- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2000

We need to take the White House back. No, I'm not talking about the selling of the Lincoln Bedroom or the debasement of the Oval Office. The American people need to recapture the executive branch.

Presently, the executive branch is bereft of leadership and out of control. It is being held hostage to the political interests of Bill Clinton. The resulting chaos is a national embarrassment.

Surely even Mr. Clinton's defenders would agree that he is nothing if not a consummate political animal. From his incessant use of polls to formulate policy to his exploitation of gun tragedies, from sabotaging his own Medicare task force to orchestrating government shutdowns for partisan advantage, Mr. Clinton consistently puts politics above principle.

The Framers considered, but rejected, the idea of multiple presidents. They understood the importance of a single, energetic president speaking with one voice.

Repeatedly, Mr. Clinton has permitted dissenting voices to disintegrate the slightest appearance of unity in the executive branch.

Take Hillary's Senate run. The very idea of a first lady running for high office and subjecting the interests of the presidency to internal conflicts of interest would have been unimaginable before this narcissistic couple graced the White House.

Before some of you get your backs up, I am not referring to any gender thing here. The same thing would apply if Hillary were president and Bill were the first husband but while we're at it, perish that thought.

Remember when candidate Hillary was urging President Bill to grant clemency to the FALN Puerto Rican terrorists? Do you recall them pretending to communicate through their public press releases and insisting they weren't discussing the matter privately, while they were weekending at Camp David? It is more than unseemly for such disharmony to emanate from the White House.

Since the self-indulgent Clintons got away with it, candidate Al Gore thought he would try it, too. So he publicly lobbied President Bill to release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve while I'm sure the two never discussed it in private. Doubtlessly stricken by the utter novelty of Mr. Gore's ingenious suggestion, Mr. Clinton agreed to release the surplus oil.

Next, we had the president himself, publicly contradicting his top two officials in the executive branch, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh, about the handling of the Wen Ho Lee case and Mr. Lee's pretrial incarceration. Political Bill apparently experienced an irresistible impulse to distance himself from Judge James A. Parker's stinging rebuke of the Justice Department and the FBI for misleading him and mistreating Mr. Lee.

Then, we learned about candidate Hillary pandering to Chinese-Americans in New York, decrying stereotyping and discrimination in the Lee case. Hillary reportedly told her sympathetic audience that government officials ought not to let their racial prejudices and anti-Chinese emotions interfere with their duties.

Hillary made her disparaging remarks about her husband's top executive officials just a few days before some of those same officials were defending their treatment of Mr. Lee in testimony before a Senate Judiciary Committee task force. James Robinson, head of the Justice Department's criminal division, said the judge's criticisms were misguided because he was unaware of the extent of plea-bargaining that occurred with Mr. Lee. Attorney General Reno went further. "Mr. Lee is no hero. He is not an absentminded professor. He committed a very serious calculated crime, and he pled guilty to it," she said.

Well, which is it, Mr. President? Is Mr. Lee a victim of racial profiling or a traitor? As long as Bill Clinton is president it will be impossible for us to sort out the truth among the disparate voices. The Lee case is a good illustration of the importance of leadership and character in the chief executive. Above all else, we must be able to trust our president on national security issues. But we cannot.

Can you imagine what would happen in a major company if top-level executives and spouses were forever publicly undermining the CEO's authority? Heads would roll.

They won't roll at the White House, though, because President Clinton is deliberately allowing the dissemination of inconsistent messages. One way or another, disunity serves his various political purposes.

It is time to reunify the executive branch. It is time to restore leadership and trust to Pennsylvania Avenue. Hopefully, help is on the way.

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