In Plain English

Washington Times  9.22.98
Balint Vazsonyi

Democratic congressional leaders have joined with others in calling for plain language in dealing with the president's affairs. The following is an attempt to explore how far we might go in doing just that.

The most disturbing questions staring us in the eye are these: Why do some people want the Clintons to go, no matter what? Why others want the Clintons to stay, no matter what? Why not a single person has resigned from the cabinet, the White House staff, the legal team, the general entourage? Finally, why does a majority of Americans continue to answer pollsters as if they had been indoctrinated under hypnosis in Manchuria (as in "The Manchurian Candidate")?

We hear much talk of "Clinton haters," "right wingers," and other Ken Starr-like aberrations who "just want to bring down this president." There is truth in that. A sizable constituency believes that every day Team Clinton remains in the White House adds to the clear and present danger for this country - its political persona, its institutions, its national security. For these Americans, l'Affaire Lewinsky is simply the first time Team Clinton didn't get away with murder - speaking symbolically, of course - and therefore an opportunity not to be missed. Some plain speaking about this might be both welcome and instructive.

Then there are those desperate to hang on. To what? In plain English, to the socialist agenda. A couple like the Clintons that feels contempt for The People, for the Constitution, and for the concept that government officials are public servants has been a priceless asset for the cause. Respect for the people, the Constitution, the idea of service interferes with socialist realism. When the Clintons were elected to a second term, socialism's triumph seemed close enough to touch. The faithful were even willing to watch the president "move to the center" and his wife step into the shadows as they exchanged winks of understanding with one another.

Only the determination to change this country from top to bottom explains why Mario Cuomo swapped intellectual honesty for hysterical demagoguery on CNN's "Larry King Live" (September 14). Only the determination to change this country from top to bottom explains why Maxine Waters committed the Congressional Black Caucus to a collision course with the rest of America on NBC's "Meet the Press" (September 13), declaring that "the entire American legal system is on trial, the Constitution is on trial, Ken Starr is on trial, Congress is on trial" (everything and everyone but the president). And only the determination to change this country from top to bottom explains the current campaign for "censure."

The fact that "censure" is not part of the constitutional process is being carefully hidden from Americans bombarded daily by pollsters. Censure is but the latest attempt to change the Constitution de facto, just as Mr. Clinton has been trying with his "sampling" scheme to subvert the census, his Executive Order 13083 to do away with the checks and balances in our system, or his national ID card to keep tabs on every adult in the land.

"Censure," newest brainchild of America's socialists, was carefully launched into the public consciousness as if it were a legitimate course of action, then nurtured by the media, finally peddled by pollsters who can do so because the founding documents had been removed from our schools and most people will not bother to check. The package now includes a suggestion by the editors of The New York Times (September 16) that Mr. Clinton pardon himself.

Even more troubling is the absence of resignations and the reticence of many in public life to deliver the level of condemnation that could at last dampen the laughter fits the Clintons must be having nightly at our gullibility. Some, as we have seen, hang on for the cause. For others, there is a more ominous explanation.

Message from the White House: if Americans insist on repossessing their country, there won't be a whole lot left of it. Before they are through, no person of stature - dead or alive - will be left standing. Deploying a network of operatives, they have been systematically destroying every image from America's past, and smearing enough among the living to make the rest tremble. In case someone has failed to notice that the path of Team Clinton is littered with corpses - speaking symbolically, of course - henchmen such as James Carville or Bob Mulholland of the Democratic National Committee serve notice in plain English. Most people prefer not to see their lives and livelihood destroyed. This explains both the muffled criticism, and why otherwise decent and capable persons have not resigned. The credible threat of personal destruction has been the Clintons tool to stifle the democratic process. "Come on," they beckon, "who wants to be the next Dan Burton or Helen Chenoweth?" And, "Welcome to your sunset, Chairman Hyde!"

But the majority of Clinton appointees knows deep down that their time in the stratosphere of government has little if anything to do with merit and is solely contingent on an administration using the classic socialist recipe: mediocre people who have a score to settle with society. Gestures of personal honor and valor are not part of their make-up.

And what of the sand in which two out of three Americans appear to have buried their heads? Perhaps it has to do with the two untypical elections of 1992 and 1996. The former was carried by outright lies about the state of the Union - not the standard partisan exaggeration of virtues and failings, but outright lies. The latter is reputed to have been achieved through the kind of fund raising that borders on treason by the president and felonies by the vice president. Is the electorate acting as the person who had made a colossal booboo and, out of sheer embarrassment, insists on "having done the right thing."

Those of us with an unshakable faith in the ultimate political wisdom of the American people might consider a message that does not show up in focus groups and street interviews. This country is supposed to be a representative republic. The constitutional duty of dealing with the president's conduct rests with Congress. Perhaps - am I naive? - we are witnessing an instinctive desire for a return to constitutional government. "Don't ask us to do what we have elected Congress to do," the people might be saying.
And so it is a time for honor and valor in Congress. While the people say "you deal with it," the White House says "try, and you will regret it."

Damage to individuals, as well as to our system of government, will continue every day this administration remains in power. The only way to cut America's losses is through acting with dispatch. Time is not on our side. While everything we hold dear is at risk, damage to our political institutions serves the socialist agenda. Having successfully divided our nation into opposing camps, socialists have already destroyed our common political ground on which to proceed in the national interest. Adding insult to injury, they now cry foul because we are "too partisan." Arsonists, shouting "fire!"

Speaking on CBS's "60 Minutes" on September 13, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason - she and her husband both intimate friends of the Clintons - did not mince words. "[Mrs. Clinton] knows what road she is on, and she will never get off that road. Ever!" And why the couple would never split up? "They have a country!" Mrs. Bloodworth-Thomason exclaimed in plain English.

In equally plain English: No - it's our country.

And we want it back.