experts. Most people, if the sun is out, they have a job and there is no war, they will vote the president is doing a good job, completely ignorant of the facts.

-- Nancy Graston, Jacksonville, Florida, September 15

'Very disturbing news'


I read some very disturbing news on AP News today.

It appears that the president has added several new damage-control experts to his White House team.

No one should care how many "experts" he hires to assist him, just so he pays them himself.

These people will not be defending "The Presidency."

They will be defending Bill Clinton personally.

This is not right, and Congress should take immediate action to see that these people are NOT paid with our tax dollars.


-- Claude Barlow, Somerset, Ky., September 15

'So tired'

I am so tired of this whole scandal! I cannot believe that the media, Ken Starr and the Republicans have the whole country tied up in a supposed private affair. The media has not explained to the public the origination of all of this. Michael Isikoff and other journalists cannot be trusted. I believe that Monica Lewinsky was planted in the White House to seduce the president. The leaks by Ken Starr and the journalist involved proves that the media, Republicans and even some Democrats have always hated Clinton for his accomplishments and good looks!

Everyone in Washington, including the pundits, can go to hell!

-- Lisa Hampton, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 15

'Bunch of hypocrites'

Congress is such a bunch of hypocrites!

Remember the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which prohibited the distribution of "indecent" material on the Internet? It passed Congress by an overwhelming majority. But as soon as they got their hands on the pornographic Starr report, they couldn't wait to post it on the Internet, in direct violation of the CDA. So what if the Supreme Court struck it down -- we're talking about moral values, aren't we?

Call the special prosecutor!

-- Bob Fertik, New York, New York, September 15

'Disgusting acts'

Anyone who actually reads the Starr Report with an open mind clearly comes away being repulsed not by the fact that Starr had to put the salacious details in the report but that the president committed these disgusting acts in the Oval Office, with an intern less than half his age and then perjured himself -- twice.

WAKE UP PEOPLE! How can you miss this?

-- Paul Luedtke, Dallas, Texas, September 15

'This whole ugly situation'

I have three related thoughts about this whole ugly situation that I have not seen expressed already:

(1) I am sickened to even think that Congress feels empowered to make a decision on our behalf to overturn the results of an election in which we personally voted. Especially over a matter that -- no matter how you view it -- involves little more than a salacious sex scandal and an accompanying attempt to cover it up. Based upon Starr's report, there is simply no matter threatening national security here. And, if my two senators think they are authorized to decide who I want as president, then they can think again. Or they can drop all the holier-than-thou rhetoric and party affiliation partisanship and just vote to hold a midterm general election and let us decide.

It is setting too dangerous a precedent for them to be using the impeachment procedure in this matter. What's next? The next president fails to fulfill a definite campaign promise (and isn't that lying to the public, too?) or vetoes a popular law and so let's impeach him?

None of us, Republican or Democrat, voted in the last election for Al Gore to be president (except in the case of Bill Clinton's death), nor did we vote for Newt Gingrich (I'm just looking ahead 12 months because Gore seems to be the next candidate for an OIC investigation). But most of all, we did vote for our congresspeople to make laws for us -- not assume that they can speak for us as to whom we want to be our president. And the lawmaking process has come to a dead stop and that may truly be what is doing the most harm to this country.

(2) The media, especially cable television, seems to have learned nothing from the public in the aftermath of the O.J. trial, Princess Diana's death, the Nanny trial or any of those matters. What we said to them was that we want to know what is going on, but we don't want any of these kinds of subjects run into the ground. We don't want 18 hours a day about them (MSNBC) and we don't like it when they insist on editorializing or speculating and inflating the facts into a bigger deal than they are (CNN and all the rest).

Sticking a microphone into some American's face and asking them for an opinion on Bill Clinton's morality is fine to a point, but then unashamedly baiting those who respond that they "are not losing any sleep" over this scandal by saying "but don't you feel that ..." is getting old fast. And I respectfully submit that an increasing share of the ratings that are inflated by these kinds of stories is caused because the public needs to stay tuned to see how the various cable commentators will spin the facts next. We have to for self-defense -- if we miss a day, even though nothing of substance occurs in the matter, the spin will continue from all three sides -- the two involved directly and the cable media in an attempt to keep the story hot by "over-analysis."

(3) It also occurs to me that -- since we seem to be going off on a tangent to do something unique here to the system of American politics -- that it might make sense to break new ground by having Congress ask Starr's grand jury to simply indict the President (if they even will) and, thus, force him to take his case to the courts after his term is over and we have elected another president of our own choice. There is so much being said about how the president is not above the law; well, what would that same law do to us common folks? It would indict us and make us stand trial -- not in the overly-political Senate, but in a common court of law and in front of a jury of our peers. Not that any of us would likely ever be indicted for perjury in a civil case involving the cover-up of an adultery matter, and not that any sitting president has ever been indicted by the judicial system in history, but it would be a quick, unique solution, save impeachment for the higher purpose it was intended for, make President Clinton, if found guilty, responsible for his actions, get the Congress back to making a few laws that might really benefit this country, and still give the media what it seems to want the most -- another high-profile trial to cover 18 hours a day. Seems to have something in it for everybody, doesn't it?

-- D. Miller, Philadelphia, Pa., September 14

'Self-centered coward'

Kenneth Starr is the kind of person that has made America the world's strongest nation. In the midst of incredible opposition, subterfuge, blatant lack of cooperation by the White House, and determined attempts by the White House to destroy his credibility, he has persevered to do the job that his commander in chief required of him (remember, fellow citizens, he was appointed by Clinton's attorney general to be the independent prosecutor). He would make a good soldier, quite unlike President Clinton who like the self-centered coward he has demonstrated himself to be, who lied and cheated his way out of military service.

Thank you, Ken Starr, for restoring faith in integrity and being an example of diligence in service to your country.

-- Jack Gustafson, Belem, Brazil, September 14

'You need to resign now'

The office of the president of the United States should be held with the highest degree of dignity, character and integrity.

As we page through the most important public document since the Warren Report, we are left with many questions. Least of all is that this report is the only basis for the American people to make their own judgment as to ability of one man to maintain the highest office in the land.

Mr. Clinton is not a storybook character. This is real life. If as Americans we expect that the man sworn to uphold the office of the president of the United States to act as if he understands its importance (the office of the president) then should we not expect that same man to resign when he diminishes his role as an American president?

Whether or not all of the details are published, Mr. Clinton, you need to resign now. The dignity, character and integrity of the office of the president of the United States depends on it. Not only now, but for the future. Those who succeed you will need to instill the trust and respect that was lost from your administration.


-- George E. Leonhardt, Willoughby, Ohio, September 14

'A no-good bum'

Clinton should resign or impeach him. He is A NO-GOOD BUM and if we want our kids to be better we should be getting a president we can all be proud of again. He is a liar and has lied about too many things!

-- Peggy Chilcott, Shell Knob, Missouri, September 14

'A horrible example'

President Clinton should not be allowed to tell less than the truth under oath. It sets a horrible example for the future and undermines the very fabric of our Constitution.

If the argument is that the subject is "personal" and not America's business, OK, fine, I can accept that. But if it is personal, why is he using taxpayer money for attorneys?

If the punishment for his sins is not impeachment, and the subject is deemed personal, then I would appreciate Mr. Clinton reimbursing America for expenses related to these accusations.

-- K. Elliott, Medford, Oregon, September 14

'Absolutely amazed'

I am absolutely amazed by all this nonsense about Judge Starr's report. As many other Europeans I just cannot understand what is going on in America. I have always thought that, in both sides of the Atlantic, we all shared the same basic values and that we all lived under a similar form of liberal-democratic state: the so-called "Western culture." Now, either this belief is wrong, or there is something wrong in the American political atmosphere. One of the two is wrong.

I still cannot figure out the purpose and the relevance of this hideous report. Is it to investigate Mr. Clinton's sexual behaviour and conclude on he's inability as President of the U.S.A.? Is there any hidden relation between a person's sexual conduct and his performance in high public offices? Should a candidate to the presidency of the U.S.A., or any other high political office, be subjected to an enquiry on his/her sexual life?

Do we really want to engage in such a process?

I am deeply disappointed when I look at America today. I used to look up at America as the land of hope and freedom. Can it be possible that the Americans have lost their quest for freedom? Can it be possible that the sons of the founding fathers no longer distinguish the private from the public sphere? Isn't it true that this is a matter between two consenting adults? Is not this, after all, a matter which belongs exclusively to them and to their families?

The real question is not about forgiving (for who are we to forgive...). The real question lies underneath all this process: the real question should have never been asked. No one has the right to dig in anyone's private life (It is fastidious to say that this is no criminal lawsuit...), except those who are most intimately connected with it, namely the family.

Is it perjury to defend one's private life? Has anyone read George Orwell's 1984??

Where are we going? Did anyone stop to wonder? Until where are we prepared to go through? What about good old common sense?...

-- Tomaz Castello Branco, Lisbon, Portugal, September 14

'Surprised at the apathy'

In reading and listening to all of the seemingly factual material related to Clinton's past political and/or personal behavior, I truly think I am more surprised at the apathy shown by a large majority of the population. I guess we've gotten to the point where we no longer hold our chief executive to a higher standard and when he does exhibit such immoral behavior we merely shrug our shoulders as if to say "so what." That being the case, where could we possibly go from here?

-- E. Brungot, Colebrook, New Hampshire, September 14

'Report was vindictive'

The Starr report was vindictive and disrespectful. Starr was not interested in search of the truth. The president's behavior was despicable and reckless. However, his offenses are not cause for impeachment. The report did not help the process. It was the work of equally reckless and, more so, evil minds. The independent counsel's office should be abolished. Congress is the right body to investigate a president. There is a reasonable degree of balance in Congress instead of one man/woman (and his subordinates) out of control. If the president of the U. S. (literally the CEO of Mother Earth, Inc.) is suspected of doing wrong, he should be investigated by Congress in a respectful manner. He/she is unique based on the awesome responsibilities and burden of stirring Mother Earth. Let's all be cool-headed and practical!

-- Allen Ziama, September 14

'No winners'

It is unfortunate that there are no winners in the current crisis -- not the president, not the people, not the Democrats or Republicans, not America, not anybody. The media perhaps -- great news, profits and all the attention! Not unless the media wants to play the role of country destroyer. And what then?

Somebody may, in the end, be able to righteously declare that "We've been right all along," "Clinton was a liar," or "Starr wasn't unbiased," or "Those Americans really do have their priorities backwards," but still, who benefits? Yet the strange thing is that all parties continue to fan the flames, point the fingers, and deepen the already divided country. This can only make the crisis worse for all involved.

Can't anybody see that the only way to stop this downward spiral is to STOP FOCUSING ON IT! Really, there are more important things in life.

-- Gary Sneiderman, Woodbine, Md., September 14

'Eroding the institution'

Following is the text of an e-mail I sent to the president today, with a copy to the vice president. My views in the matter are contained within.

Mr. President,

I grew up in the state of Arkansas. My entire family has supported you and Hillary throughout your political life. I have voted for you several times and I fervently support your political positions (with some exceptions, of course).

I am a private citizen with a good job in corporate America. I am also a student of American history and of the constitution of the United States. I am fascinated by our system of government and I am proud of the institution of the presidency as we have defined it in this country. I have studied the presidency and the men who have held the office throughout my life. (I hope to one day see a woman elected to the presidency).

I believe that it is in the best interest of the country, the government, and the institution of the presidency that you resign. The current scandals and the continued defense of your weak position are eroding the institution to the detriment of future officeholders. Your presidency has become a national and international joke. I take too much pride in the office to see it ridiculed any longer.

Please place the interest of the office ahead of your own and perform an act of ultimate courage. The time has come to step down. Mr. Gore will serve well in your stead.


-- Shaw Drummond, Atlanta, Georgia, September 14

'Monica is no angel'

Based on what I heard and read, Monica is no angel too. Shouldn't she be held responsible for seducing the president and disgracing the U.S. as a country as well? No matter how much younger she is or what status she has, she is still an adult. Therefore, should be held for responsibility on her part. She certainly did not behave as an intern is supposed to at the White House. Doesn't she owe Clinton's wife and daughter an apology as well?

-- Scott Ding, Novato, Calif., September 14

'Report isn't about sex'

It's amazing to me how uninformed many of the American people are. After reading some of the comments from other readers, I'm appalled at the apparent lack of intelligence. Folks, the key issue here isn't that the president had sex with an intern. The issue is that the president is a liar and as a result, he committed two key crimes.

Ken Starr's report isn't about sex. It's a report that details how our president committed the felony crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice. If all Clinton had done was have sex with Lewinsky, then there would be no Starr report. But Clinton lied under oath in a civil lawsuit and again lied under oath to a grand jury, both felony crimes. And the only defense Clinton can offer against these allegations is that he believed the term "sexual relationship" didn't include oral sex. Give me a break! The president is an obvious liar.

For those of you railing on Ken Starr as a pervert, look in the mirror. I think it is you who is so focused on sex that you are missing the point. The president lied to a grand jury and should not only be impeached but should go to jail just like any other citizen would if he/she committed perjury or obstructed justice.

-- V. Hill, Portland, Oregon, September 14

'A fifty-million dollar letter to the Penthouse Forum'

I was wondering if everyone had forgotten what the Starr investigation was all about. I was a little distressed to find that the report contained no information about the Whitewater investigation and focused strictly on the personal interactions of the president and Ms. Lewinsky. I don't condone what he did but it was a personal affair and I don't think that it should be posted for the world to see. I care to hear about his sexual affairs as much as I care to hear about his personal hygiene habits. I helped vote Clinton into office and I don't want to see him spend his entire career neglecting the job of president so that he can fend off a personal attacks. Ken Starr has revealed his personal vendetta towards the president and I think that it's time for him to justify his actions. I am absolutely outraged that I have helped pay for a fifty-million dollar letter to the Penthouse Forum.

-- Matt Mainor, Williamsburg, Virginia, September 14

 Investigating the President


Thursday, September 17, 1998

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