The Clinton Presidency
Few presidents in USA history have incensed the public to such a degree that the people demanded that those men relinquish their command and endure the impeachment process.
For decades, the office of president in the United States of America carried with it the distinguishing sentiment of the noblest of moral character—being that the president and his family represent the first of families in the nation: hence, the title First Lady for his wife and First Family for any children included in a marriage union.
In the United States, citizens expect the president to have a wife and maybe children. Americans expect the president to be a model of the nuclear family, which is an American icon of which life should consist for all citizens.
William or Bill Clinton’s private appetites introduced to society the hidden life of the passion of presidents and other leaders. From his indiscretion and impropriety, a new culture of “The Truth about (insert a historical figure’s name here)” asserted itself relegating past national heroes into regular fallible people.
From that initial expose came the “secret” records of a number of past icons in US history.
The idealistic sentiments of the nation diminished with the lack luster statement of President Clinton when he utter the words, “I did not have sex with that woman” on national television and introduced oral copulation to a budding generation of children, including the author.
Former President Bill Clinton violated the public trust in an intangible way that will effect generations in ways that have already and will continue to change the way Americans view politicians—though the lens of cynicism
The Breach of Trust
Monica Lewinski entered former president Clinton’s life during a time of legal controversy. The former president already faced legal issues about his pre-presidential investments and extra-marital encounters now part of US political history—namely the four-year Ken Starr investigation of the Clinton family which helped to publicize the Paula Jones allegation of sexual impropriety.
Clinton and Lewinski participated intimately without the marriage covenant for an estimated 18 months before the affair received attention and use to begin the impeachment process. What Clinton did with Lewinski did receive rave and negative attention worldwide embarrassing the American people; however, his marital indiscretion is not what alone immortalized him as the infamous president.
Lying under oath, his accusers insist, is what lauded the cry of impeachment and further stained the American trust for all American politicians. The impeachable act came to view as the result of ongoing investigation, which eventually included the extra-marital affair. He lied under oath
Presidents Congress put through impeachment proceedings
# of Presidents
Elected and Sitting Presidents
Articles of Impeachment
All the legalism involved in the Clinton saga led to the third impeachment process in US history and the first of an elected president, being that the other two impeachment processes following the Lincoln assassination and Nixon Watergate fiasco, one rose to the presidency from the vice presidency—unelected and the other left office respectively.
The House of Representative voted to impeach the president of the United states regarding “Clinton's minor transgressions” (Linder) as the Judiciary Committee referred to his perjury at the time and detach them “from those [transgressions] that might form the basis for articles of impeachment” (Linder).
As the proceedings continued, the Judiciary Committee agreed to submit four articles upon which impeachment proceedings would rest as decided before the Senate, two of which considered in the actual trial.
The charge against the president as a perjurer was to convince the Senate that the crimes he committed were of a nature as to make him unable to perform the office of president. Because of his perjury, his opponents insisted, according to the Articles of Impeachment quoted by The History Place that he
“has engaged in conduct that resulted in misuse and abuse of his high office, impaired the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, and contravened the authority of the legislative branch and the truth-seeking purpose of a coordinate investigative proceeding….”
Beside the allegations of his impropriety there existed an extreme partisan effort in the House of Representatives to win with an appeal to honor against Clinton’s lawyers as is evident in the closing statement before the Senate of Henry Hyde stating in part “…And now let us all take our place in history on the side of honor, and, oh, yes, let right be done” (Apple Jr.).
The House went through the congressional process to impeach Clinton amid protestations of his political party only to give him a congressional censure because of his perjury—a case that took a sizeable portion of the president’s second term in office.
As Clinton confronted the turmoil in Iraq and relished the prosperity of the economy, the House of Representatives took a bold step to try to impeach a popular president. Opinion polls condemned President Clinton’s actions, but applauded his handling of the country and did not favor as a majority the impeachment process, even if perjury occurred.
What Happened Again?
- Pre-presidential Scandal (Whitewater Controversy)
- Sex Scandal (pre-presidential and presidential - Lewinsky and Others)
- Impeachment for perjury (Acquitted though a majority vote for removal 50 in favor and 17 short of 2/3 majority (67))
What Do You Think?
Do you think that Bill Clinton betrayed America's TRUST by cheating on his wife and lying under oath?
Resolution of the Process
In order for the completion of the process to occur, the Senate would need to conclude with a majority no less than 67 of the 100 senators, which at the time there were 55 of one party and 45 of the other.
Potentially if the 55 voted for impeachment based on the evidence presented it would take another 12 of the other party to win the day. The process from the beginning hinged on the partisan lines; however, in the Senate, the passionate acridity did not exist among that body.
The Senate ruled with a majority in favor of impeachment without the required 67 votes. The impeachment proceedings ended and the president served the remainder of his term.
The majority of the leaders of the Congress thought to remove Clinton from office for perjury concluding that his statements were high crimes and misdemeanors as purported in the Constitution as grounds for impeachment. Congress did not impeach the president, but the president did perjure himself and suffered no consequences for so doing.
In retrospect, because of the prosperity of the president and the efforts of his supporters, society at large decided to overlook Clinton’s crime of perjury. The damage to the moral fabric of the nation will take time to surface.
Perjury is a crime among the common citizens of the US, but for the elected leaders of the nation, there exists a small window of hope that media influence can win a pardon from the crime—if there is a benefit that outweighs conviction for the guilty.
© 2013 Rodric Anthony Johnson