DEAD WHITE MALES — RECONSIDERED Bill and Hillary Clinton aren’t merely graduates of Yale Law School. They are products of an elite intellectual-activist caste. Members of this pioneering group — mostly lawyers and English professors who want to be lawyers — believe they are standing on the shoulders of giants. Affirming that they are the only inheritors of the Civil Rights generation, these would-be revolutionaries have sought to make the Constitution a “living document” which can be brought to heel according to their values. Abortion and the Constitution? “Oh, it’s in there — you have to read between the lines!” The Commerce Clause? “Wonderful! It allows the feds to regulate playgrounds and anything else we want.” Etc.
Scholars like Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas were mocked for arguing that the text of the Constution meant something. We could grasp this “something” through the plain meaning of the words, the intent of the Founders, and two hundred years of precedent. To them something could be bad and illegal but not necessarily unconstitutional. Justice Thomas argued along these lines in one case about prison brutality and he was called an Uncle Tom for years.
But now, like Saul on the Road to Impeachment, these people have had a revelation. The Constitution has a meaning. Not only that, it is a deeply rooted, original understanding sort of meaning. If one listens to Democrats in Congress and Mr. Clinton’s lawyers argue about the “High crimes and Misdemeanors” clause of the Constitution you would think they were auditioning for a job with Antonin Scalia. They quote the Federalist Papers (albeit selectively), notes from the Constitutional convention, etc. Funny how those racist dead white males come in handy when you need them.
LINDA’S FAULT Now the White House is claiming that because Linda Tripp suggested to Monica Lewinsky to get a job that Bill Clinton is off the hook. “It was her idea.” But what in heaven’s name is the relevance of this? Bill Clinton gave her the job — or at least tried to, with the help of Vernon Jordan. At the same time, Bill Clinton warned Monica about the dangers of foreign blackmail because he feared an embassy might be tapping his phone. So, wait a second. Because Monica asked for a job supposedly at Tripp’s behest, Bill’s off the hook. But what if Monica had asked for Federal Reserve or defense information from the Big He? Would the White House argue, “It wasn’t the President’s idea, the Chinese suggested it.” Gays are often blocked from high level jobs because of their vulnerability to blackmail. So are numerous people who have been sexually indiscrete. We are lucky that the President wasn’t blackmailed — as far as we know — for anything bigger than a 23-year-old’s job at Revlon. But why does this absolve Clinton?