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Column: THE GRAY LINE TOUR

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / January 21, 1998

Is it something about the job which makes presidents go off the deep end?Certainly, there have been past presidents who had relations with womennot their wives. One presidential candidate, Grover Cleveland, sired a childout of wedlock but was elected anyway. Others, from Thomas Jefferson toFranklin Roosevelt, were good presidents for their times, regardless oftheir sexual “adventures.” None of this excuses President Clinton’sbehavior, if the allegations turn out to be fact.

Richard Nixon certainly had an attitude which reflected his belief he wasabove the law. His problems, however, went in different directions,displaying not only his contempt for the U.S. Constitution but also for thepeople of the United States. If anyone ever deserved to be hounded fromoffice, it was Richard Nixon.

John Kennedy allegedly carried on affairs within the White House itself,as did Warren G. Harding. Both, curiously enough, died in office.

Bill Clinton is a product of his times. The first of the post-World War IIgeneration to be elected to the nation’s highest elective office, he likesrock-and-roll, is pro-choice, is not a military veteran and allegedly hasenjoyed marijuana. And, allegedly, he likes young girls half his age. Thereare no lack of men his age who can say the same thing and who likelyhelped vote him into office.

Becoming president of the United States is undoubtedly a remarkableachievement, gratifying to the ego. One can hardly run for high officewithout losing control of his ego, what with millions voting your approval.

There have been few truly humble presidents.It would be a tragedy if the allegations made against Clinton turn out tobe true, not only for his family but for the country. The process toimpeachment is a lengthy one, and he likely would leave office beforebeing impeached. Republican Party pundits would like to see Clinton gonebut not necessarily see Al Gore step into the office, to get a head start onthe 2000 campaign. Likely, then, the Republicans may not push too hard forClinton’s resignation.

The Clinton Presidency had hoped to make a positive mark on Americanhistory and the course of human events. However, if this scandal generatesa resignation or impeachment, it would be a presidency in disgrace, hismark on history forever marred by stupidity.One can only hope for the best but fear for the worst. No one should gloatover or enjoy Clinton’s situation, for it reflects on the American peoplewho elected him to office. Like it or not, he is not only the president forthe Democrats, but also for the American people as a whole. It is all of us,as a whole, who will suffer from a disgraced Clinton.

Rebecca Burk is a regular columnist with L’Observateur.

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