- The Washington Times - Monday, May 15, 2000

Responses to the Republican retreat on hearings

Normally, I find Wesley Pruden to be right on target regarding whatever issue he happens to be addressing. On May 5, however, I believe he misunderstood the apathy of Republicans in Congress to pursue aggressively the seizure of Elian Gonzalez (“First a lot of bluster, then the retreat,” Pruden on Politics).

The reticence of the Republican leadership is merely a reflection of the apathy of its Republican constituents. It is not as though Republicans think Attorney General Janet Reno was right (regardless of what the polls show). It is that Congress has had so little to show for all of its investigations of the Clinton administration. When the administration lied, Congress accepted the lies. There never were any consequences for the perpetrators, and virtually no one believes there ever will be.

It is arguable that congressional Republicans are in part responsible for the present state of affairs. After all, they backed down just enough on each occasion that President Clinton and his cronies might suffer damages to their reputations, but not legal proscriptions.

The failure of Republicans now is not the chronic backing down, it is that they have failed to make a convincing case to the American public why Miss Reno and her team should be held accountable. As a result, they have no stomach for standing alone on principle when the public isn’t at all sure what principle is anymore.

My advice would be for congressional Republicans to make a strong and convincing case, then stand and take the hits. In other words, Republicans should state without equivocation the immorality of the Reno raid and demand accountability, whatever it costs them. Political martyrdom may be the only way to awaken this slumbering giant.


Nicholasville, Ky.


I am as outraged as many Americans about the Democrats using a 6-year-old Cuban boy as a trophy and campaign tool, and all this occurring at a time when neither the media nor the boy’s Miami family have been able to gain access to him. This is another fine example of the true nature of this episode the selective enforcement of rules and law by the Clinton-Gore-Reno Justice Department.

As if such behavior is not enough to infuriate sensible and moral Americans, now we are treated to a Congress that is more worried about polls than enforcing the law. This is evidenced clearly in its lack of conviction to practice “congressional oversight” in this matter. In The Washington Times’ editorial about the inaction of the Republican Congress on this and other issues (“Headed for the hills,” May 10), it is distressing that senators and representatives who initially expressed outrage on Easter weekend saw their cowardice “resurrected” just a few days later.

It is true that we have to suffer the Clinton administration only eight more months, but with the weak and vacillating Congress we have, I am not sure we will be much better off. It is time for the Republican leadership in Congress to put up or shut up.


Huntsville, Ala.


The Times is correct in its editorial “Headed for the hills.” Even my two senators, Kay Bailey Hutchison and Phil Gramm, have turned yellow on this one. I cannot believe Congress wants the revolution that is being brought on by the lawlessness of the Clinton administration. The administration is, in essence, being blessed by the entire Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike. What is happening in this country?


Manor, Texas

Left-wing colleges can be good training grounds for young conservatives[p]

John Leo’s column, “Selective campus coercion” (Commentary, May 10), certainly exposes anti-Christian bias among some of our most elite private colleges, but how should a Christian conservative react?

My own son attends a private, liberal, anti-Christian university, so this is not a moot question for me. I am a conservative, practicing Christian. As much as I agree with Mr. Leo’s analysis, his argument has both philosophical and practical flaws.

First, the colleges he cites as discriminating against Christians Tufts University, Grinnell College, Whitman College and Middlebury College are all private institutions. One would hope that conservatives would be as equally vigilant about their rights to set their own standards of conduct as conservatives are for other private institutions (such as the Boy Scouts). If Tufts banned Christians from campus, that would be its right. Christians have no right to Tufts subsidies in any event.

Second, as a practical matter, my son and thousands of others at colleges with overwhelmingly liberal faculties are not all fools. They are rebellious, smart and questioning. Of what are we afraid? If we are right, our children will have had their views challenged in a tendentious caldron, and be stronger for it. If we are wrong, or if they are weak, they will succumb. The alternative, however, is to raise hothouse plants, self-satisfied with their opinions without ever being seriously challenged. My son has taken his hits, too, but he is intellectually tougher for the experience.

If your child has a reasoning capacity of Play-Doh, send him to a conservative school. But if your son or daughter is intelligent and already has values, one of the colleges mentioned by Mr. Leo (plus Ivy League and Patriot League schools) should not be dismissed immediately.

Sure, leftist “boot camps” such as Antioch College are beyond the pale, but many of the liberal elite campuses provide a good liberal crucible for toughening conservative philosophy by forcing your child to defend his beliefs.

And they have a right to do so. Wimps need not apply.



Cartoon chicken is earning its wings

Bill Garner’s May 4 editorial cartoon clearly illustrates that the Senate campaign of Hillary Rodham Clinton is fueled merely by celebrity rather than by achievement or vision. The cartoon is captioned, “Hillary discusses a few things she’ll do for New York.” The dialogue balloons illustrating what she is discussing are all blank, indicating that so far she has expressed no worthwhile ideas. Perhaps, too, the blank balloons represent the emptiness of Mrs. Clinton’s incomprehensible “politics of meaning.”

But wait. In the corner of the cartoon, Mr. Garner’s chicken editorializes that what Mrs. Clinton will do for New York is “pretty much the same thing she did for Arkansas and health care.” No Chicken Little, this wise bird should be listened to both by New Yorkers threatened with the horrors of a Sen. Hillary Clinton and, as the Senate is merely her steppingstone to the Oval Office, also by Americans in jeopardy of suffering through another morality-challenged Clinton presidency.

Both poltroons, the Clintons have unfairly tainted Arkansas with their despicable shortcomings. They and their unsavory cronies are the only Arkansans most people know about. Mrs. Clinton left her mark on Arkansas through the failed education reform program she headed while her husband was governor. The health care reform fiasco Mrs. Clinton headed as first lady reflected her incompetence once again. Her uncompromising style forced even a Senate controlled by Democrats to reject her program. Her current champion, retiring New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, termed undemocratic her closed meetings barring health care professionals from participating. Now a Senate candidate, Mrs. Clinton has proved in the past that she can’t get along with senators even under the most ideal conditions. If Republicans continue to control the Senate, she would be even less effective (if that’s possible) representing the interests of New Yorkers.

That cartoon chicken is one smart fowl. Given Mrs. Clinton’s track record of incompetence in Arkansas and with health care and the many scandals tainting her integrity, electing her senator would be to use Vice President Al Gore’s favorite term a “risky scheme.”


Silver Spring

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