Bill Clinton's Place in History

January 19, 1999

An article in the Wall Street Journal recently asked what would be Bill Clinton's legacy. How would historians view his impeachment? Answering that question is difficult simply because it is still uncertain how historians view Andrew Johnson 130 years after his impeachment.

Some historians believe that the Republicans will go "down in history with the zealots and fanatics." Others believe that Bill Clinton will represent the 60s mentality: a former student protester, draft evader, and proponent of permissive ethics and tolerance. Obviously it is too early to tell how history will view Bill Clinton.

But there are some possible tests that can be applied. These came from Marvin Olasky, University of Texas journalism professor and editor of World magazine. He proposed two simple tests to see how the Clinton impeachment would be treated years from now.

The first is the sexuality test. "If the public readily accepts that future presidents can have mistresses, as the French electorate does today, Mr. Clinton will be vindicated. He will be seen as a pioneer in doing what sensible, civilized humane people do."

The second is the journalism test. "If the public accepts graphic reports on the private lives of public officials as a necessary part of uncovering candidates' qualifications for office, Republican lawmakers will be viewed kindly by history. People will say that Republicans will have stood up and said, There's a standard of morality that must be adhered to."

While the Senate trial is taking place, it's important to note that history is being made. Will future generations view the current proceedings as a farce or as a responsible action to an impeachable offense? Only time will tell, but I pray that history will record that men and women in the Congress did their job and followed the Constitution.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion. © 1998 Probe Ministries International