Editor’s Note:Starting today, I will be running a series of columns that take an in-depth look at the failing Republican Party. It’s loss of leadership and an investigation into the recent campaign finance allegations. If you are a Republican, you won’t like what you read. And Democrats ain’t no angels, so I promise to be fair. Starting winter quarter, I will present formidable obstacles for the Republican Party. I will challenge the party as a whole to get back in touch with the American people and urge them to get off their right-wing bandwagon; a bandwagon currently without wheels.
On the cover of a recent Newsweek is a haggard and war-torn photo of Newt Gingrich, a clear representation of the Republican Party as a whole. White House Press Secretary Joseph Lockhart, in reference to the latest attacks on the president for alleged campaign finance illegalities, accused the Republicans of “going off on a variety of different fishing expeditions.” That’s putting it mildly. The Republicans are in serious trouble, losing public confidence and failing miserably in their collective attempts to impeach the president.
Perjury issues and impeachment inquiries have run amuck. Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., is trying to pick up where Newt left off, denying partisan politics, but looking like a fool. The Republican-dominated House Judiciary Committee, along with other conservatives, is scrambling to save face, but not succeeding. The Republican Party … is an embarrassment to American politics. They have lost sight of priorities and left the American public gagging. It started out with the president, to be sure. But because Republicans could not let sleeping dogs lie, they’ve turned their witch hunt onto themselves. Republicans are appearing as nothing more than mudslingers and dirtdiggers, without once realizing that what they dish out, they will have to take. A prime example is the Federal Election Commission’s recommendation for President Clinton’s 1996 re-election campaign committee to repay $7 million and for the campaign committee of former Sen. Bob Dole, Clinton’s 1996 Republican opponent, to repay a total $17.7 million in taxpayer dollars. This is only the beginning.
The Lewinsky affair is over. Paula Jones has been paid off. Both the Senate Finance and House Government Reform committees already have looked into Democratic fund-raising practices, coming up with no solid evidence of wrongdoing at the White House. Democrats, as well as distanced Republicans, are pleading with House Speaker Newt Gingrich and the speaker-elect, Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., to halt the impeachment probe. House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., refers to the situation as “chaos.”
Now, along with a slew of superfluous witnesses and ambiguous memos, Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh will join the muck. Even smaller figures like Pam Parsons, a former college basketball coach, and Dr. Barbara Battalino, both of whom were convicted of lying under oath about a sexual relationship, will join the war that can’t be won, further embarrassing the White House and jeopardizing the democratic process. Chairman Hyde promised the inquiry would end before year’s end. But Americans will unfortunately have to endure a tainted Christmas and start the new year with a broken promise.
New York Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, recently elected to the Senate, accused the GOP of being held captive by zealots who have one thing on their minds: destroying the president. Schumer says, “Their hatred of the president exceeds their caring about the country and its people.”
Republicans have lost the impeachment, the budget, numerous recent elections, leadership, and if they continue like they have been, they will lose integrity altogether. More importantly, they have lost their collective sense of priorities and lost the faith of the American people. Americans do not want the president impeached. Republicans need a new strategy, or any strategy will do, for that matter … the search for solutions continues.
Jerry Flattum is the opinions editor for the Daily. Send comments to [email protected]