Barack Obama, Joe Sestak and Bill Clinton

Like many persons interested in politics I enjoyed following the Democratic primary race in Pennsylvania pitting Arlen Specter against Joe Sestak.   I also appreciated the humor of the Anointed One, The One We have been Waiting For, Barack Obama, going down in flames again as he did in VA, NJ,  and MA.    The candidate he backed, in this case, Specter, lost.   He is also backing Michael Bennet here in Colorado.   This may bode well for Andrew Romanoff.   More about this in a moment.

But the Pennsylvania Primary is significant because Joe Sestak has openly and frequently said that he was offered positions by the Obama Administration not to run against Specter.   This is against Federal Law.   We now have learned that the person who contacted Sestak and offered him a job in exchange for not running in the PA Primary was none other than that paragon of virtue Bill Clinton, nicknamed Slick Willie.    Why are we not surprised?

Further a job offer (not necessarily from Bill Clinton) was also extended to Andrew Romanoff here in CO not to run against Michael Bennet.   Apparently the Obama Administration feels that if you are going to break the law once you might as well go whole hog.  And this from a President who promised transparency and new ethical standards from the White House.   Must have had his fingers crossed.     Mike Littwin had a column in The Denver Post on Sunday May 30 concerning the Romanoff job offer.

Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, appeared on FOX News Sunday on May 30 to say that, not only is there nothing wrong with this sort of clearing the field, he, Rendell, has done it himself.    In contrast, Bill Krystol, editor of The Weekly Standard, said on that same FOX News Sunday that he recalls being briefed on the ethics of this and seeking to honor the law.   He was an assistant to former Vice President, Dan Quayle, from 1989-1993.

There is always winking at the law in politics.  There are always persons who live on the ethical edge.   The Presidency took a major hit with Watergate.    But Richard Nixon resigned in the face of scandal.   I would submit that we hit a new low during the Clinton Administration.   In fact, pollsters began a new section of questions on the morality of the President.   Here Bill Clinton’s numbers were in the thirties.   When he left office 60% of the nation said he was dishonest.   And he was disbarred for his lack of ethics.  There is great irony here.   A President of the United States, sworn to uphold the law, losing his license to practice law for the breaking thereof.

Unlike Nixon. Clinton lied under oath, parsed words in a way painful to watch and refused to resign and was, thus, the second American President to be impeached.   Former Secretary of Education, William Bennett, wrote a book on the Clinton scandals entitled The Death of Outrage.   Clinton’s defenders claimed that the President’s moral failings with Monica Lewinsky and others did not hurt anyone.   But Bennett noted male students in Denver middle schools grabbing young girls undergarments.   When confronted these animals said, “We are just like Bill.”   But Clinton’s scandalous behavior did not hurt anyone.

I contrast Clinton with Harry Truman who said when asked to take a compromising stance, “I am just holding this Office, Gentlemen.  If I dirty it, the dirt does not all leave with me.   Some of it remains to rub off on the next man.  Nothing doing.”   After leaving the Oval Office, Truman was asked to serve on various boards for very large sums of money.   His reply was always the same:   “You do not want Harry Truman.   You want a former President of the United States.   I will not compromise that Office.”   He refused every time and lived very simply the rest of his life.   What our nation would give to have a man like this as President again.

It is hard to think of Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, or either of the President’s Bush calling Joe Sestak and offering hm a job not to run.   But Obama (and is there any doubt he was consulted?) knew exactly who to ask to do this deed.    When billionaire Ross Perot ran for President a second time in 1996 he had a 30 minute infomercial in which he held up a portrait of Bill Clinton and asked, “Would you run a McDonald’s Restaurant with this man?    Neither would I.   Let us not make the same mistake twice.”   And Bill Clinton, though elected two times to the Presidency, never got 50% of the vote.   Both times over half the country voted for someone else.

I realize that both political parties have ethically challenged persons in leadership roles.    But somehow it seems that the Republicans still realize there are moral fences, know where they are, and jump them with an uneasy conscience.    And when caught they tend to resign.   In contrast, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Bill Clinton stay in office backed by most of the Press.   For too many Democrats:  “What moral fence?   I don’t see any fence.”   Then the law becomes arbitrary and capricious and the Constitution expandable if not expendable and anything goes.   And even a good man like Ed Rendell says this doesn’t matter.   No barriers.   No fences.   No rules.   Anything goes.   And the general public wonders why they should obey the law when their leaders do not.

But this is a false freedom that brings on all sorts of social ills that can destroy a nation.    The freest flying bird flies because it obeys the laws of aerodynamics.    No society remains free for long under these conditions.   We have a choice as voters.   Slick Willie and those who retain his services?  Or Ethical Harry?   Slick Willie or Honest Abe?

I will be voting for Conservative Republicans.   I will be voting for persons who see the Moral Fences.   I will be voting for my children and grandchildren.


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