On this day ten years ago, the House of Representatives voted to impeach Bill Clinton based on his perjury, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power during the Lewinsky scandal. Lead by moral crusader Henry Hyde, who himself engaged in a five-year long affair with a married woman with children, the bills of impeachment barely passed and solely along party lines.
I remember this shit. I remember supporting Clinton's impeachment only because I wanted to tell my kids someday, "Yeah, I lived through a presidential impeachment." Of course, I was 13 years old and didn't understand that "impeachment" and "removal from office" are two totally different legal concepts. Clinton, of course, was never removed from office; that vote in the Senate barely failed and solely along party lines.
I don't think I need to get into how utterly ridiculous the whole Lewinsky thing is vis-a-vis everything that's happened under Bush. But it just highlights this theory of mine that we allow Republicans to get away with things we'd never allow Democrats to even think about. I vaguely remember how outraged Republicans were at the Monica thing and at Clinton's "complete disrespect of the law." I concretely remember how Bush's "complete disrespect of the law" post-9/11 didn't bother the GOP in the slightest. Wiping his ass with the Constitution? Silence. Making shit up about WMDs in Iraq? Silence. Fucking torturing guys? Silence.
Actually, they haven't been silent. They've been vociferously in favor of all that, or at the very least complicit in its perpetuation. What a difference ten years can make! Ten years ago, if you sat in front of the U.S. Congress and made shit up about an embarrassing private fuck-up, you were excoriated and held up as an example of the moral decay we godless liberals started in the 60s. Today, if you sit in front of
the U.S. Congress the United fucking Nations and make shit up to get us into an illegal, unnecessary, unwinable war, you're hailed as a hero who's "kept us safe."
"Everything changed on 9/11," they whine. No it didn't. Or at least it didn't have to. How many of you think that if Bush were a Democrat who lied to everyone's faces about Iraq's capabilities to manufacture weapons and its "airtight" ties to 9/11 and Osama bin Laden, then invaded the country on those pretenses, then have it be revealed everything he ever said about the reasons for war was bullshit, then have said war devolve into a chaotic shitfight with Iraqi insurgents and a nascent al-Qaeda base, then change the reasons for war to fluffy sounding crap like "liberation" and "spreading democracy," that he would have survived politically for more than a second after declaring "mission accomplished" in his dumb, fake jumpsuit? If Bush the Democrat tried this shit, we would have impeached him, removed him from office, and deleted him from the White House homepage before "American Idol" that night.
OK, this is getting long but one last point. I think it was just last week, Dick Cheney did an interview where he basically admitted that he knew the pre-war intelligence was made-up nonsense and that an invasion of Iraq had been planned before 9/11. He said that even knowing then what we all know now, he still would have pushed to invade Iraq. He also casually admitted to authorizing torture at Gitmo. And the response from the Republican peanut gallery? "Bush kept us safe!" Yeah, safe from our rights, prosperity, science, our allies, and our once pretty damn good global standing.
Yeah, Clinton is a scumbag in a lot of ways but come the fuck on! How goddamn quaint does his impeachment seem now! It's almost cute how in 1998, the Republicans made it sound like the biggest threat to national security was Bill Clinton's penis. It was also in 1998 that al-Qaeda bombed those two American embassies in Africa and bin Laden issued his second fatwa against the U.S. It makes one wonder what better things the FBI could have been investigating instead of Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, and seimen samples from a blue dress. Thanks, Republicans! I'll always remember how your party "kept us safe" in the 21st Century.