I changed my mind about Bill Clinton. I think that the Senate should have convicted and removed him from office. He committed perjury while President. He was unworthy of the office. By remaining in office, Clinton established a low standard of honesty and compentence that has plagued us ever since. Far worse crimes have followed his bad example, but Congress has lost its will to act. The Clinton legacy leaves us in a state where open defiance of the Congress's right and responsibility to check the Executive is no longer impeachable.
President Clinton lied about sex. It seems incredible today, but there was a time in Our Nation's History when if a President was caught lying on any matter, including the personal and irrelevant, then that was grounds for impeachment. Long established rules on broadcast obscenity were relaxed in the 90's so that the news and opinion shows could focus at great length and detail on such important issues of the day as semen and oral copulation. President Clinton was impeached but the Senate did not convict. His term ended and we had a regime change. And television is still reporting on subjects such as semen and oral copulation, not so much in the news shows now as in the entertainment shows.
The Religious Right is alarmed at this unintended consequence of its pursuit of Clinton, and has been putting pressure on the Broadcast Industry to turn the clock back about 50 years. They have succeeded in driving Howard Stern into space, but they are not content.
They now want Federal obscenity rules on Basic Cable. The Broadcasters want this too because they are losing to Cable and they want Cable to suffer under the same rules that they do.
Cable offers channel blocking, which allows any subscriber to completely restrict the channels that are received. This is not enough for the Religious Right because channel blocking only restricts what is on your TV. It has no effect on what other people get to watch.
President Clinton was impeached because he perjured himself during a witch hunt when he tried to keep Mrs. Clinton from finding out that he had received a blowjob in the White House from a woman who was not his wife. Such goings on are unheard of in Our Nation's Capital. The Republicans in the House of Representatives had no tolerance for a President who lies, and successfully prosecuted his impeachment. Cooler heads in the Senate looked at the context, and decided that a blowjob wasn't a federal case. Clinton remained in office to finish his term, but the witch hunt and and its prolonged aftermath were a huge distraction which set us up for the events of September, 2001.
One of the lessons of that should be that impeachment should not be taken lightly. It should not be used to remove a President who is politically unpopular. It should only be used to prevent the misuse of the Office of the President. Impeachment is the final check in the system of checks and balances. When the other checks are subverted or ineffective, impeachment is the last mechanism, short of civil war, of restoring the Republic, and civil war, as we can see in Iraq, is not an effective option.
I think we should impeach Cheney and Bush now. We should not wait for their terms to end. They have lied about serious matters of State. Their policies have caused the deaths of more Americans than the policies of Osama bin Laden. They have committed treason. They are profiteers. They have obstructed justice. They have committed criminal acts here and in other countries. They have turned us in to the bad guys. This is not an evil country. We are not an evil people. We have an evil government. Impeachment is the remedy.