I would like to thank Bill Clinton for making me a conservative.
Before Clinton’s impeachment, I had a voting record that usually tilted toward the integrity of the candidate rather than his party. I supported George McGovern, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, and H. Ross Perot.
But Clinton’s sexual antics in the White House and subsequent perjury about them brought me into the conservative branch of the GOP.
It’s worthwhile recounting those days as the Trump impeachment process begins.
Simply put, the accusations against Trump and the media’s handling of the “facts”—are decidedly different than 20 years ago.
For example, Newsweek sat on a story about the sexual affair between Clinton and Monica Lewinsky because the magazine didn’t think it had enough confirmation about the accuracy of the account.
Think about that for a moment. A news organization actually trying to make sure it had a story right before publishing it. [Transparency note: I worked for Newsweek].
Matt Drudge, a Hollywood gossip reporter, got wind of the story and put out a story on his website that Newsweek was holding the report. It was the first major online scoop and pushed Drudge into the forefront of the news business. The publication of Newsweek’s caution or coverup—I’m not really certain which one—launched the online news industry, which dominates information throughout the world.
Ultimately, the House of Representatives passed two of the four articles of impeachment:
Article I charged that Clinton lied to the grand jury concerning:
- The nature and details of his relationship with Lewinsky
- Prior false statements he made in a deposition
- Prior false statements he allowed his lawyer to make characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
- His attempts to tamper with witnesses
Article III charged Clinton with obstruction of justice in a case brought by Paula Jones, who had accused him of sexual harassment:
- Encouraging Lewinsky to file a false affidavit
- Encouraging Lewinsky to give false testimony if and when she was called to testify
- Concealing gifts he had given to Lewinsky that had been subpoenaed
- Attempting to secure a job for Lewinsky to influence her testimony
- Permitting his lawyer to make false statements characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
- Attempting to tamper with the possible testimony of his secretary Betty Currie
- Making false and misleading statements to potential grand jury witnesses
I thought that Clinton should have been removed from office, but both articles failed to get the 67 votes in the Senate necessary to kick him out of the White House.
It’s rather ironic that had these “high crimes and misdemeanors” been discovered today, I am relatively certain that the #MeToo movement would have driven Clinton out of office.
Whatever the case, Clinton’s actions and the impeachment proceedings had a profound effect on me. Thank you, Bill!