Your reactions to impeachment vote
We got thousands of e-mail messages over the weekend after the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Bill Clinton on perjury and obstruction of justice charges in the Monica Lewinsky affair. Here's a sample, and if you'd like to comment, drop us e-mail. Be sure to include your name and home town.
'The right thing'
I think the House, despite the wide-ranging opinion of the subject, did the right thing. The only Constitutional duty the House was required of was to impeach or not to impeach. From a Constitutional standpoint, the House showed restraint in this matter by avoiding consideration of any other form of punishment of the President. Only the Senate can remove. The House was merely set up to act as a grand jury and send the case on to trial. The House did as such and now the Senate can act on the charges the House presented. If the Senate does not remove, then the entire process, House investigation, indictment and Senate trial acts as a form of rebuke of the President. This in itself is the censure that I think we all can live with. It is not a form of a political cover that so many Washington politicians crave to go on record in the form of a vote on a non-binding resolution. It is more of a censure in practice than any resolution the House or Senate could possibly pass. I think that despite the tortuous process, the trial is the compromise that our country will judge to be the proper one over our President.
-- Michael Weir, Snellville, Georgia, December 21
'A loud outcry'
It's time the Congress listened to the people. There is a loud outcry that says the people don't want Clinton removed. At least the House could have voted on censure. I think that would have made the people at least think they were listened to. This next election, everyone needs to think very carefully about who they vote for. It's time to send a message to the government. Listen to us or you're out!
-- J.D. Scogin, December 21
'A direct attack on the Democratic Party'
I believe that the attempted impeachment and Senate trial of President Clinton is a direct attack on the Democratic Party by the Republican Party. Also, I believe that the U.S. citizens ought to have the deciding vote concerning impeachment. The United States is still a democratic nation, and it is the U.S. citizens who should decide the outcome.
-- Tim Edwards, December 21
... In two words, it stinks. He (President Clinton) did nothing to hurt the U.S.A. The evidence was gotten by illegal means and I wonder how much money some people are going to receive if he is removed from office; of course that will never be published. The powers to be have been working to get him out since he was elected. First they try one thing, then another and finally they hit on something that isn't within the scope of impeachment, or at least as far as I am concerned.
-- Roger A. Bollinger, St Paris, Ohio, December 21
'The Democratic Party embarrassed me'
What debate? The Democratic Party embarrassed me as an American by their blaming everyone but the president for the impeachment. They never addressed an issue of substance, but relied on the polls to determine guilt or innocence. Then they used the bombing of Iraq to try to delay the proceedings.
Iraq is America's biggest embarrassment. In my youth we ignored the most populated country in the world, China. Now, we bomb a virtually defenseless people because we can. Virulent anthrax cultures can be made in any home in America. Will we be safe the next time Little Bill strays from Hillary?
-- John Christian, Irving, Texas, December 20
'I will never vote for a Republican'
I don't need to read the polls to reach the conclusions that President Clinton should not be impeached, go on trial in the Senate, or even be censured with basically his living taken away from him. This "man" has been investigated by (the) so-called independent counsel for over four years and this farce of Monica and Linda is all he could come up with.
As for the Republicans, I have never voted strict party lines, voting for the person, rather than the party. No longer will that be true. I will never vote for a Republican, regardless if he is considered a "saint," ever again. If anyone abused their power, it was the Republican party. They should be censured and turned out of office. A handful of partisan men and women, most of whom do not represent me, overturned a presidential election and I think when I say "most of whom do not represent me" is what is bothering me the most.
This impeachment by the House was partisan to the extreme by the Republican party; there can be absolutely no doubt about that. Mr. Clinton has been investigated ad infinitum with nothing more than a few sordid encounters with a woman -- not a child as so many Republicans have called her -- to show for this investigation. In fact, the Linda Tripp, Lewinsky matter smells to high heaven. The fact that this caused a President to try not to hurt his wife and family, I feel, is the main reason he tried to mislead us and I don't blame him at all. He is human. We elected a President, not a Pope. I think Mr. Livingston showed that elected officials are human and there are probably many politicians quaking in their boots for their indiscretions that might be made public. Also, Mr. Livingston had spoken months ago of leaving the House because he didn't make enough money, so that leaves some room for speculation that what he did on Saturday was simply "grandstanding," not a true mea culpa.
So, 1. Mr. Clinton should not be impeached, go on trial in the Senate, resign, or be censured. 2. The Republicans should be censured for their partisan act and as the British do, "go back to the country;" in other words, resign from office themselves and see who the "people" will elect.
I am infuriated that this happened. The Republicans did not listen to the people. They voted their "conscience." They voted party-line politics. And the representative from my state, North Carolina, who had the gall to get up on the floor and quote a little child, did, in my opinion, fantasize a little. She should be held accountable for such a fantasy being put forth in the public record. Of course, she is a Republican.
Enough said, I think.
-- Carol Tombro, December 21
'Misused their power'
I think the House of Representatives misused their power in a partisan way by voting to impeach the president. I don't think that what Clinton did would in private have been a shock to the gentlemen of the Constitutional Congress. Judging from history, there is nothing new under the sun as far as sex is concerned.
However, they would all probably turn over in their graves if they were here to witness how the House of Representatives in 1999 used a tool they had so carefully crafted to protect out great nation from having one party or person become too powerful used in such a vindictive manner.
We all know what the Constitutional Convention had in mind when it set up the balance of powers and we all know the debacle this weekend totally violates and dishonors those good men.
-- Amy Mercer, December 21
The House of Representatives did not "represent" me or anyone that I know when they voted to impeach the president. I am most aggravated at the pious, self-righteous standing of my own representative, Tom DeLay.
Clinton made some stupid "personal" mistakes, nothing to endanger the welfare of the country as I understand the impeachment guidelines state. Ken Starr has done more damage as far as I am concerned.
Impeachment is overkill. Everyone I know would rather see a censure vote and let us go on about our business. Quit giving Ken Starr and every Republican in the House any more chances to pose and posture. This was a witch hunt from the beginning.
-- Linda C. Hamilton, December 21
'Clinton ... committed perjury'
President Clinton willfully and with premeditation committed perjury.
I excuse his immoral behavior.
It concerns me that so many people are professing that it was only sex. It was much more than that.
I voted for Clinton. I DO support his removal from office. We must make it clear to everyone that this type of behavior, lying and cheating, are not acceptable.
-- Alan Sickman, Kansas City, Kansas, December 21
'A narrow, ugly, partisan agenda'
What happened in the House of Representatives simply showed that the body represented only a narrow, ugly partisan agenda and not the will of the people. There was no high crime, no impeachable offense. The Republican members were stupid in their thinking and mean-spirited in their actions.
What they did as an example to the youth of America was far worse than President Clinton's little fling with Monica L. They dragged it back and forth before us, trying to make it look like a more serious thing than it was, until we were all disgusted by the show. Clinton continued to work for the people of this country and for the world at large. Sadly, Congress tried to sandbag and subvert his efforts. Let's get this over and do some real business. Clinton has spelled out what the business is. Let's see it handled by Congress.
-- Douglas Kent Hall, December 21
'A sad situation'
In my humble opinion I find this entire process to be a sad situation for our country. The House of Representatives has revealed itself to be no more than a group of children in a sandbox arguing over toys and territory. They have impeached the president for his behavior. I agree our president could have made better choices and I wish he had. But where is the leadership in the action taken by the House of Representatives?
If this whole affair has taught us anything as a nation of individuals I believe is that no one walks on water. We all are vulnerable to the temptations of this world. Perhaps compassion would better serve us all rather than vindictiveness.
It is my sincere wish that the Senate will demonstrate the common sense most Americans have come to depend on from our national leaders.
-- William B. Rose, III, December 21
'This truly is a coup d'etat'
Regardless of what the pundits, and the Republicans and the Democrats who are pro-impeachment say, this truly is a coup d'etat. I fear that most are in denial of this reality. Can a president approved twice by a majority of the people truly be removed by about 25 percent of the people who really hate him, and think that the majority will just allow it to happen?
It's no wonder that fringe groups on all ends of the spectrum are springing up around the country. Their notion that government is a joke and that there is no center that holds simply enforces their notions that they must go it alone.
Too many in this country who voted for Clinton either have been, or have relatives who have been, directly or indirectly involved in experiencing coups in their native countries. They won't feel comfortable with an impeachment of their choice. It's more than beltway politics but it seems the pollsters and politicians would rather focus on their immediate need to spew hate and anger and poke each other in the eye.
It's gone too far and the road back will be bumpy. So, so unfortunate.
-- Peter G. Vajda, December 21
How can anyone conclude the whole system is working when the vote goes right down party lines? Generally the American public has a bad taste for lawyers and the process with Clinton partially shows why. The claim is that we do what the public wishes; since when? Term limitations and a reduction of the fat retirement benefits might help change our governments attitude.
-- Bill Calosso, December 20
After we get rid of all the people who ever told a little lie, who made a bad business decision, people that let a sexual act overpower their mind and those that are so busy doing their job they fall into a trap that was set for them, who will be left to carry out the business of the people? Jesse the Body? Who among us can live in a glass house and have the nation look at every detail of anything we ever did as a human. Let's admonish the president for his act and MOVE ON!
-- George J. Knecht, Benton, Kentucky, December 20
'Proud of the Republicans'
I was proud of the Republicans, who voted their conscience, and with respect for our constitution, irregardless of how the unpopular cry of the people might affect their political future. These are what I call "men." They have taken into account the future of our children, by passing on to them integrity and justice, and respect for our constitution.
Conversely, the Democrats are "now" people, disregarding the consequences of letting Clinton off the hook and how it would affect our children for generations to come. The Democrats are irresponsible, and have little or no integrity.
-- Tina Scheufler, December 20
'A right-wing coup'
The impeachment vote was a right-wing coup. This is one more step on the road to a theocracy.
-- Ken Quam, Tolna, North Dakota, December 20
'Sounds like perjury to me'
After listening to the Saturday morning repartee between the Republicans and the Democrats, the president of the United States did in fact lie under oath. Sounds like perjury to me. The Democrats can dance around all they want about degrees of guilt. Their message is that some lies are OK. I hold our president to a higher standard than that. If I were president I would hold myself to that same standard.
I believe the two articles of impeachment which were approved should have been approved. I don't think that all four should have been approved.
-- Dianna L. Ray, December 20
Monday, December 21, 1998
Carter, Ford urge censure for Clinton
Most don't want Clinton trial
Community service for Clintons
JFK's daughter favors censure
Livingston's district to lose clout
Sen. Warner embracing new committee post