editorial—August 17, 1998

Subpoena His Ass
GIt ain't over, yet.

No matter how much President Clinton's morally-bankrupt sycophants wish it to be otherwise, Monday's half-hearted apology to the American public will not end either the investigation or the scandal. By refusing to answer material questions about the details of his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Clinton has once again abused the power of his office for personal gain.

Special Prosecutor Ken Starr granted the President a generous amount of special treatment by allowing testimony from the comfort and security of his home. In return, Clinton has shown unforgivable contempt for the rule of law that is critical to a health of our democracy. His apology is but a diversion intended to create a public perception of closure to an issue which is on the verge of an explosion. The real story is in the details of today's testimony -- especially the questions he refused.

Starr must issue an immediate subpoena to drag Clinton before the court in person. The president will then have a simple choice. He can appear before the court alone -- without the comfort of a bevy of personal lawyers -- and face justice in the same manner required of every other American. Alternately, he can continue to defy the rule of law, suspend the Constitution and order tanks into the streets of Washington. There is no other choice.

Expecting public forgiveness while refusing to answer questions is an unacceptable response. Clinton's defense that he refused questions due to their personal nature is irrelevant. He made such questions relevant by splitting hairs about the definition of sex in his Paula Jones case deposition.

Clinton insulted the public by saying that Starr's investigation "has gone on too long" and has "cost too much." By admitting to misleading statements regarding Lewinsky, Clinton has effectively admitted delaying the investigation. This amounts to a taxpayer cost for Clinton's perjury of over $5 million, based on Clinton attorney David Kendall's figures.1

Whether impeached or not, Clinton must be personally required to pay this cost. A precedent was set last year when House Speaker Newt Gingrich was forced to repay a $300,000 investigation of his financial dealings. The President must be held to the same standard.

In the end, financial concerns should be the least of the Presidents worries. Until tonight, Clinton had several opportunities to end the Lewinsky investigation honorably. If he truly wished to protect himself and his family, he should have either resigned or continued to deny any inappropriate conduct. If he wished to protect his position in the office of the President, he should have told the whole truth seven months ago.

Clinton chose to take the worst of all paths. He lied for seven months, gave a half-baked apology, and made an affront to the rule of law. If Clinton does not repent for this latest and most serious offense, the urgency of his impeachment will be too strong to ignore.

Related Web Columns:
Pardoning "Schmucko"
Who Cares If the President is a Liar?
, January 17, 1998

Related Editorials:
Disemboweling Your Friends, March 18, 1998

  1. Washington Post Online, August 17, 1998, "Clinton Acknowledges 'Inappropriate' Sexual Relationship, Will Speak at 10 p.m."

    David Kendall estimated the cost of the Starr investigation at $40 million. A straight line estimate of the expendature over the last seven months would total over $5 million.