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Acquit, Don't Censure President Clinton!

Updated on December 23, 2017
William F. Torpey profile image

Graduated NYU 1964. Worked in NYC in public relations 2 years then as reporter/news editor 32 years at The Hour newspapers. Retired in 2000.

His Indiscretions Were Private

United States President Bill Clinton
United States President Bill Clinton

On Both Sides of Every Issue?

Congressman Christopher Shays, R-4th
Congressman Christopher Shays, R-4th

Is there anyone in the United States, or the world, who believes that President Clinton has not been censured? Is it really necessary for the U.S. Senate to make it formal?

If the Senate were wise, it would shun the divisive partisanship that characterized the impeachment proceedings in the House, bypass a trial that would be even more devastating to the country, and simply vote to acquit the president of charges that never should have been brought in the first place.

The Republican leadership has succeeded in embarrassing the president and his family, and I'm sure they will forever glory in that. They also have succeeded in embarrassing the American people and in staining the good name of the United States.

Private indiscretions

Clinton's indiscretions were private. They were not a proper subject for impeachment, and only a blindly extremist Clinton-hater could believe otherwise. The U.S. Constitution is not ambiguous; it specifically cites "high crimes" to make it clear that impeachment should be considered for only the most serious affronts to the American people and the Constitution.

The disgraceful conduct of the House in adopting two bogus articles of impeachment cannot be erased from history, nor can this House avoid the censure of future generations for its cowardly deed.

The Senate, however, can show the world that this country has not gone insane -- by acting reasonably on the two unreasonable articles of impeachment and forgetting about censure.

Republicans Re-write Constitution

House Republicans have forever rewritten the Constitution, effectively to make it more likely that Article II will be used by partisans to attempt to discredit or remove future presidents when they're unable to do so at the polls.

Congressman Christopher Shays, R-4th, ended up voting against the four impeachment articles after first declaring his opposition then wavering and holding a widely publicized hearing.

Some have called his vote "courageous," but I reserve judgment. He made it clear that he knew Clinton would be impeached without his vote. Was he trying to have it both ways? Does he intend to woo Democrats by saying he voted against impeachment and appease Republicans by saying he would have voted with them if they had needed his vote?

Ill-advised Impeachment

The ill-advised impeachment effort further degrades all politicians, from the president on down. Good civics teachers have, for years, held public service in high regard and conveyed that to their students. In my days at grammar school in Yonkers, N.Y., and at Norwalk High School, I've heard many inspiring stories of immigrants who came to the United States penniless with little or no knowledge of English and, after years of hard work, became a member of their state legislature -- or even of Congress.

Resignation, which many people favor, is not a viable option for Clinton.

Most Americans agree with me: He is doing a good job for America and should serve out his term.

More importantly, his resignation would merely feed the partisan frenzy.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Jan. 2, 1999. After a year of investigations, hearings and a 21-day impeachment trial, the Senate acquitted Clinton on Feb. 12, 1999 of charges he committed perjury and obstructed justice.

Was Congress Right to Impeach President Clinton?

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Today in History February 12


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    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Despite President Clinton's personal shortcomings, always exploring, he turned out to be a better-than-average chief executive. He wasn't perfect, of course, but he left the Bush Administration a strong economy and a prosperous country. It's a shame that President George W. Bush didn't do the same for President Obama.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      9 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I,m so thrilled i found this article. I was never into politics very much, although i always voted democratic

      because their views were mine, but when they tried to remove President Clinton from office,i rallied to his defense.I admire him so much. I support his work in Africa. What he did was wrong, but none of our business.

      Thank You for writing the truth


    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      I wouldn't chastise you for speaking your mind, lisa, but I do try to avoid expressing anger when addressing right wingers -- only because it's unproductive. You're right about Dan Rather. The information he had was true and correct, it's just that his sources couldn't be verified.

    • lisadpreston profile image


      9 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      OOps, i humbly apologize for spelling that jerk's name wrong. I wrote a comment defending Dan Rather on James A. Watkins' hub "Men of Fox news" It really made me angry. I'm sure you would chastise me for the comment. Sorry, but I had to speak my mind.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Karl Rove was the King of Republican dirty tricks. He started in college and in the 1972 Nixon campaign. The GOP is still very good at it.

    • lisadpreston profile image


      9 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      yea, that damn Carl Rove. He should be a scientist the way he invents stuff.

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      9 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Republicans will invent any excuse to criticize Democrats. Even now they are trying to find a way to impeach President Obama even though they haven't got a scintilla of evidence of any wrongdoing.

    • lisadpreston profile image


      9 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

      I think it is terrible how the president got so much flack over a ----job. Hes just the only one who got caught. If Hilliary didnt mind, why should we?

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      10 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thank you, Godslittlechild.

    • Godslittlechild profile image


      10 years ago

      You are so right! Great hub! Thanks!

    • William F. Torpey profile imageAUTHOR

      William F Torpey 

      11 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

      Thanks, Ralph. It sure would be nice to return to those days of relative peace and prosperity.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      11 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      You got it right!


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