What Really Counts

Allen and Stein

What Really Counts

Allen and Stein

What Really Counts
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Sept. 14 1998 11:08 AM

Allen and Stein

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Jodie,

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I'm so glad you started with the home run story. But I don't think you recognize its full importance. My heart leapt up when I took in the Washington Post this morning and saw the huge banner headline "62 Again: Sosa catches up to McGwire." I felt cleansed. At last a story that I can disuss with my youngest grand-child. I sang to myself,

The White House may crumble,/ Wall Street may stumble,/ But America is here to stay. And,/When Bill and Monica have been forgot,/Mark and Sammy will still be hot.

Here are two heroic achievements by good guys, and the achievements don't require analysis by pundits and lawyers. A home run is a home run, by any definition.

But still, we have our X-rated presidency to think about. I don't think the sexual peccadillo aspect of the thing is trivial or irrelevant, as some high- minded people are telling us. I think what he perjured himself about is important. If he just perjured himself about the score of his golf game no one would care much. And if he perjured himself to protect the secrecy of some planned national security operation, we would forgive him. Eisenhower lied about whether we had a spy plane flying over the Soviet Union--although not under oath. But Clinton lied to protect himself against public reaction to what I am old enough to consider revolting behavior.

So, what is to be done? Have you read the 25th Amendment to the Constitution lately? It prescribes a process for removing a President who is incapable of performing the duties of his office. I think Clinton has become incapable. He can no longer speak to anyone and expect to be believed and taken seriously. It is as if he had developed a major speech impairment. He is suffering from clinical depression, congenital falsehood and priapism. (You can look it up.)

So, what else is new?

 

Jodie T. Allen is Slate's Washington, D.C., editor. Herbert Stein, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Nixon and Ford. He is a member of the board of contributors at the Wall Street Journal.