Clinton's Misdeeds Are Not 'High Crimes'


Observing the impeachment hysteria taking place in Washington and your publisher's latest editorial in favor of President Clinton's impeachment, I wonder how many realize the long-term impact this may have on the stability of our political system. Put aside for a moment the individual, Bill Clinton. At the most, in two years he will be gone. Think about the presidency and the balance of powers so essential to our form of government.

The Constitution sets very high requirements for the impeachment of a president so as to preclude the instability of capricious removal for less than the most serious of offenses. The Constitution states them as "Treason", Bribery or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors." Note that it states "OTHER" high crimes or misdemeanors, clearly implying that they should be of a level comparable to treason or bribery.

I do not think you will find in the Constitution, or in any authoritative constitutional commentary on the subject, inclusion of the kind of misdeeds that President Clinton is accused of. Nor will you find as grounds for impeachment, disagreement with presidential policies, disgust with a president's personal morals, or loathing of a president.

Assuming everything the independent council's report has dished up as true, it clearly does not rise to the level of impeachment. Nor will he ever be convicted by the Senate, I feel quite sure, where cooler heads and a two thirds vote requirement will prevail.

In the meantime, over the continuing months of travail, what anguish will the country suffer? What precedents will be set by those whose personal hatred has clouded their responsibility to preserve and protect our form of government? In the future, will we find the bar against impeachment set even lower to cater to the particular passions of the moment?

Having lived and worked abroad in various countries, I have seen up close the kind of political discourse and process that I hope never to see become the norm here.

Elmer J. Kreutzer

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