Tag archives: Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton, Honor, and Obamacare

by Rob Schwarzwalder

November 13, 2013

Even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they’ve got.” - Bill Clinton

Honor” is not the first word that comes to mind when one thinks of Bill Clinton. It is thus not wholly without irony that the proclaimer of, “I did not have sex with that woman” talks about public moral obligation.

Substantively, Clinton has a point. The President made, repetitively, two promises: That those who want to keep their current health insurance could do so, and that they could also retain their current physicians.

One of three things happened: (1) The President lied. (2) His advisors misled him and sent him out with incorrect information. (3) The President didn’t take the time to read and grasp what was in his own mammoth proposal.

If the third option is correct, this makes Mr. Obama far from unique. Many Washington politicians don’t know the details of the bills about which they vote. They rely on aides to give them succinct summaries or quickly read “vote justification” sheets handed to them by leadership staff as they enter the House or Senate chambers.

This is troubling, but also understandable: The size and scope of the federal government and its laws and regulations is almost incomprehensible, and massive legislative tomes, many of which are written in technical legal language, frequently are too long and too dense for careful review prior to the time set to vote on them.

Yet this is a different case. The President of the United States put forward two essential un-truths about his signature domestic policy achievement, one that he touted as “a new season for America.” If anyone should have understood his law, he should have.

I take no pleasure in accusing Mr. Obama of either deliberate lying or disturbing inattention. It’s worth noting that such traits cut across party lines, political convictions, and status of office. Mr. Obama would not be unique among politicians or presidents in persistently telling a falsehood or trusting unwisely in the reassurances of unelected advisors. But this makes him no less responsible for his misrepresentations.

Christians should not gloat over Mr. Obama’s failures. We should, instead, pray for our President and for the other national leaders who now must sort through the devastation the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is wreaking.

The new season Mr. Obama promised is indeed upon us. The chill is penetrating to the national core.

Bill Clinton on the Road to Damascus?

by Robert Morrison

March 8, 2013

The media is treating former President Bill Clinton’s reversal on marriage as a “road to Damascus” conversion. It gets breathless treatment on AOL (“Bill Clinton’s Stunning Reversal”) They go on to relate that the ex-philanderer-in-chief now condemns the law he signed.

Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in May, 1996. His press secretary, Mike McCurry, sneered that it was a hateful piece of legislation. And the spokesman noted the president signed it in the middle of the night. That was intended, we presume, to indicate a level of disdain with which Bill Clinton regarded the bill he felt compelled to sign.

We didn’t yet know that the middle of the night was Bill Clinton’s most active period. Rather like a hamster running on his wheel.

That fall, running for re-election against former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole (R), the Clinton-Gore campaign took out ads on Christian radio stations bragging that President Clinton had signed the Defense of Marriage Act. This clear act of hypocrisy led to this exchange with the White House press corps:

Q: What about this ad that the DNC apparently took down that was running on Christian stations where the President apparently bragged about — he bragged about the President’s vote against gay and lesbian marriages? You’re not sure about whether you want to brag about what the President did on that?

MR. [Joe] LOCKHART: Well, I think the ad was up for several days and factually stated the President’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Q: Is that turning into a problem?

The press corps laughed at that reporter’s rejoinder. So, Clintons’ spokesmen tell the journalists that the campaign ad spoke “factually” about Mr. Clinton’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act.

The law he had just signed.

You get the picture. Tell the Christians he signed it and he is proud of it. Tell the reporters he’s opposed to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Laughter.

This is the man who said, under oath, “it depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.”

I had the honor of working with Family Research Council’s leaders on this issue. Our president, Gary Bauer, and our lead policy analyst, Bob Knight, deserve the high credit of pressing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) through Congress. My role was limited to naming it the Defense of Marriage Act.

When friendly Senate staffers came to FRC and asked if it was OK to re-name the bill the Definition of Marriage Act, I strenuously objected. No, we must educate people when they hear the name of the bill that marriage itself is under attack.

Now, we know why that law was named as it was.

Bill Clinton has no shame.” I didn’t say that. George Stephanopoulos said it. Stephanopoulos was Clinton’s first Communications Director. He should know. He said that’s a great advantage in politics.

Why did Bill Clinton sign the Defense of Marriage Act? We had succeeded in amassing an overwhelming level of support in both Houses of Congress. The Defense of Marriage Act passed by 342-67 in the House of Representatives and by 85-14 in the Senate. We could have passed the Defense of Marriage Act without a single Republican vote in either Chamber.

Bill Clinton looked at that overwhelming support and had to consider this:

If I veto this bill, they can pass it over my veto and make me look weak.”

And then, I won’t be able to brag to Christian voters that I signed it.”

Hmmm.”

Bill Clinton has never before been confused with Paul on the Road to Damascus. Or with any other saint, for that matter. I used to tell my students the difference between Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

The former left office in disgrace. The latter entered office in disgrace.

Now, he is even disgracing his former presidency.

Omigosh! Now Bill Clintons Bowing, Too!

by Robert Morrison

September 6, 2012

Not you, too, Bill Clinton! Thats what I wanted to yell when I saw this incredible scene on TV. Bill Clinton is shown bowing to President Obama at the Democratic National Convention.

It was bad enough when Barack Obama bowed to the odious King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in London just days after becoming president. That desert despot is one of the worst human rights violators in the world. Even our own State Department recognizes this much. There is no religious liberty in Saudi Arabia, their official reports have laconically statedfor years.

Americans dont bow. One of the most affecting scenes in our history occurred on April 4, 1865, in Richmond. For four years, Richmond had been the Confederate capital; it still smoldering from the fires set by retreating rebel soldiers. President Lincoln had waited four long and bloody years for this day. He had said: I want to see Richmond, and moved quickly to enter the Virginia city. An American flag flew over the State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson.

Accompanied only by his son, Tad, and a small detachment of sailors, the president walked to the Confederate White House and sat at the desk of Jefferson Davis. The Confederate president had fled the city less than forty-eight hours earlier.

Most white people stayed inside, behind shuttered windows. But free black people crowded around Father Abraham. One elderly black man knelt down in front of his Emancipator. No, Lincoln admonished him, this is not right. You should bow only before God and thank Him for your freedom.

This is a story that bears repeating. Americans should never bow to any foreign head of state. And we certainly can find more democratic ways to greet one another than bowing.

President John F. Kennedy faced an interesting situation in 1963. He was acutely aware that he was the first Catholic elected as our president. When he went to the Vatican to see the new PopePaul VIshortly after the College of Cardinals had elevated himKennedy knew what he should do. Normally, it is protocol for faithful Catholics to kiss the Popes ring, a sign of reverence for the man whom Catholics believe is the Vicar of Christ.

But President Kennedy recognized his role as constitutional leader of thisGreatRepublic. So he sat respectfully at the Popes right hand and did not bow. Later that year, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy had the tragic duty of receiving mourners at her husbands funeral. When numerous royal heads of state came through the White House, draped in funeral black crepe, Mrs. Kennedy did not bow.

Granted, George Washington bowed to dignitaries on the balcony of New Yorks Federal Hall on April 30, 1789, when he was inaugurated. And he bowed to the tens of thousands of American citizens who came to witness the first taking of the presidential oath.

But Washington was mildly rebuked by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and other republicans for aping this monarchical practice. They preferred a simple handshake to put distance between our new experiment in self-rule and those royal courts of Europe.

Democrats used to understand this. Franklin D. Roosevelt never bowed. Confined to a wheel chair as he often was, it would really not have been possible. When FDR played host to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in June, 1939, he not only did not bow to the British monarchs, he made a point of serving them hot dogs and beans at a Hyde Park picnic! The royals loved it.

Jimmy Carter showed an appreciation of American history when he was inaugurated. Following the taking of the oath and a thoroughly forgettable Inaugural Address on January 20, 1977, President Carter got out of his limousine and walked down Pennsylvania Avenue to the reviewing stands in front of the White House.

Carter did this to emulate the famous Inaugural walk of President Thomas Jefferson in 1801. I applauded Jimmy Carter for this fine action. (Come to think of it, its the last thing he did that I could applaud.)

So, please, can we remember we are Americans? We bow only to God!

It Has Been Worse

by Robert Morrison

October 19, 2009

I’ve been on travel the past week, visiting with college administrators, staff, and students. I’m often asked by concerned young people: “Has it ever been this bad before?”

Oh, my yes. When I was your age, I tell them, 300 American cities went up in flames after Dr. King was assassinated, riots in the streets turned huge areas of America’s cities into no-go zones. Bob Kennedy was assassinated en route to a likely presidential nomination. Three hundred young Americans were dying in Vietnam every week, with no strategy for victory and no end in sight. Inflation was rampant and few Americans could see our country healing after such terrible divisions.

But heal she did. Last week, I witnessed American troops coming home from Iraq in two of our major airports. Welcoming committees cheered them wildly. What a great improvement on the sullen indifference that greeted too many of our returning Vietnam vets. One of my pool pals—guys I swim with every morning—was one of those Vietnam vets who came home to no welcome. Today, he joins the welcomers in applauding our magnificent troops. God bless you, Bob Hogan!

Even worse than that “annus horribilis” of 1968 was Washington in 1861. A book by Ernest Furgurson, Freedom Rising, describes the scene in the Capital. “Panic seized the people and the previous emigration [from Washington] was child’s play to the present hegira,” wrote a young man of that time of civil war. He was obviously educated before we had a federal education department. Furgurson’s narrative goes on: “Property is valueless, business is dead,” wrote a 19th century observer. “To feed incoming troops, the federal government confiscated all the flour in the mills of Georgetown and aboard schooners about to sail. Residents of Georgetown were awakened by what they feared was cannon fire; it was [instead] 3,000 barrels of flour being rolled out of one of the town’s thirty-three canalside warehouses, to supply ovens being built for the army in the basement of the Capitol. Within fifteen minutes of the confiscation order, the public price of a single barrel of flour more than doubled.”

Check out your local super market: the price of bread has not doubled. Yes, it has been worse, much, much worse.

After Pearl Harbor, there was a real, sinking feeling that the West Coast of the U.S. was defenseless. With the Pacific fleet crippled, what was there to stop the Japanese from seizing Seattle and San Francisco? These fears, we now know, were exaggerated. And they led to the unjustifiable internment of thousands of Japanese-Americans. Nonetheless, they did not seem irrational or unrealistic then.

But because things have been much, much worse than now does not mean that we should relax our strenuous efforts one bit. What is being proposed —- and seriously planned in Washington today —- is a grave threat to our future. The health care takeover is menacing. Robert Reich, Bill Clinton’s former labor secretary, and a real bellwether for liberalism, wrote boldly to seniors: “We will let you die.” Sarah Palin was publicly pilloried for saying they would do that. Reich, from Harvard, says it and gets away with it.

Rush Limbaugh was blackballed by the NFL over racist comments he never made. Yet Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg boasts about her lovely office at the Supreme Court. It faces an interior courtyard, where she won’t have to see or hear those raucous protesters out in front. She can don her $3.000 Paris-made judicial robes and never have to answer for her genocidal comments about public funding for abortions. She told the New York Times she thought the Supreme Court missed the whole point of Roe when it upheld the Hyde Amendment that bans federal funding of abortion back in 1980. She always thought, she confessed, that public funding of abortion was necessary to get rid of “populations we don’t want too many of.” No more heinous statement has been made by a Supreme Court justice since Roger B. Taney said “the black man has no rights which the white man is bound to respect.”

Another huge threat is the debt being piled upon our children’s generation and our grandchildren’s. The government announced on Friday that this year’s deficit had climbed to $1,400,000,000,000. President Obama has managed, in just nine months, to exceed the debt run up by all 43 of his predecessors. The media likes to print it as “$1.4 trillion.” Sounds small. There’s a decimal, after all. But it really should be reported as $1.4 TRILLION! George W. Bush is no innocent in this regard. But if he ran up a mountain of debt, Barack Obama has answered with a Mountain Range of debt. It’s Pike Peak versus the Rockies.

Can we survive? Can we come back? Yes. During that horrible year of 1968, many of us college students were pretty down. Our wonderful diplomatic history prof at University of Virginia—Norman A. Graebner—had not given up on this country. He concluded his final lecture of the year by urging us to understand the incredible unused resources of these United States. The U.S. was like the boxer, Joe Louis, he said. The Brown Bomber always had “power to spare.”

The man we called “Graebner the Great” was right. America does have power to spare. That power stems ultimately from the American people’s reliance on God. In God we Trust. As long as that is so, I say power to the people.

What We Should Have Learned from Bill Clinton

by Robert Morrison

August 4, 2009

It was January, 1998, nearly 12 years ago, and a terrible time for our country. Bill Bennett was invited to address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. Bennett appeared just days after the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal had splashed all over the front pages of the Washington Post.

Clinton had no friends among the CPAC attendees. Out in the hotel exhibit area, some of the tables were hawking crude, rude bumper stickers and tee shirts, all poking fun at the embattled Philanderer-in-Chief.

Bennett looked unusually stern. He grasped the podium and scowled out at the audience.

Whats all this levity, he demanded. Does anyone here think this thing is funny? This is NOT funny. Its a tragedy. And our children are going to be paying for this tragedy.

Bennetts demeanor quickly sobered any merrymakers in the crowd. He seemed like a tough assistant principal called in to read the riot act to a bunch of unruly sophomore boys in Study Hall.

I never admired Bill Bennett more than I did on that day. Its one thing to tell your political adversaries how wrong they are. It takes real courage, real character to blow the whistle on your political friends. Bennett stood tall on that day.

Our children are, in fact, still paying for most deplorable episode in our history. One of my brilliant foreign students, a young Austrian, told me during a White House tour last summer that the first time he ever heard of the Oval Office was when Bill Clinton disgraced it. How terrible for America.

The latest effort at condom-pushing in Congressthe so-called Ryan-DeLauro billis being touted by TIME and other media outlets as the historic compromise that will solve the problem of abortion in America. It will bring peace in our time in the culture wars, TIME and the bills pushers believe.

Well, it wont. With the passage of a dozen years, however, we might use the tawdry Clinton-Lewinsky story to teach an important lesson: condom programs dont work.

The idea behind condom-pushing is that if enough young people are educated enough, informed enough, and have enough access to condoms, they will faithfully and effectively use them to prevent unwanted pregnancy, AIDS, and all other STDs.

Advocates of condom-pushing are forever treating us like the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live. Get real, they yell at us. They tell us over and over again that it is only Americas puritanical sexual mores that prevent our young people from getting the information and equipment they need. We are the ones who are woefully impractical and need to get with it, they try to convince the American people.

So lets do a reality test of our own. Suppose we have a President who is not only an Ivy League graduate but also a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford. Is that smart enough? And suppose he has access to all the condoms in the world. In fact, he has appointed Tim Wirth to be his Under Secretary of State. Tim keeps a supply of condoms in a silver bowl on his desk. Our leader has only to snap his fingers or press a button to have Tim come running with his silver bowl. Talk about access. As for information about condom use and effectiveness? Suppose our Chief Executive actually sends messages to Congress every year for a nearly decade touting condoms and appropriating billions of tax dollars for their distribution and use? Is that enough information?

Yet suppose further that a 21-year old intern comes into the office of our Commander-in-Chief, bearing pizza and snapping the thong of her underwear. What then becomes of all that education, access and information? Poof! Bill Clinton never even thought about using them.

Poof and proof. Condom programs dont work. Q.E.D.

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