Bill Clinton has been out of office now for about a month. One would think that the venomous hate for Clinton that loyal Republican soldiers so readily and shamelessly flaunted when he was in office would finally subside. After all, the Republican Party is supposedly “new” if you listen to the words of President George W. Bush. I emphasize words since no evidence of any change in the party has yet been seen in actions.
The Republicans have promised to take up the issues that Americans care about. The president has further promised to raise the level of cooperation in politics. Again and again we are assured that education is the number one priority of the new Republicans.
So, as a Democrat who feels strongly about the need for meaningful and immediate education reform, it was with excitement that I looked to the opening of the 107th Congress with the new Republican Party at the helm. The problem, I have come to realize, is that the election is over now, and the Republicans all have amnesia. All that “new Republican Party” stuff they promised us has slipped their collective minds.
Rather than debate education, the House and the Senate are both doing the only thing they did for the last eight years – investigating Bill Clinton. I guess they think this time must be the lucky charm, and they will finally find some wrongdoing. They never once were able to find any through all the other investigations.
Lest you should think even for a second that the Republican intentions are a noble attempt to uphold the law, take a quick glance at the Constitution. The investigations – clearly just one is not enough – are centered on a pardon issued by former President Clinton. According to the Constitution, the issuing of pardons is a sovereign presidential right. It is written very explicitly and without ambiguity, unlike the Second Amendment that these same old Republicans constantly hide behind to kill all meaningful gun legislation. Apparently, keeping guns out of the hands of children and abusive spouses is less important than what Clinton had for breakfast to these “compassionate conservatives.”
Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), who last week said that although Clinton has left office he could still be impeached, leads one of the committee investigations. Specter admitted during his opening statement that the power of presidential pardon is absolute. The president can pardon anyone for any reason. As Specter pointed out, the power of pardon is the only power in the Constitution that has no check against it. The president can veto a bill, but no one can veto a pardon.
Although covered in fancy political rhetoric, Specter has admitted that no matter what the investigations find, none of the pardons can be overturned, and Clinton cannot possibly be found guilty of breaking any laws. This means that these hearings boil-down to party-organized character assassination. Remember the evil that “W” promised he would rid Washington of?
I am truly sad. Not more then a few minutes away from my classroom, there is a grossly over-crowded and ineffective public school. It really knocked the wind out of me when I realized that nothing will be done about those students stuck with dead-end schooling. The Republican-led Congress is too busy making sure that Bill Clinton’s name be dragged through just a little more mud. Meanwhile, education gets worse every day, and more kids lose hope. As that youthful hope fades, the amputated spirit of America becomes more infected with no chance for a cure.
-The writer is national communications director for the College Democrats of America.