Rush to judgment on Clinton's pardon betrays hypocrisy...


March 07, 2001

Rush to judgment on Clinton's pardon betrays hypocrisy

The rush to judgment about former President Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich and others is stunning in its immoderation and unanimity. It seems everyone knows without a doubt that Mr. Clinton's actions and motives were sleazy, slimy, embarrassing and unforgivable ("Stench grows as scandal dogs Clinton," Feb. 25).

From all quarters we hear expressions of shock and dismay that Clinton's pardon of Marc Rich represents special and favorable treatment to a Democratic fund-raiser. If this is the source of shock and dismay, it is hypocritical.

It is no secret that enormous contributions are routinely given to politicians by individuals and special interest groups because they expect, realistically, this will lead to special and favorable treatment.

Perhaps the real accusation is that Mr. Clinton was bribed, meaning he sold the pardon for money. But I know no actual evidence for this; it is all conjecture.

Because the boundary between legitimate influence and bribery is often unclear, circumspection is called for -- not snap judgments and scapegoating.

And if Congress is really serious about reducing the taint of bribery in politics, it should institute effective campaign finance reform.

Leon Levin


Sen. Clinton has earned a chance to do her job

Like the rest of us, the Clinton family did not get to pick its siblings -- and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is entirely credible when she expresses dismay about the distasteful machinations of her brother Hugh Rodham and other questionable uses of the president's pardon power.

Her natural and sincere embarrassment is no reason to entangle her in the nation's hunger for episodes of the former President Clinton media entertainment hour ("There is no clemency for very bad judgment," editorial, Feb. 23).

Let's give Ms. Clinton the chance to do the job she was elected to do.

Surely, she has already suffered enough trials by media and callous ridicule. The new senator deserves some space to demonstrate her rare gifts for public service and humane judgment.

Stanley S. Herr


Confirmation that Bush won won't sway bitter Democrats

After numerous recounts of the disputed ballots in Florida's Dade County, the end is finally here and former Vice President Gore would have picked up a paltry 49 votes in the county, even if the most lenient standard for counting faintly dimpled chads had been used ("Recount wouldn't have given Gore election, Fla. paper says," Feb. 26).

I guess that blows the Democratic prediction that in a recount Mr. Gore would have gained enough votes in that county to over President Bush's 537-vote lead.

But the Democrats can't admit Mr. Bush won the election, and wasn't "handed" it by the Supreme Court, without looking like the sore losers they are.

Gail Householder


Recounts show Al Gore deserves the presidency

A recent article carried a finding from a Miami Herald recount that President Bush "wins again" ("Recount wouldn't have given Gore election, Fla. paper says," Feb. 26). In fact, Mr. Bush didn't win the first time and didn't win this time, either.

The article's one fact was the discovery by the Miami Herald that Al Gore picked up 49 more votes in its recount in Dade County. Add those votes to the 682 votes Mr. Gore gained in January's Palm Beach recount by the Palm Beach Post and Mr. Bush's 537-vote victory turns into a 194-vote victory for Mr. Gore.

When the news media and the Republican propaganda machine tell us to "get over it" there can only be one answer: We will never get over it.

We spent $70 million to investigate former President Clinton's sex life but can't find a penny to investigate the biggest crime against democracy in our history.

If Mr. Gore truly won the presidency, we will not give up until justice is done and Mr. Bush is removed from office.

Lon Strickler


The mix of accessible guns, kids again proves deadly

It was a gun! It was a gun! A gun was used once again by a troubled youth to gun down those who hurt him or represented a threat. If he hadn't had access to the gun it would have been more difficult to kill and maim so many people. If he had been teased and bullied, as it seems he may have been, then he had every right to be angry, but it was the availability of the gun that made it possible for him to act out his anger in such a violent way.

We need to teach our children ways to control their anger. We need to teach them conflict-resolution skills. We need to teach them alternatives to violence. We need to teach them to value life. All these things we must do, but it is the adults who have got to learn that the mix of accessible guns and kids can be deadly.

Jeanne M. Ruddock


President Bush's reaction to the California school shooting in which two students were killed and 13 others wounded sounded both disingenuous and shallow when he simplistically blamed this troubled student's action on "not knowing right from wrong."

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