Trial is proper remedy for Clinton and nation

SATURDAY MAILBOX

January 02, 1999

Reading the Dec. 22 Opinion Commentary page from left to right made me realize again the wisdom of the American people.

The much-heralded column ("A time to heal our nation") by Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and their pleas to "heal our nation" through censure makes it easy to see why voters saw fit not to elect either of these gentlemen to another term. They are so moderate they stand for nothing.

My spirits were lifted, however, when I read the column further to the right (intentional placement, perhaps?) by Daniel L. Buccino ("For Clinton, resignation is the best way out"), a psychotherapist and self-described "bleeding-heart liberal" who balanced monetary amends with compassion, resulting in a suggested punishment that would fit the situation. His eight-point program to heal Mr. Clinton is the best I have seen, and something your editorial board should have considered before you gave us another status quo editorial, "Clinton must face trial, not think of resigning."

In this touchy-feely society we have fashioned for ourselves, should not Mr. Clinton's welfare be our prime concern?

If we allow Mr. Clinton the Ford-Carter censure without any meaningful penalty, he will continue to delude himself with the idea that he can get away with no consequences.

Those so concerned about the possibility of his leaving office should see that Mr. Clinton is the one in danger of running amok because of his actions and, possibly, dragging the country down with him. Mr. Buccino gives him an honorable out.

Our nation has weathered worse situations than the exit of a president, whatever the circumstance.

The deaths of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy brought the Chicken Little "sky is falling" philosophers to the fore, but we endured. Removing the president from office or having him resign does not overturn the will of the people. It is not a coup d'etat, the Democrats' impeachment debate mantra. It is a constitutional process.

We also elected a vice president who would assume office if the president leaves. Despite the doom and gloom expressed now, I am sure The Sun would suddenly discover Al Gore to be highly competent in 2000 when he runs against a Republican.

In the meantime, Mr. Buccino's plan would allow Mr. Clinton and the country to persevere -- the president through true repentance and redemption, and the nation by ending this century with a renewed sense of purpose.

I hope the good doctor can get his plan to those in the Senate charged with formulating a solution for Mr. Clinton before the proverbial slap on the wrist occurs.

C. L. Norris

Baltimore

SENATORS CAN'T ESCAPE DIRT IN POLITICAL TRIAL

I could hardly believe what I was reading Dec. 28 on the front page of The Sun ("Trial before censure, GOP insists").

Do Republican Senators Orrin G. Hatch, Mitch McConnell, Rick Santorum and John Ashcroft really believe they can control the length of the impeachment trial, which witnesses would be called and whether witnesses can be called?

Are they really that arrogant, or is it more a case of ignorance?

The Senate is the jury in an impeachment proceeding. It is not the judge, jury and executioner. If there is going to be a trial, the president has the right to offer a defense as he and his defense team sees fit to present it.

If Mr. McConnell and Mr. Hatch fear being embarrassed by "unnecessary" witnesses such as those "infamous characters" Monica Lewinsky and Linda Tripp, perhaps they should resign because they are too cowardly to examine the dirt they wish to throw at the president.

If Republicans think they can rush through this while the public isn't looking, they are sadly mistaken. If Mr. Hatch and Mr. McConnell are worried about their delicate sensibilities, they should bail out now. They can't take part in dirty politics without getting dirty.

Joe Roman

Baltimore

IMPROVED NURSING HOMES NEED IMPROVED REGULATION

The Sun's decision to publish the lead editorial ("Nursing homes face crackdown on care" (Dec. 21) properly states that the care of our elderly and infirm citizens requires high moral and professional responsibility.

This is a responsibility that should be shared by the nursing home community and the residents and families we serve.

A similarly high standard, however, must also be imposed on those who establish and enforce the regulatory process.

The editorial is based on the premise that the nursing homes are subject to clear and consistently applied standards reflecting current knowledge to help identify, rectify and impose sanctions against poor care.

Unfortunately, the inspection and enforcement process that your editorial advocates is seriously flawed, and the manner in which it is being applied by regulatory agencies would certainly lead to a greater number of unwarranted closures of facilities and the forced relocation of their residents. This does not need to happen.

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