Hearings ignore

The hearings being held by the House Judiciary Committee border on the ridiculous. U.S. Rep. Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill., and the House Republicans who are forcing the hearings should reconsider the tactics they have chosen, and minimize, rather than maximize, the political bluster. The people of America illustrated in November that they did not want the hearings to be held at all by not electing any more Republicans to office. The manner in which the hearings are being conducted further disassociates Republicans from the public and shows their preference for partisanship over the people.
Recently, the committee has been listening to people who have perjured themselves. That’s right. They are having people who lied in front of a court talk about their experiences. These are neither judges nor highly esteemed lawyers speaking on the traditions of what constitutes perjury or what the normal threshold for prosecution is. They are citizens holding an open confessional with the nation watching. The Republicans claimed this testimony demonstrated the impact of perjury on people’s lives. Of what relevance is this to Clinton’s impeachment? There is no justifiable reason why these people have been called to testify.
The man in charge of the hearings, Hyde, is also hard to take seriously. His own much-publicized extramarital affair took away much of the respect he might have formerly had. When caught, he made excuses rather than simply taking responsibility for his actions, despite having chided Clinton for doing the same thing. Claiming it was a youthful indiscretion (in his mid-forties) is not the mature and responsible choice to make.
Additionally, Hyde is running the hearings in a very partisan manner. He will frequently not allow Democrats to ask witnesses questions that he deems damaging to his case. When Kenneth Starr was testifying, Democrats were frequently not allowed to ask questions, or Starr was told he did not have to answer difficult questions.
Finally, after days of hearings, the committee has yet to question any of the major witnesses in Starr’s case. Monica Lewinsky has not been questioned, nor has Linda Tripp, nor Betty Currie. The first duty of these hearings is to determine whether Starr’s report has enough truth in it to move forward to impeachment. Currently the Judiciary Committee has not even begun that part of its job.
Congress is responsible for a number of things. Primary among them is serving the American people. That duty is being sorely neglected by the current hearings. Holding the hearings at all ignores the mandate of the voters. Congress is also responsible for defending the Constitution. Creating a self-help group for perjurers in the House Judiciary Committee is a far cry from defending the Constitution and serving the people.
Now that Hyde and his Republican cohorts have decided to hold the hearings, they should at least do so in a respectful and responsible manner. The current farcical hearings are an insult to the American people.