On this day in 1998 was the Bill Clinton impeachment by the Republican controlled House of Representatives. It was for perjury and obstruction of justice. Basically, he lied about an unfortunate little affair that he had with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. It showed bad judgement on Clinton’s part. But I wonder just how many men — especially of the kind with the inclination to become president — would have done any different. My guess is that it is damned few. And that’s especially true of the Republican men who impeached him.
Two charges that failed in the House were a different instance of perjury and “abuse of power.” This is pretty interesting, I think. On the one substantive charge of abuse of power, it failed even in the House — and by a big margin: 148-285. I’m not sure what they were thinking. But even then, there were clearly 148 votes to convict Bill Clinton (or any other Democrat) of anything that they could. These are the dead-enders. The strange thing is that I don’t think there are really many more today.
But what did they think they were getting out of this? The Clinton impeachment wasn’t going anywhere. They knew they didn’t have 67 votes in the Senate to remove him from office. He was a lame duck. It seems very much like the 50+ votes to repeal Obamacare. This seems to be where all that started. It was as though accomplishing anything wasn’t important. The Republicans had come to Washington to make themselves feel better. They were going to take a stand and let the world know that they didn’t like Bill Clinton. But it is bizarre, because everyone already understood that.
At the time, I was a libertarian, but I didn’t understand why conservatives had such a problem with him. He seemed like another John F Kennedy to me. And in terms of politics, he was vastly superior to George HW Bush. But there has always been much more tribalism in the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. Clinton would have been fine with them if he had had an “R” after his name. As it is, Clinton gave the nation a couple of conservative wet dreams that a Republican would never have gotten. Only Clinton could destroy welfare that actually worked.