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 Voter's Voice: All Things Lewinsky (02-09-98)


Voter's Voice

The Lewinsky Saga Continues

Letter, letters and more letters. Our Voter's Voice correspondents don't seem to want to talk about much else besides the Lewinsky controversy.

Here's some of the latest reader e-mail we've received, and if you'd like to comment on any of the day's news, drop us e-mail at response@turner.com. Be sure to include your name and home town.

'Wallowing In The Mud'

With the Clinton defenders wallowing in the mud of deceit and cover-up and the GOP demonstrating wimpiness, Ken Starr seems to me the only man in Washington worthy of trust and respect. Perhaps we should make him permanent special prosecutor to keep on the trail of Democrat wrongdoing.

-- Norman Ravitch, Riverside, Calif., Feb. 11

'Perverse Climate'

If Bill Clinton did encourage Monica Lewinsky or anyone else to lie under oath, that is indeed a federal offense, an abuse of power, and just plain wrong. But what sort of perverse climate led him to do such a thing? Clinton understands too well the unfortunate tendency of many Americans to play dictator over the private lives and habits of others, and no amount of rhetoric about "concern for the moral fabric of the nation" can mask the appalling immorality of such snooping.

It appears entirely plausible that he tried to coerce Paula Jones into a sexual contact she was averse to, and if this is true it is certainly a more serious matter and should be dealt with appropriately (but let's be honest, it is also at least as plausible that her memory has become at least as selective as his sometimes seems to be).

But as long as only consenting adults are involved, Bill Clinton's sex life is nobody else's business except his and Hillary's, and anyone who thinks differently should be ready to go on television to tell us all just what it is he or she gets off on and with whom, and to let us all do a little underhanded investigation to find out whether or not the whole truth was told.

In a country where a high regard for individual rights in all areas of life is part of the national moral fabric, no president would ever feel the need to resort to such actions. Whistle-blowers, busybodies, snitches: You're the problem here. Shame on you.

-- William Chaney, Berlin, Germany, Feb. 11

'Political Smear Campaigns'

This entire "investigation" is beyond belief. The intimidation tactics and the witch hunt mentality is just flashing our nation back to the '50s and another conservative fanatic -- Senator Joseph McCarthy.

We have given too much power to the right-wing fanatics and been entirely too tolerant of the outrageous and relentless harassment that this administration has suffered. I am so sick of it in the media covering these political smear campaigns as if they were actually news. There are REAL issues facing both the American people and the entire world. When will this stop and why do we accept such slimy journalism?

-- Kathleen Moser, New Tripoli, Pa., Feb. 11

'We Only Have To Wait'

There has been enough smoke belching from Bill Clinton since before his election that the American public should see the fire by now. In criminal law enforcement the methods that Judge Starr is using are very common; ask any convicted drug dealer.

As for the leaks, Newsweek reporters have already admitted that some of the leaks they have received have come from people close to the White House counsel representing the president. To me and many people I have spoken with, the deed has been done and we only have to wait until the punishment is handed out.

-- Mike Beeler, Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 11

'Let The Man Continue To Do The Job'

I am personally fed up with the entire Whitewater/Lewinsky special prosecutor issue. The U.S. is on the brink of a war with possible disastrous implications and a ridiculous investigation into a matter that has absolutely no bearing on the running of government is the main issue in Washington. The president is well into his second term. The economy is in the best shape that I can recall in my 54-year lifetime. Let the man continue to do the job for which he was elected.

I see Ken Starr on the national news, riding in a chauffeur-driven limousine at taxpayer expense. Enough! I do not want one additional dime of my tax money to go toward this ridiculous witch hunt. I understand that the office of the special prosecutor will terminate this summer unless Congress votes to extend funding. I wish to go on record as being opposed to any extension of the special prosecutor. Where would we have been if the money that has been wasted were applied to shore up Social Security or to the deficit?

Do we really want Al Gore as president? I sincerely hope the Congress is listening.

Many thanks to Ted Turner for providing this forum.

-- Donald W. King, Grapevine, Texas, Feb. 11

'This National Embarrassment'

I have been reading all the reports on your Web pages as well as other sources and I can not understand how the polls show a positive job approval rating for this guy. Are you asking the right questions?

Whatever happened to integrity and honesty as an attribute and a prerequisite for public office? I have always held presidents and other elected officials to a higher standard like I feel everyone should. They are our leaders. The represent us. I don't like being represented on the world stage by someone that has no moral conscience.

In the corporate world, this jerk would be long gone. It is time the House Judiciary committee rid us of this national embarrassment.

-- Richard Bigelow, Atlanta, Ga., Feb. 11

'The Most Outstanding President'

President Clinton is definitely the most outstanding president I have seen in office in my lifetime. I don't care if he had relations with Ms. Lewinsky or not. It is irrelevant to his position and none of our business. The real crime would take place if he were forced to step down.

-- Keri Kurlinski, Chicago, Ill., Feb. 11

'Really Amused At The President's Spin Doctors'

I am really amused at the president's spin doctors and a bit surprised that there are folks out there who hear them and believe them. Ken Starr's investigation has not spent the $40 million that Carville keeps harping on. It has not turned up nothing; in fact there are more people who have or who are now serving jail time than in the Lawrence Walsh Iran-Contra witch hunt (and for a lot less money).

Let's face it; Starr would rather be at Pepperdine teaching law than in the middle of this frenzy. And as far as leaks go, we will probably never know who is leaking any more than we know now who Deep Throat was. Also, the leaks could be coming from numerous sources including Clinton's own camp -- a form of damage control.

-- Dan Ryan, Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 11

'Outraged And Saddened'

I am an American humanitarian aid worker living in Odessa, Ukraine. I am outraged and saddened to read on the Internet the responses of the American people to this current scandal in the White House. How can Americans actually believe that personal integrity has nothing to do with a leaders ability to make sound choices for our country?

A leader is as good as his personal moral choices and his ability to speak the truth. If he has broken covenant with his wife, lied to her and his daughter, what will he do to you or to me, who mean literally nothing to him but a vote? If he treats his family like this, what will he do to us? How can he make good decisions for a country if he has no personal control in private life?

Love seeks the highest good for the person loved. Is Clinton seeking the highest good for Hillary and Chelsea? True love will choose high moral behavior for the beloved. If Clinton cannot choose the highest good for his wife and daughter, how can he choose the highest good for our country?

Americans say they do not care if Clinton has had an affair with a 24-year-old intern, that it is his personal business. What if this intern were your own daughter? Lewinsky's life will be forever marked and changed because of this ordeal. Would you want your own daughter to have oral sex with the president of the United States in some dark corner office? Would you want your daughter entangled with a selfish man who squeezed ten minutes of his busy day into a few fleeting pleasures at the expense of shattering a young life? This concerns many more people than just Hillary and Bill Clinton. This concerns all of us.

-- Bonnie Saul Wilks, Odessa, Ukraine, Feb. 11

'Under Bill And Hillary's Rug'

It is truly sad to see the national media in the United States sweep its morals under Bill and Hillary's rug.

Ever since the 1992 presidential campaign, the U.S. media has been sympathetic to Bill Clinton, and has been trying ever since to apologize for his behavior and to rationalize his scandals. Let's not forget that a Gallup poll taken after the '92 presidential elections showed that 87 percent of the Washington press corps voted for Clinton & Clinton. Is this media bias or what?

When the media systematically defends Clinton, it does it instinctively. So when asked about the media's blatant bias, journalists would be surprised of the accusation. So, Monicagate becomes no different: a president who thinks he is above the law and cannot tell the whole truth protected by a national media who doesn't want to see "its man" in trouble, and its resulting apologetic explanations and rationalization of his behavior.

So it is not surprising to see the national media's self-flagellation after one of its own broke out the news and the rest covered it so much. CNN is no exception to this bias. Better known as the Clinton News Network, CNN is notorious for harboring every liberal reporter under the sun and of ardently supporting and defending this president.

We need more aggressive and objective investigation by the media into Clinton' series of scandals. And since the media has so far refused to do so, they should let the Independent Counsel do his job instead of collectively discrediting him.

-- Nassib Ghobril, Beirut, Lebanon, Feb. 11

'The United States Of Chastity'

It seems certain elements of the American body politic have nearly succeeded in confusing individual sexual behavior with the ethics required for public service. Sadly complicit in this activity are the members of the press. While the salaciousness of the allegations against our president certainly sells papers, makes for good ratings, and mega Web hits, I cannot help but feel that difficult-to-repair damage is being done to political life in the United States.

If we allow non-criminal sexual behavior to become the focus of political hatchet work, if we make one's sex life a public affair and paramount factor in choosing leaders, the only people qualified for public office will be members of the Promise Keepers, the Nation of Islam, or the pathologically neurotic.

I am religious, but I value living in a secular, pluralist society. I fear that the danger of us becoming a repressive, monological, hypocritical little theocracy like Iran grows with every passing year. This current scandal does nothing to dispel that fear.

Noted historian Hannah Arent outlines several factors that lead to the breakdown of polity and pluralism in 19th. century European society in her monumental work "The Origins of Totalitarianism." Many disturbing similarities exist, the most troubling being demogoguery of the ilk practiced by the fundamentalist right today. Sexuality is not a taint, it is a divine gift bestowed on humanity as a salve against our own mortality.

Healthy human beings are almost always sexual creatures. Any objective study of human behavior shows that even in repressive cultures sexual attitudes, orientation, and mores are not exclusively defined (or curtailed) by current religious dogma.

As a serious student of political science and history, I submit that many inspiring and effective political leaders were sexually robust individuals with a regard for the just uses of both power and pleasure. I suspect that just as many of our most embarrassing public servants were joyless prigs, neurotically obsessed with the idea that someone, somewhere was doing something "dirty" that must be punished.

If it comes down to a choice between living in the United States of Chastity, or somewhere else with a government by human beings, of human beings, and for human beings, I will reluctantly take my knowledge, skills, energy, and libido elsewhere ...

-- Randy Niere, Kansas City, Feb. 11

'Why Is He Hiding?'

The media have missed the obvious story from the latest revelations of our sleezebag president, namely:

If he is innocent, there is absolutely no reason -- legal or political -- for him not to come forward and lay the entire story on the table. Tell all as it is! If it's true there is no liability. If it's true there is nothing a special prosecutor's leaks can do to damage him. If it's true he'd be a hero!

The law proscribes the presumption of innocence for an accused who, like Bubba and his wife Bruno, "take the fifth." That applies only to legal liability. It doesn't prevent the rest of us from drawing the obvious logical conclusion that anyone who remains silent in the face of such serious charges has something to hide and most likely is guilty.

If he doesn't have anything to hide, why is he hiding?

-- Jack Martin, Feb. 11

'Not Sex But Truth'

The issue here is not sex but truth. As a police officer I've testified hundreds of times. I can tell you from experience that when the defense has a weak case, the tactic is to accuse the police. "Truth is an anvil that has worn out many a hammer" -- Anonymous

-- Lou Orlando, Feb. 11

'Stand Down And Watch Quietly'

Everybody has an opinion and there are accusations and counter-accusations on both sides. All of this only muddies the water making it more difficult to come to the truth of what happened. Let's just wait. Allow the involved parties and investigators to do their work and leave this sickening politics out of it. If President Clinton is guilty this will be borne out through the investigation. Otherwise, his innocence will be upheld. Let's leave it alone, stand down and watch quietly.

-- Timothy M. Luttrell, Feb. 11

In Other News

Monday February 9, 1998

Clinton Lawyers Ask Court To Cite Starr
Justice Staffers Recommend Independent Counsel For Babbitt
White House Scandal At A Glance
Lott Says Americans Reserving Judgment On Clinton
Clinton Announces Town Meetings On Social Security
Senate Says Clinton, Gore Knowingly Broke Law
Wall Street Journal Corrects Clinton Report
Albright to Senate: Expand NATO Now
Senate Bill Targets Internet Smut
Compromise Campaign Finance Weighed
Cutting Class Size Is Popular
Strategy Keeping Clinton Silent
Clinton Attends Ford Theatre Gala
Jones Judge Aided By Husband

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