On Clinton, impeachment and emperor's new clothes.
Has not the Democratic Party just purchased the "emperor's new clothes"?
Richard S. Dutton, Annapolis
The constant one-sided reporting against the impeachment of President Clinton by the news media, including The Sun, is missing an important point: Our government is a representative one. We who take the time to vote for our representatives in Congress do so with the expectation that they will vote on issues the same way we would vote a majority of the time.
The House of Representatives, which currently contains more elected Republicans than Democrats, impeached President Clinton according to the laws of the United States and represents the views of those of us who voted them into office.
When the president goes on trial in the Senate, the same fair process will take place. The constantly referred-to public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans are opposed to the impeachment vote.
Many of those polled, perhaps as much as 50 percent, did not vote for their House or Senate representatives. The only polls that really matter in the United States are the ones where a person's vote actually results in the election of a person to represent him in office.
Tom Decker, Severna Park
Did you watch the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives? It was an impressive display of oratorical skills on both sides of the aisle.
There was far more agreement than one would gather from listening to the TV news. There was general agreement that:
Impeachment and Senate trial is a political remedy specifically provided in the U.S. Constitution for removing a president guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.
Criminal conduct of a president is answerable in a judicial setting when he leaves office.
The president did those things of which he is accused and they were wrong and deplorable.
The disagreements were whether or not a) the sins of the president rose to the level of impeachable offenses, b) censure is allowed by the Constitution and c) censure is the proper remedy in this case.
After rancorous debate and in spite of polls showing a majority of the people opposed, 228 courageous Representatives voted for two articles of impeachment. It was certainly not in their own best political interest. They must have believed that their votes were in the best interest of the country.
Now the case goes to the Senate for trial. Already many want to fix the outcome just as traffic tickets are sometimes fixed by a bribe. They want the president to pay money and agree to a statement of censure by the Senate. In exchange, he will not be tried for his criminal acts later and can serve out his term. Fear of conviction drives this shortcircuiting of the Constitutional procedure.
The president should be cleared or convicted in a political trial, period. The Senate should not take the easy way out and fix the president's ticket.
George W. Bauernschmidt Jr., Severna Park
In 1660, Charles II was restored to the throne. From guilt in his father's beheading, he pardoned all but the "regicides," the nutritans who signed the death warrant. The regicides were hunted down, tried, hanged, drawn and quartered. So it will be for the "presidentcides," the Republican members of the House of Representatives who vote for impeachment.
The people will hold them responsible for the spectacle of a government shut down so we can all watch on TV the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court preside over a Senate debating Zippergate. The Republicans don't care if anything gets done on Social Security, health care, transportation or anything else that matters to middle class and poor people.
Bill Clinton's big sin is that he is a Democrat who got elected and re-elected president. What pops the Republican cork is that the people confirmed him still again in 1998 by electing more Democrats to Congress. Republicans are apoplectic because the latest polls show that two thirds of Americans think Mr. Clinton is doing a good job and should not be impeached.
If the Republicans were statesmen, they would compromise on censure. But they would rather make Zippergate pay for Watergate. Vengeance, however, is a game that others can play. The "presidentcides" may find military bases in their districts topping the phase-out list. They may find their own sexual infidelities and other sins exposed. The presidentcides will do nothing in their lives more notable than casting this one vote. They will have an ignominious place in history. And election 2000 will be another spectacle of vengeance: George Bush Jr. won't have a chance.
James A. Hoage, Severna Park
If there is an award for photography, The Sun should receive it. The picture of the president and his wife on Dec. 20, "Clinton impeached, faces trial in Senate," portrays much emotion: In the president was shame, embarrassment, remorsefulness, while in Hillary Clinton, I see pity, understanding, love and hopefulness. Good luck, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton and a job well done to The Sun.