Clinton Lewinsky Affair Research Paper
Although not believed to be one of the strongest or most important presidents of the US, President Clinton has certainly established a place in American history for himself. The reason is that he has been an all-time survivor amidst the large number of scandals that has rocked his two terms in office. Many believe that Clinton was elected because of his charismatic personality and his ability to attract female voters, but more importantly because of the powerful support that he received from his active wife Hillary. Today, however, Clinton’s presidency and political future are jeopardized by the president’s deep involvement in the Lewinsky scandal, an involvement that may not only cost him his political career, but that might also lead to his impeachment by the Congress.
Politicians lie all the time and even when they tell the truth, they tell it in such a twisted way that it is almost impossible to identify what exactly they mean. While this is true, lying in the case of President Clinton has been a different story, simply because he seemed to have lied under oath, thus obstructing justice and legal investigation.
The law in the US does not punish a man who cheats on his wife, even if this man is the president himself. And in the case of President Clinton, the public do not seem to have been very critical, especially that they believe his personal life to be irrelevant to his position as President of the US. Nevertheless, there is a big difference between a sexual affair and a sexual assault. Like his old time Democrat predecessor Kennedy, Clinton has also been a womanizer (Gibbs & Duffy, p.25). However, Clinton is the first president in the history of the US to be accused of sexual harassment or rape. In order to support their allegations in these cases, investigators have tries to attack the image of the president by proving that he was a womanizer and that he had relations with women who worked under his authority in the White House or when he was still a governor of Arkansas (Weisskoft, p.29).
Of the numerous cases that appeared and the large number of women who came up with their stories, none involved strong evidence that could prove these characteristics of the president. However, this was not the case with Monica Lewinsky who spent about a year of internship in the White House with the President. The name of Monica Lewinsky first appeared during the investigations conducted by independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the case of sexual harassment by Paula Jones against the President. Like other cases, an affair between the two could be supportive to the Jones weak allegations against the president (Weisskoft, p.29).
Clinton Lewinsky Relationship
Lewinsky’s denial of such a relationship could have gone unnoticed were it not for three bodies of evidence. The first comprised tapes recorded by Linda Tripp, a friend of Lewinsky and an employee at the White House involving statements made by Lewinsky that she had a sexual affair with the President. The second included a number of personal presents purchased by President Clinton and given to Lewinsky. And finally, the third included a dress of Lewinsky’s which is alleged to be stained with Clinton’s sperm (Fineman, p.18).
Despite all these realities, there could have been no real case by Jones against the President, especially with the lack of evidence that the President actually harassed her. However, fearing a sexual scandal that could endanger his political future, it seems that President Clinton tried to convince Lewinsky to the investigators and to deny their affair. While the sexual scandal might have exposed the president morally, obstruction of justice can be incriminating. If the allegations are true, the President Clinton who is supposed to be the protector of the Constitution has simply breached the Constitution under oath. This is sufficient from a legal point of view to impeach him. All it would take it to prove the case and have it transferred to Congress for discussion and if proven guilty, the President would immediately be impeached, thus putting an end to his political career and perhaps having him spend a few disgraceful years in jail (Fineman & Hosenball, pp. 10-11).
For over a year, the White House has been at war with Independent Counsel Starr who has been trying to prove his case. Yet, the issue is not just a legal complication. There are other serious factors involved. First of all, the presidency as a supreme office in the US has been under fire from the media and the public for over a year, thus, shaming the US and its position in the world. Secondly, this case has weakened the presidency of Clinton, making economic and political planning almost impossible since all resources are employed to fight back against the case (Fineman & Hosenball, p. 14).
On his party, President Clinton has still been lucky. But luck is not all what he is relying on. Surprisingly, Hillary Clinton has backed her husband even though she is certain that he has been cheating on her for years. Analysts believe that Hillary is only supporting her husband because she wants to protect and support her political career, perhaps aiming to become the first female president in the history of the US (Rosenberg & Matthew, p.22).
Others argue that their marriage has died a long time ago and that their being together is only for political need. Either way, President Clinton has so far enjoyed and used the support of his wife successfully. However, this might not be enough, especially that Kenneth Starr has finally succeeded in striking a deal with Lewinsky for a full confession in return for immunity against persecution. This could be a devastating strike to Clinton’s luck and defense (Howard & Hosenball, p.15).
Whatever the situation is now, the issue is no longer over the sexual harassment of Jones. Now it is whether President Clinton has actually lied under oath or not. Economically, the US is in good shape and growth is stable. At the same time, the US is not facing any serious situations on the international level. This means that the emphasis in the remaining two years of Clinton’s presidency will be on his sexual and legal scandals. However, if this proves to be so, and with the developments taking place recently, it is unlikely that the President will remain president for the rest of his term. It is all a matter of speculation but so far, these speculations do not seem to be very promising for the White House. Impeachment procedures have already been started, and it is all left in the hands of political circumstances and deals inside the Congress before a final decision would be made, that is, whether Clinton would be impeached or only reprimanded by the Congress (The Economist, p.15).
In the first month of 1999, the case took another turn as the Congress actually started the impeachment process. Upon concluding the hearings, the committee running the trial in Congress decided to start the final impeachment procedure, especially as the president was found impeachable on a number of accounts. However, this still does not mean the end of President Clinton. If the Republicans fail to gather the sufficient majority, they will not be able to impeach the president, and at best, they could only reprimand him. As for Clinton himself, he is trying to mobilize his connections inside the Democratic and the Republican parties (Gibbs & Michael, p. 26).
The trial of the century as it is called, is now dominated by a number of political issues.
First of all, the Republicans are enthusiastic about humiliating the Democrat President in order to settle an old account. In 1972, the Republican President Nixon was humiliated and forced to resign due to the Watergate scandal. The Democrats during that period were working actively on the impeachment procedures, and for years, the Republicans suffered serious political shame and humiliation. Ironically, Hillary Rodham (now Hillary Clinton) was one of the active lawyers involved in gathering evidence against Nixon (Gibbs & Duffy, p.24).
Nevertheless, the Republicans may not be able to go very far with the case, especially that the polls show a deep resentment among the public for shaming the presidency. Actually, the majority of the American people seem to be against the impeachment, considering the sexual life of the president his own business, and believing that the crimes committed by the president are not very serious. Afraid of losing their public support, many Republicans may not want to impeach the president after all (Kirn, Online).
Another risk involved in the impeachment is that the political image and position of the American presidency will be further shocked. Already, President Clinton is faced with embarrassing questions about the scandal in every international visit he is making. This will not only weaken the image of President Clinton alone, but the entire presidency in the US and abroad. America’s image as the world leader has also been seriously damaged, and more harm could be done if an impeachment decision is finally reached (Kirn, Online).
Furthermore, an impeachment decision could have a dramatic impact on the stocks markets. The US has survived the collapse in stock markets witnessed all over the world, but if the Republicans impeach the president, American stock owners may be facing serious risks and losses. No Republican senate would want to find himself in such a situation, because the consequences would be very serious on the economy, the public and the elections in the future (The Economist, p.15).
Impeachment of President Clinton
The impeachment of President Clinton is possible. However, there are major political, international, economic and social factors that are taken into consideration before such a decision is made. Although the majority of the Republicans want to impeach the president, driven by the desire for revenge or the intention to inflict a defeat on their competitors, they are aware that the consequences of impeachment may not only harm the democrats, but also the Republican party and the US itself. The final decision, however, remains in the hands of the Congressional Court which in the end will tell what the future of President Clinton will be. This trial has earned its name as the trial of the century, and President Clinton may himself be the president of the century.
Fineman, Howard & Hosenball, Mark. (September 28, 1998). “Out of control.”
Newsweek, pp. 8-13.
Fineman, Howard. (September 21, 1998). “‘I have sinned.’ Will America Forgive
the President?” Newsweek, pp. 16-26.
Gibbs, Nancy & Duffy, Michael. (October 19, 1998). “Down in History.” Time,
Kirn, Walter. www.time.com online, January 14, 1999.
Rosenberg, Debra & Cooper, Matthew. (September 21, 1998). “The First Lady: In
the eye of the storm.” Newsweek, pp. 22-23.
“Unwanted.” (September 12, 1998). The Economist, p.15
Weisskoft, Michael. (October 19, 1998). “Yet another shoe to drop?” Time, p. 29.