Letters from our readers.
Jan. 8 1999 3:30 AM

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Even Sewers Need Cleaning


In his article "Lies, Damned Lies, and Impeachment," Michael Kinsley attempts to show why Clinton should not be removed from office. Unwittingly, Kinsley has provided the most compelling argument why Clinton must be removed.

Let us concede for the moment Kinsley's point that Reagan and Bush were at least as corrupt as Clinton. (I think sincere people can differ, but let's make the assumption for the sake of argument.) According to Kinsley, the United States has had an unbroken chain of corrupt presidents for the past 18 years. That being the case, Kinsley should give some thought to how we might end this plague of corruption. Kinsley's solution is to look the other way one more time!

Perhaps the corruption persists because it is so consistently condoned?

--Everett G. Farr
Albuquerque, N.M.


It's Not the Cover-Up. It's the Sex!

Herbert Stein's article "He Has To Go" is elegant in its explanation of why he wants Bill Clinton impeached. Mainly, it's because he is disgusted by the idea of Clinton representing America. Some months ago, in the article "The Nixon I Knew," he wrote about how much he respected Richard Nixon. Nixon was a "civil, serious, dedicated, judicious, and highly intelligent man," Stein said. Stein also did "not feel I have the wisdom and moral elevation to [judge him]."

Stein's different reactions make it clear why Clinton is so hated--it was not the perjury or the laws of the country. It was the sex and Clinton's refusal to admit his indiscretions in front of everyone. Such self-righteousness--and the willingness to cover it up in statements about the rule of law and the Constitution--appalls me as much as Clinton's lust.

--Viswanath Subramanian
Cupertino, Calif.


Save It for the Ballot Box, Buddy

Herbert Stein's article "He Has To Go" asks, "Is this the man I want to represent ..." I couldn't help but wonder whether he had ever wanted Clinton to represent the United States. I actually did and do want this man to represent the United States--that's why I voted for him twice. I suspect this is just the sort of question the technique of electing presidents was designed to answer.

--Kathy Augenblick
Cambridge, Mass.

The Presidency Isn't a Popularity Contest


Herbert Stein's article "He Has To Go" illustrates the fuzzy thinking surrounding the impeachment proceedings. I'm sorry that Stein cannot decide whether the president's bombing of Iraq was generated by a wish to divert the nation. I am sorry that Stein is distressed by the sight of the president visiting Israel and Palestine. Stein's distress is not, however, an impeachable offense nor is his perception, even if accurate, that Clinton is unable to lead the nation and the world. Leadership ability is an issue for the electorate, which has spoken on two occasions regarding Clinton and which will speak again in two years (through votes, not polls).

The Senate must keep its focus on the Constitution and not on such amorphous standards as "embarrassment," "reckless personal behavior," or "inability to lead." Thank goodness Stein didn't include "setting a bad example for our children" among the high crimes and misdemeanors that would warrant the removal of an elected president from office.

--Charles A. Trainum Jr.
Fredericksburg, Va.

Cut the Forest, Not the Trees


"Today's Papers" has a very selective interest in spending of taxpayers' money. The Dec. 31, 1998, column frets that the Coast Guard wasted money rescuing some rich guys who were ballooning around the world. Not fretting because they were rescued, but fretting because they are rich. Also, those who tilt a bit to the left have worried a lot about Ken Starr spending $40 million over five years on the Slick Willie investigation.

Put it all in perspective. The federal government spends more than $3 million every minute of every day of the year. Why not concern yourself with that startling number rather than worry about three guys in a hot air balloon or one guy full of hot air such as Clinton? You should tame the "class warrior" tendencies that color your commentary, Scott.

--W.R. Lewis

Mandeville, La.

Get a U.S. Bookie, Perhaps?

The Dec. 29, 1998, "International Papers" column says:

In Britain, where betting is legal, the Sunday Times lists some of the "unusual bets for the next year" accepted by a leading bookmaker. William Hill has offered odds of 10-to-1 that Bill and Hillary Clinton would announce divorce proceedings during 1999, 20-to-1 that the controversial "Millennium Dome" would be scrapped, 100-to-1 that Prince Charles would marry his sons' former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, and 1 million-to-1 that the world would end in August.

Exactly how would an individual betting on the end of the world go about collecting their winnings?

--Justin Gould

Kokomo, Ind.