Jewish World Review Oct. 2, 2000 / 3 Tishrei, 5761
Clintonís fragmented presidency
WE NEED to take the White House back. No, Iím not talking about the selling of the
Lincoln bedroom or the debasement of the Oval Office. The American people need to recapture the
Presently, the executive branch is bereft of leadership and out of control. It is being
held hostage to the political interests of Bill Clinton. The resulting chaos is a national
Surely even Clintonís defenders would agree that he is nothing if not a consummate
political animal. From his incessant use of polls to formulate policy to his exploitation of
gun tragedies, from sabotaging his own Medicare task force to orchestrating government
shutdowns for partisan advantage, Clinton consistently puts politics above principle.
The framers considered, but rejected the idea of multiple presidents. They understood
the importance of a single, energetic president speaking with one voice.
Repeatedly, President Clinton has permitted dissenting voices to disintegrate the
slightest appearance of unity in the executive branch.
Take Hillaryís Senate run. The very idea of a first lady running for high office and
subjecting the interests of the presidency to internal conflicts of interest would have been
unimaginable before this narcissistic couple graced the White House.
Before some of you get your backs up, Iím not referring to any gender thing here. The
same thing would apply if Hillary were president and Bill were the First Husband -- but while
weíre at it, perish that thought.
Remember when candidate Hillary was urging President Bill to grant clemency to the FALN
Puerto Rican terrorists? Do you recall them pretending to communicate through their public
press releases and insisting they werenít discussing the matter privately, while they were
weekending at Camp David? It is more than unseemly for such disharmony to emanate from the
Since the self-indulgent Clintons got away with it, candidate Al Gore thought heíd try
it, too. So he publicly lobbied President Bill to release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve --
while Iím sure the two never discussed it in private. Doubtlessly stricken by the utter novelty
of Goreís ingenious suggestion, Clinton agreed to release the surplus oil.
Next, we had the president himself, publicly contradicting his top two officials in the
executive branch, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh, about the handling
of the Wen Ho Lee case and Leeís pretrial incarceration. Political Bill apparently experienced
an irresistible impulse to distance himself from Judge James A. Parkerís stinging rebuke of the
Justice Department and the FBI for misleading him and mistreating Lee. Then, we learned about
candidate Hillary pandering to Chinese-Americans in New York, decrying stereotyping and
discrimination in the Lee case. Hillary reportedly told her sympathetic audience that
government officials ought not to let their racial prejudices and anti-Chinese emotions
interfere with their duties.
Hillary made her disparaging remarks about her husbandís top executive officials just a
few days before some of those same officials were defending their treatment of Lee in testimony
before a Senate Judiciary Committee task force. James Robinson, head of the Justice
Departmentís criminal division, said the judgeís criticisms were misguided because he was
unaware of the extent of plea-bargaining that occurred with Lee. Attorney General Reno went
further. ďDr. Lee is no hero. He is not an absentminded professor. He committed a very serious
calculated crime, and he pled guilty to it,Ē she said.
Well, which is it, Mr. President? Is Lee a victim of racial profiling or a traitor? As
long as Bill Clinton is president it will be impossible for us to sort out the truth among the
disparate voices. The Lee case is a good illustration of the importance of leadership and
character in the chief executive. Above all else, we must be able to trust our president on
national security issues. But we cannot.
Can you imagine what would happen in a major company if top-level executives and
spouses were forever publicly undermining the CEOís authority? Heads would roll.
They wonít roll at the White House, though, because President Clinton is deliberately
allowing the dissemination of inconsistent messages. One way or another, disunity serves his
various political purposes.
Itís time to reunify the executive branch. Itís time to restore leadership and trust to
Pennsylvania Avenue. Hopefully, help is on the
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