An Agenda at the Clinton Library

I conducted research at the Bill Clinton Library this week for my project on spiritual advisers to presidents. In the documents, I found what I expected to find, namely that some of those spiritual advisers were decidedly liberal in their theology and politics, thereby giving “cover,” so to speak, for the policies Clinton put forward, including his agenda for the acceptance of homosexuality in our society as normal.

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The research room staff was professional and nice to work with. The cafe is absolutely superb; wonderful atmosphere and truly great food. The museum is also professionally arranged and is set up in such a way that you can easily go from one exhibit to another with some continuity.

The political agenda, though, is of different spirit than what I’ve seen at other presidential libraries. Naturally, any presidential library is going to showcase what the supporters believe are the strengths of that particular president. What makes the Clinton Library unique is the way it attacks his political adversaries. This showed up especially in the exhibit about the impeachment. Search though you may, you will not find one word about anything he may have done to lead to that impeachment. No, it was all a witch hunt.

I took some pictures to illustrate. Note how they even emphasize some words with highlighting. I didn’t do that; they want to draw attention to certain phrases. In this “explanation,” it is the Republicans who have an ideological agenda (which Clinton, of course, never had) and who refused to compromise, causing government shutdowns. I have a different interpretation of that period, but I’ll not inject it right now. What I want you to see is how the controversy is framed here.

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Then there’s this one:

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Now we learn that the “New Right” is responsible for an increase in personal attacks. Nothing, however, is said about Clinton’s personal behavior that might have led to what his partisans consider “personal attacks.” Notice that most of those attacks were merely based on “rumors and accusations” without foundation. Republicans are charged with trying to undermine Clinton’s popular policies by pushing the “politics of personal destruction.”

That phrase even gets its own heading:

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Visitors to the museum now find out that Clinton’s motives, morals, and patriotism were unfairly questioned. Excuse me?  On the morals issue, I think there is some basis, is there not? By linking that with patriotism, though, it makes all the accusations appear ridiculous. Note the words highlighted in this one: “character assassination” and “new, aggressive tactics,” as if politics has always been of the highest integrity, but now the evil Republicans have changed all that.

The slant is so blatant, without any acknowledgement that there may have been some basis for investigations and possible impeachment, that it is historically unsound.

May I suggest a book that spells out the valid reasons for the impeachment proceedings? My book, Mission: Impeachable–The House Managers and the Historic Impeachment of President Clinton, while now out of print, is still available as a used book on Amazon. I interviewed all thirteen of the congressmen who argued for his impeachment, and you won’t find animosity in any of their stories. They felt they were simply doing their duty to remain faithful to the Constitution.

I also came across this interesting letter from Mother Teresa to Hillary Clinton. It is very nice and complimentary, primarily because that was her character. Yet they had a profound disagreement on abortion. Read these words, and when you get to the last line, I think you might be able to see something behind those words, if you know about this disagreement.

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When she writes, “There is so much good you can do if you listen to God in the silence of your heart,” I think she is hoping God will reveal the truth to Hillary about the holocaust of innocent lives in the womb. Thus far, that plea has gone unheard. Listening to the Spirit’s promptings has not become part of her life.

Is Impeachment an Option Now?

Today, I would like to address impeachment. It’s a word being bandied about currently, although more often by Democrats than Republicans, simply because they find it politically useful as a scare tactic, “informing” their supporters that Republicans are evil—that they are essentially racists who hate having a black president.

ImpeachAs a historian and a student of constitutionalism, I understand why impeachment was included in the Constitution. It is a safeguard against those in the executive and judicial branches who flagrantly abuse their office.

If you look at the history of impeachment as it existed in Britain and was carried over to the United States, you have to acknowledge that it is a political tool to curb abuse, and it’s not necessary for the accused to be found guilty of breaking a law. Poor character and a policy of deception that undermines faith in the government are also valid reasons for impeachment and removal from office.

It has been used selectively, primarily against federal judges. Only once has an impeachment of a Supreme Court justice been pursued—Thomas Jefferson tried, unsuccessfully, to remove Samuel Chase from the Court. However, a number of judges below the Supreme Court level have lost their positions through impeachment.

In my opinion, this tool should be used more often against federal judges who violate their oath to uphold the Constitution. Whenever a federal judge decides to declare his/her own law, such as decreeing that same-sex marriage is perfectly constitutional, that judge should be a target for impeachment.

Nixon ResignationAt the presidential level, though, it will always be difficult to impeach. We’ve tried twice and failed. Andrew Johnson squeaked by his impeachment trial by one vote; Bill Clinton remained in office only because not even one Democrat would vote for his removal, despite despicable behavior that demeaned the office of the presidency in a way seldom achieved throughout our history. Richard Nixon would have been impeached if it had come to a vote, but he resigned before that was necessary.

ImpeachableI’m a fan of impeachment in principle. However, there are political realities. We always have to decide if an attempt to remove a president is feasible, or if it will do more harm than good if unsuccessful. No one should question my fidelity to the Constitution or to the value of impeachment. For evidence, I offer my book on the Clinton impeachment. There are times it must be attempted, and I continue to honor those who made that attempt in 1999.

Which brings me to the moment at hand. I’ve heard a number of conservatives, who are justifiably angry over the abundance of unconstitutional actions by President Obama, call for impeachment. They are correct in principle: he, far more than any previous president, has violated his constitutional oath. His goal of transforming America into an image spawned from his own anti-colonial, Marxist foundations, has done substantial damage to this country.

But I’m also opposed, at this time, to any move toward impeachment. I realize I run the risk of being called unprincipled. I beg to differ. Wisdom is never unprincipled.

Obama-ConstitutionFirst, please tell me how we get 67 senators to vote for his removal? If you can convince me on that point, I will be on board. However, as in the case against Clinton, it will be virtually impossible, short of the president murdering someone on live television. Democrats will circle the wagon no matter how disgruntled they are with him.

Then there’s the media. We have to be realistic about how this will be portrayed. As I noted above, the race card will be played incessantly. All you have to do is look at the Ferguson fiasco. You have a thug who robbed a store, then fought with a policeman for his gun, then charged the policeman with intent to harm/kill. What has he become? Some kind of hero. It’s a fantasy, but one that has fanned the flames of violence. What violence might we see if Obama goes through an impeachment process? The media will ensure it, as it comes to his aid.

All the time taken up for impeachment will be a drain on any genuine efforts to curtail Obama’s incipient tyranny. Based on principle, I say that Republicans need, instead, to focus their attention on any and all measures that will keep this president from achieving his aims. What to do?

  • Defund any government agency that is tasked with carrying out his unconstitutional actions.
  • Pass bills, now that Republicans will control both houses of Congress, that will put us back on the path to constitutionalism; if Obama vetoes them, he will be responsible, and all will see his disdain for the rule of law. He’s never been made to take stands before because the Senate, under Harry Reid, protected him from having to decide on proposed bills by never allowing votes on them.
  • Push for lawsuits against his disregard for the Constitution, to show the public just how he has tried to set himself up as a petty dictator.
  • Begin impeachment proceedings against key federal judges who have allowed the government to run amuck.
  • Actively work with the movement to call for a Convention of the States (as authorized in the Constitution) to draft amendments to the Constitution that will further limit the power of those who seek to undermine liberty.
  • Become effective at educating the American people on the principles that form the foundation of our government and the need to abide by those principles.

I’m sure there are more options I haven’t thought of, but those are a start. We will be far more effective if we concentrate our efforts on measures like these rather than pursue an impeachment course that will only end in failure.

It is principled to take steps toward constitutionalism; it is foolishness to take a step that will waste time and energy and ultimately lead to political disaster. It may feel good to vent our frustration via impeachment, but what will it actually accomplish? Unfortunately, I believe it will harm efforts to reverse the course of our government.

I know there will be those who disagree with my assessment, and if anyone can offer valid arguments to offset what I’ve said, I will certainly listen. Right now, though, this is where I stand, and I believe it is a principled stand.

America’s Nero?

So now we’re sending humanitarian aid—finally—to those displaced in Iraq by the bloodthirsty ISIS terrorist organization. And we’re dropping a few bombs on ISIS positions. I wonder how many Americans have been fooled into thinking this somehow represents decisive action? I don’t recall which military spokesman it was, but someone in the last day or two clearly stated that our pinprick policy of bombing wasn’t going to put any real dent in the ISIS forward movement.

Back when President Obama was being questioned about this rising threat to Iraq’s stability, he dismissed ISIS as the “junior varsity” compared to Al Qaeda. Well, it appears he was somewhat shortsighted in his dismissal.

Life's a Beach

While he’s “busy” vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard, reports now indicate ISIS is far more threatening than Al Qaeda at its peak. It’s better funded, better organized, and has set up what it calls an Islamic State in what was a section of Iraq. Our leader never saw this coming:

Islamic State

For Obama, of course, the most important thing is never to get America involved again in Iraq. Circumstances, though, may foil his plans:

Dragged

No matter where one looks with respect to the Obama foreign policy, one sees American retreat from leadership and the looming threat of more terrorist attacks here at home. With the congressional elections coming up soon, Democrats are scrambling to disassociate themselves from the presumed head of their party:

Run

Even Hillary Clinton, already transparently running for the top job, is attempting to put some distance between herself and her former boss:

What Difference

That’s going to be a hard sell. After all, she was his secretary of state, responsible for enacting all aspects of his foreign policy. She can’t legitimately claim to be separate from his policies. Her best hope is the collective amnesia of the average American voter.

Obama has demonstrated such a high level of incompetence that, coupled with his unconstitutional power grabs and the use of government agencies to attack political opponents, it’s no wonder the “I” word is being bandied about. Republican leaders are aware that Democrats seek to use that to gain sympathy for Obama and reverse the electoral tide this November. That’s why Republicans, on the whole, are not falling for a strategy that has no hope of success in the Democrat-controlled Senate, no matter how eager Democrats are for them to take the bait:

The I Word

So, in a perverse sort of way, it’s Democrats who are pushing the impeachment talk. Even Obama himself wants to use it for his advantage:

To Get Impeached

Right. As if that’s ever going to happen.

Meanwhile, our own Nero continues to play his figurative fiddle while all around us burns.

The Border & the Rule of Law

We have a border and illegal immigration crisis. Some want to reframe it as a humanitarian crisis. It has become that, but only because of the greater crisis that faces us—the breakdown of the rule of law. Unfortunately, this breakdown is being propagated at the top. When the chief executive authority in a country doesn’t take the country’s laws seriously, we have a crisis:

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President Obama says all the right words about Congress needing to act, but that’s just an act itself. Given the option, I’m sure he would prefer to rule unilaterally without any Congress to get in his way:

Congress Widget

Of course, when he does act unilaterally, as he has done and as he is now threatening to do with the illegal immigration issue, he’s reverting to the threat he uttered weeks ago:

Have a Pen

Why be bothered by a silly old document written more than 200 years ago? Why worry about overstepping boundaries set up by men who had studied the mechanics of government for many years? Besides, who’s going to stop him? With the Senate in his pocket—at least temporarily—and a disdain for the rule of law, he is free to do whatever he desires. He doesn’t really need to worry about impeachment, since there won’t ever be 2/3 of senators who will go along with it, no matter what reasonable arguments are put forward:

Completely Incompetent

Well, actually, a president can be impeached for complete incompetence. There just aren’t enough votes for it presently.

What’s going to happen with the border? I predict Obama will act unilaterally to provide amnesty to millions, the rule of law will become a joke on this issue, and the chaos will only increase. Our temporal salvation lies in enough citizens becoming aware and concerned about this drift. In November, we’ll find out how many have awakened from their slumber.

The Incredible Shrinking President

Barack Obama has been a media creation from the start. All the hype was exactly that—image and public relations. Whatever substance did exist was birthed in the communist upbringing he received from his parents and grandparents, in the radical environs of Columbia and Harvard, and on the streets carrying out the subversive vision of Saul Alinsky.

He also brought to the office of the presidency a disdain for the rule of law and the Constitution. The office he holds means very little to him except as a vehicle to transform America via his own radical agenda. The only reason America still exists today, after more than five years of his tenure, is due to two factors: first, the government set up by the Founders is not as easily dispensed with as Obama supposed; second, he is, by his own admission, rather lazy. Let’s add “incompetent” to the laundry list of flaws. Those character deficiencies have stalled the descent into the abyss, so we should be grateful for them.

On the world stage, Obama has become nearly a non-entity. His word means virtually nothing; no one pays attention anymore because they’ve seen him in inaction and know they have nothing to fear:

Shrinking President

He keeps a hectic schedule, to be sure, but everything is either a photo op, a round of golf, or another fundraiser:

Seal of President

Fundraiser-in-Chief might be a more appropriate title for him. While it’s true that the White House goes with him, in a sense, wherever he goes, and no president is ever out of touch with what’s happening, it’s becoming obvious even to the most avid Obama defenders that he doesn’t really like the responsibilities that go along with being president. He’d rather absent himself as much as possible:

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Then there are all those nagging scandals that he would like to ignore. They’re getting harder to run away from:

Not Transparent

A Republican president would have been impeached by now. Interestingly, Obama and his adherents are using the threat of impeachment to stir up the base and raise even more money. They think if Republicans take the bait and attempt to impeach him, it will only help Democrats in the coming election.

By the way, they’re right.

Since impeachment is impossible, given the current composition of the Senate, it’s best for Republicans to avoid that trap. They will make greater inroads in November by continuing to remind the public just how ideologically radical, lazy, incompetent, and scandal-plagued this president is.

The Impeachment Option

We’re hearing the “I” word more often now. Sarah Palin came out publicly to call on Congress to take its impeachment powers seriously with respect to President Obama. I know of at least one organization, for which I have tremendous respect, also working diligently to make that happen. The case that is presented is compelling on its face. We have a president who has practically ripped the Constitution to shreds in so many ways I have lost count. All his talk about there not being even a smidgen of corruption in his administration is laughable, and hopefully more Americans are having the blinders removed from their eyes:

Home to Roost

If ever anyone should be removed from office for malfeasance, Barack Obama is a prime candidate.

Yet I cannot support the move toward impeachment at this time.

Why not? It isn’t remotely possible and will only come back to damage the good that can be done potentially in the upcoming elections. Let me explain both concerns.

First, impeachment might pass the House because Republicans are the majority, but then the articles of impeachment must go to the Senate for the purpose of removal from office. The Constitution’s impeachment provision says that two-thirds of the senators must vote for removal. The Democrats control the Senate. Harry Reid will never even allow a vote to take place, and even if he does, can anyone really honestly argue that two-thirds of that body is going to vote to remove him from his position? Twenty-two Democrat senators would have to “betray” their president for that to happen, and no matter how perturbed some of them might be with him, they would never allow Republicans to achieve such a victory. There are also some Republican senators who would never vote to remove him; they are too compromised and/or “civilized” to ever line up with colleagues they would consider to be extremists. Any impeachment battle is a foregone defeat.

Second, it will possible lead to defeat in another way. The battle for control of the Senate is upon us. The odds are looking good—actually, even probable—that come January 2015, Harry Reid will no longer have his way in that chamber. Most prognosticators are predicting a Republican takeover of the Senate this November. An impeachment move, at this time, would be the perfect distraction that all Democrats would welcome. The segment of the population that is ignorant of what’s really happening in D.C. would not be ignorant of the impeachment attempt. It would be painted as a mean-spirited move against the first African American president. The racial angle would be played to the hilt, anger would grow on the Left, and they would come out to vote in numbers higher than expected, thereby possibly giving key Senate races to Democrats who wouldn’t have won under normal circumstances.

The focus this year must be on the Senate. If Republicans control both houses of Congress, added pressure will be put upon this administration to back down from its more ambitious plans. Further, it’s the Senate that confirms federal judges, all the way to the Supreme Court. Only a Republican-controlled Senate has any hope of curtailing Obama’s onslaught of appointed judges who share his political ideology. Those federal judges are appointed for life; they do more damage long-term than any president is capable of doing.

ImpeachableLest anyone think I’ve gone soft, let me remind you that I was a firm supporter of the impeachment of President Clinton. At the time, Republicans controlled the Senate and only had to bring over twelve Democrats to their side to effectively remove him from office. Although that attempt failed, I was inspired enough by the congressmen who laid it all on the line to argue for his removal that I interviewed each one of the thirteen House managers and wrote a book that allowed them to give their reasons for making the attempt. It all came down to principle: no man is above the law. That book is now out of print, but you can still get good used copies via Amazon.

Emotionally, I agree with those who favor impeachment. Obama deserves to be impeached and removed from office. So by not supporting this move, am I unprincipled? No, I’m simply trying to advance constitutional principles by another route: take back the Senate and throw up as many roadblocks as possible against all of this president’s unconstitutional actions. That’s the best way—and the only practical way—to rein him in.

We must be wise.

What About Impeachment?

Talk of impeachment is beginning. President Obama’s latest power grab, declaring publicly that he will act without Congress to get done what he considers his priorities, is rankling those who are committed to the delicate separation of powers established by the Constitution. Is this just talk? Are there sufficient grounds for impeachment? Is it even politically feasible?

Impeaching a president is a big step. Two presidents have been formally impeached: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. A third, Richard Nixon, resigned before it could come to a full vote in the House of Representatives. To be impeached simply means to be accused by a majority of the House of actions warranting removal from office. In both cases when the House approved articles of impeachment, neither president was removed from office after a trial in the Senate. The Senate has the final say on articles of impeachment, and in the case of a president, two-thirds of that body must vote for removal.

The vote for Johnson’s removal was very close. It fell just one vote short, so he completed his term, which was less than a year anyway. For Clinton, a Republican-controlled Senate had a majority for removal, but not the two-thirds necessary; not even one Democrat joined the Republicans in favor of turning the White House over to VP Al Gore.

If you study the history of impeachment proceedings, both in Britain and America, you find that causes for removal from office can range from actual violations of law to non-criminal activity that simply brings disgrace and/or dishonor to the office. It’s not essential to find that someone has broken a law; if continuation in office is deemed to be detrimental to the proper functioning of the government, that is sufficient grounds for dismissal.

Because the Clinton impeachment is so near to us historically, that’s what most people will use as their comparison with the current president. What were Clinton’s actions that led to the impeachment? He was formally accused of perjury and obstruction of justice, both violations of law. In the background, of course, were his unseemly sexual inclinations. At the time, accusations of sexual relations with a young woman working in the White House and a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by a former Arkansas state employee formed the context for his violations. The whole thing was tawdry. I was in favor of his impeachment and removal due to the dishonor he conferred upon the presidency, not just because I disagreed with his political agenda.

ImpeachableAfter the Senate trial ended in his acquittal, I interviewed all the House Managers who argued before the Senate for his removal. It led to a book that gave their side of the story. Nowadays, conventional wisdom says they were wrong and/or foolish to proceed with the impeachment. Even though the Senate had a majority of Republicans, getting the two-thirds vote was considered a real long shot. However, I thought it was worth the fight, if for no other reason than to stand for principle. There was at least a glimmer of hope for success, given that Republicans did control that chamber.

My interviews also revealed to me a group of congressmen who fought this fight for the sake of principle: no man, not even a president, is above the law. Everyone is equal before the law, and all must be held accountable. I continue to honor them today for the stand they took.

So what about President Obama? There are two considerations: has he committed impeachable offenses and is there any realistic hope that impeachment proceedings will result in his removal from office?

On the first consideration, I am of the decided opinion that he has overstepped the lawful boundaries of his authority on many occasions. He is currently attempting to rule by executive orders, a clear violation of the constitutional limitations on a president. With respect to the IRS targeting of his political foes, is there anyone who, deep down, believes this was the result of a few rogue agents who acted without the approval—either directly or with a smile and a nod—of the president? Using a federal agency to undermine political opposition is the very thing Nixon was accused of. Democrats, at that time, didn’t think it was unjust to use that as a reason for impeachment.

Obama Arrogant Look 3Then there’s Benghazi. Regardless of whether the military could have gotten there in time to help the besieged, the massive coverup afterwards is reprehensible. Blaming the attack on some obscure video when it’s obvious now that Obama and everyone else around him knew it was a planned terrorist action, is inexcusable. Throwing the producer of the video in prison was unconscionable. And doing it all during an election season to hide the truth from an electorate deciding whether to keep Obama in office was deception of the highest order.

So, yes, he has committed clearly impeachable offenses. His disregard for the Constitution seems limitless; his desire to do whatever is necessary to remain in power renders him unfit for the office.

But that brings us to the second consideration: is there a realistic hope that the Senate actually would remove him? I don’t think there’s any hope of that at all. Not only is the Senate controlled by his own party, it is more bitterly partisan now than ever. If not even one Democrat senator could bring himself or herself to vote to remove Bill Clinton from office, how is there any reasonable expectation that twenty-two of them would do so today? Any impeachment proceeding against Barack Obama would be futile.

So what can be done?

First, I applaud Sen. Rand Paul’s lawsuit against the president over the misuse of the NSA’s intelligence-gathering. How about some more lawsuits aimed at the president’s unconstitutional power grabs? Not all the courts are corrupt. There are still some judges out there who revere the rule of law.

Second, focus laser-like on the upcoming congressional elections. If Republicans can take back the Senate, and if a few more of those senators can grow the spines they currently lack, legislation can be passed to curtail unconstitutional activities. Yes, the president will veto all such legislation, but this will be a vital educational experience for the general public as they see a president flaunting the law so openly.

Education of the public in the principle of rule of law will provide an opening for a Republican presidential candidate who has the stomach and integrity to stand for what is right. If Republicans can unite behind a bold, principled leader, there remains a hope that the present drift of the nation politically can be turned around.

I realize a lot has to come together to make this happen. I’m not naïve. And at the root of any great reversal of national fortunes must be a spiritual revival that calls people back to foundational truths. Although we need to take the proper steps in the political realm, ultimate success rests with a Biblically grounded people. Will we be such a people?