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Weekly Alibi Angry Dems Accept Presidential Oral Sex, But Not Lies

By Jack Moczinski

SEPTEMBER 8, 1998:  In Watergate, the turning point for President Richard Nixon came when Republican leaders met Nixon at the White House and told him that they were no longer willing to stand by and support him as he unraveled. Soon thereafter, Nixon resigned. Now, in 1998, pundits are watching the Democrats in the House and Senate to see how they react to President Bill Clinton's scandal as a determinant of his survival.

Since Clinton dropped the bombshell that he acted inappropriately with Monica Lewinsky, Democratic leaders have been in an uproar, not because of the distasteful nature of his actions, but because Clinton made them lie for him. When the scandal originally broke, Clinton pulled many Democratic elected officials aside to tell them that the charges against him were completely false and asked these leaders to defend him in their hometowns. Many Democrats did just that.

When Clinton admitted this affair, Democratic officials who had defended him were furious --including Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.). In the words of one Daschle staffer, the senator is absolutely pissed at Clinton. This is the sentiment among many Democratic leaders.

The Democrats who are breaking ranks from Clinton are those in tough districts or those who are trying to win office. Such is the case with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martin Chavez, who two weeks ago voiced his disappointment with Clinton (shortly after his opponent, Gov. Gary Johnson, did the same). Ironically, a month earlier, Chavez had Clinton to town to raise money for his campaign. I guess from now to November you won't see any Marty Chavez propaganda featuring pictures of Chavez and his buddy the pres.

In any case, a visit by Democratic leaders to the White House seems far away. They are more inclined to shake their heads and call Clinton a bad boy. Even Newt Gingrich's recent comments on this situation are uncharacteristically passive. They are far from calling for impeachment and more pointed toward the Congress censuring Clinton. U.S. House Republicans are whispering that Republicans and members of Congress are being easy on the president because they do not want to draw the microscope on their personal lives, which is what could happen if they go forward with impeachment hearings. Plus, with the American public tired of hearing about Clinton's sex life, they would be even more disgusted to hear about the sexploits of Congress.

Gore's Blues

The Democratic National Committee and the White House are frantically trying to assess the damage to Vice President Al Gore wrought by the Clinton scandal and the fact that Attorney General Janet Reno may seek an independent counsel to investigate Gore's fundraising practices on the 1996 campaign. Gore's willingness to put his butt on the line for Clinton by raising money for the 1996 campaign or standing by silently throughout the Clinton crisis makes him seem so loyal that folks are questioning his judgment and his electability in 2000. There is such a thing as being too loyal.

Democratic presidential hopefuls are watching this all very attentively. With Gore the front-runner in the Democratic primaries, they hope that somehow the scandals will offer an opportunity to give Gore a challenge. The names floating around these days of Democrats interested in the presidency are House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Maine), Sen. Bob Kerry (D-Neb.), Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.).

These guys are rather upright citizens who are hoping that after Clinton's scandals the public wants more value-minded, responsible candidates for president. As well, the Republicans are seeing candidates who are talking about personal responsibility and moral values. Such is the case with candidates like Family Research Council Director Gary Bauer and Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.). Democrats and Republicans are trying to be so opposite in nature from Clinton that they hold no-frills news conferences and are about as animated as a cold fish.

All parties are assuming that this is what the people want and assuming that Gore will be tarnished by Clinton's scandal. However, their hopes of a severely tarnished president may be squashed by indicators of public sentiment like last week's CNN/USA Today poll that showed that if the 1996 presidential election was held again, Clinton would still whip Bob Dole and Ross Perot.

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