Cultural Revolutions

Not a Fit Topic for Discussion

William Jefferson Clinton and his supporters have stepped up their efforts to restore republican government to the United States. Responding to the Starr report—and the accompanying boxes of documentation sent to Congress—the President's liberal champions took up the chant that "It's all about sex" and argued that the real debate in the House Judiciary Committee is over the definition of an impeachable offense. In shielding Mr. Clinton's private life from public scrutiny, the Democratic leadership took rhetorical cynicism to new heights: One "scholar" went on National Public Radio to point out that Alexander Hamilton had engaged in an affair when he was secretary of the treasury, and nobody impeached him. On talk radio, this new bit of historical erudition quickly replaced the Harding scandal and the Jefferson-and-the slave-girl romance, and no Republican, apparently, was bright enough to point out that Cabinet officials are not impeached or that Hamilton carried on his affair outside the office, not within work hours, and with a woman who was not working for him. But why stick at these details? Sex is sex is private life —right?

The liberals are right, of course. In any sane society, a President's private life would not be a fit topic for discussion, much less for an impeachment. That boys will be boys is hardly startling information, even for Americans who are kept in...

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