The President's Private Life Hardly Deserves The Attention It Is Getting

25 September 1998

By Stentor Danielson

Last Tuesday night, my roommate was watching television and I caught parts of a number (four) of programs. I don't remember exactly what they were, thought I think some were news and some were comedy and maybe some were something else. The one thing they all had in common was their topic: Developments Concerning the United States' Sleazeball-in-Chief Bill Clinton."

My first thoughts were, "Are they still talking about that? It's getting worse than the O.J. Simpson trial! At least they didn't ask O.J. intimate questions about his sexual practices. (One question that I caught as I fell asleep involved Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and a cigar. The commentator was pursuing the topic with an intensity that suggested they could only imprach Clinton if he had used the cigar.) What kind of perverts want to know this stuff?"

Before I start to explain my position on the Clinton fiasco, let me point out that I am aware of the irony of writing yet another article about Clinton to complain about the news coverage he's been getting. My basic premise is this: I want to trust my leader. I have no illusions that a perfectly trustworthy, virtuous individual could navigate the mess that is our political system and find his way to the presidency. But I do want to have the illusion that the guy (or girl) that winds up in the White House is at least decent. I don't need or want to know the dirty little secrets of the President's private escapades.

What I propose is that the President be granted immunity from investigation for any crime less serious than treason during the remainder of his term. I admit that this sounds like a return to the feudal system (which, by the way, I am in favor of, provided I get to be the King), but the reasoning is that I'd much rather learn about the President's shenanigans after he's retired. I can think "Whew, lucky we made it through four or eight years with that creep in charge," rather than learn about them while he's leading us, and think, "Uh-oh, we're in trouble now, we've got another few years with this idiot."

On a bit of a tangent, it would be interesting to see how close Clinton would get to being nominated for the 2000 race, if he were eligible to run.

Beyond the mental comfort issue, there is also the cost of investigation. I can guarantee less money would be spent investigating an ex-President than one who is in office. Also, an ex-President can more easily spare the time to go to hearings and read apologies on national television. I pay taxes (or I will once I get a decent job) so that I can have a person down in Washington running the country full-time. I do not want to pay Clinton -- or anybody -- to go to Washington and spend his time trying to weasel out of events in his personal life and then tells or half-truths about those events.

Don't contrue this article as a defense of Clinton's actions. He did something profoundly stupid and he deserved to get ridiculed by the nation. I just don't need to know about it until he goes back home in two years. Fooling around and trying to hide it does not threaten the security of the nation until the nation becomes obsessive about the scandal. Think of the attention that we could have been giving to real issues if we hadn't been worried about whether Clinton and Lewinsky got to first base, or second base, or third, or joined Mark McGwire in the record books for home runs. (There's another thing I think has gotten too much attention, but I'll try to stay on topic.)

To everyone involved in the scandal: Hang your heads in shame. And to everyone who salivates at the thought of additional developments in the case: Hang your head lower.

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