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Looking back on the impeachment of Bill Clinton
Our country is still feeling the consequences of brushing aside Clinton's personal immorality with Lewinsky and the crimes he committed trying to cover it up.
Last month, we passed the 25th anniversary of the Drudge Report revealing the Monica Lewinsky scandal to the press. The scandal would eventually lead to Bill Clinton's impeachment, though he escaped being removed from office when the United States senate failed to convict him. There was no real chance of removing Clinton from office because no Democrats would vote to convict.
A quarter century later, do I still think this effort was worthwhile? Yes, I do. I wrote in support of impeachment back then, and I would do it all over again if I had the chance to do it. Clinton should have been removed from office for his flagrant disregard of the law. Clinton committed perjury in a sexual harassment case. He also committed obstruction of justice and abuse of power to hide his sexual relationship with Lewinsky from the public and from the court.
The aspect of the case that got attention twenty years later but was largely ignored at the time by "feminists" more interested in political influence than their alleged "principles" was the power differential between the leader of the free world and a White House intern who was 27 years younger than he was. Bill Clinton exploited a young woman who knew her career was in his hands and that her future prospects could well hinge on this adultery. The same "feminists" who (correctly) had made sexual harassment a major political issue suddenly did not care about the predatory behavior of the President of these United States.
It is also important to take all of the other Clinton scandals into context. The Whitewater scandal, the Travel Office scandal and the cattle futures scandal were all out there, but the worst by far was the FBI files scandal. The Clinton administration had gathered hundreds of FBI files, many on political opponents. What exactly was Clinton going to do with these files, and what would have have done with them had the files not been discovered? Did Clinton have an "enemies list" like Richard Nixon did?
The biggest reason I think this was worthwhile, even though it failed, was the long-term negative effects on the nation of Clinton's petulant attitude and the Democrats' stubborn embrace of him. The Southern Baptist Convention passed this in 1998, and this particular section remains relevant today:
Tolerance of serious wrong by leaders sears the conscience of the culture, spawns unrestrained immorality and lawlessness in the society, and surely results in God’s judgment (1 Kings 16:30; Isaiah 5:18-25)
The Clinton impeachment broke our country and broke our politics in important ways. Many of the very same Republicans who fought hardest for Clinton's impeachment in 1998 later abandoned their position on the importance of character and excused serious wrongdoing. Hypocrisy is expected among politicians, but it was much worse when "christian" issue advocacy groups did the same. Now, no one cares about character. The Left derides those who argue for good moral character as "Bible thumpers" while the New Right derides those same people as "losers" and "cucks" who do not know how to win.
Character does matter, and our country is still feeling the consequences of brushing aside Clinton's personal immorality with Lewinsky and the crimes he committed trying to cover it up. There is hope, and there is time to repent - both in our personal lives and how we vote in primary and general elections. We should continue to pray for repentance and mercy, and for courage and faith for the few remaining leaders who actually hold up character as something that matters in leadership.
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