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Bill Clinton Investigation: Congress Deserves the Blame
The Clintons and the Gores
Special Prosecutor Ken Starr
There's no longer any rational scenario that could lead an impartial observer to the conclusion that Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr is objective. But, then again, it's not all his fault.
The real culprit is Congress itself -- and not only Republicans but many Democrats as well.
The creation of an independent special prosecutor was not well thought out by our nation's legislators when the office was created. It is fatally flawed because it leaves the door wide open for political abuse, which could not have been made more clear by the endless investigations of President Clinton.
TV Repetition Ad Nauseum
The growing sensationalism of the media, especially television, magnifies half truths and outright lies at the expense of thoughtful, reasoned evaluation. Commentators, through repetition ad nauseam of unproved accusations, have attempted to sway Americans' opinions against the president.
Many of these same commentators wring their hands over the consistent views expressed by near-record numbers of Americans in various polls that the president continues to be doing his job well. They like to shake their heads and say that Americans, at the same time, do not rate him high on personal ethics (Do you suppose this could be attributed to the constant, unsubstantiated personal attacks?)
Americans Smell a Rat
If there's one thing Americans have been known for over the years it's fairness. Sure, you can fool some of the people some of the time, as (President) Lincoln pointed out, but Americans smell a rat when procedures they normally use are sidestepped.
Here's what's wrong: If you are the victim of wild and unsubstantiated charges, fairness dictates that they first be investigated objectively, and, then, if evidence is uncovered, it is presented to a grand jury to determine whether there should be an indictment.
From the beginning, in Clinton's case, there was no credible evidence of wrongdoing. Nevertheless it was decided to appoint a special prosecutor rather than conduct an objective investigation.
Witch Hunt Authorized
On top of that, the unelected prosecutor was given great powers and funds -- not to objectively determine whether there was evidence of a crime, but rather to search and keep searching for anything he could find. And, obviously, if he can't find anything, he can just keep looking -- and not worry about how long it takes or how much money it costs.
Some people react to the constant and repeated accusations by believing there must be some truth to some of them in the same way that some people read of someone's arrest and believe the accused must be guilty or the police would not have made an arrest. But that's why we have trials; not everyone tried is found guilty.
Do you suppose Starr will keep his investigation going right up to Election Day?
Congress should rethink the special prosecutor legislation and, heaven forefend, remove politics from the whole procedure. Or at least allow investigations to wend their way through the normal and proper legislative process.
I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on May 9, 1998. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages.