A Hollow Presidency

April 1, 1999

The post-impeachment decline of the president has been a curious turn. Who would have predicted after the president was acquitted that so many events would seem to conspire against his popularity? A recent column by Charles Krauthammer details the three successive events that have had such a profound influence.

First was the charge by Juanita Broadderick. Her retelling of the story on national TV was quickly followed by Democratic leaders who could only offer a lame defense that it was a "he-said, she-said" rape story. For years they had decried the marginalization and victimization of women with stories just like Juanita Broadderick. Now they had to dismiss her with a shrug rather than deny the charges.

Second was Monica Lewinsky telling her story to a Super Bowl-size audience. The public consumed it with lip-smacking relish (even stores had trouble keeping her lipstick in stock). Monica's comments pushed aside theatrical legalisms and let America hear what really happened in an atmosphere no longer supercharged by an impeachment trial.

Third was the book by George Stephanopoulos. Here the president was undone, not by his enemies or accusers. He was undone by his closest aide who says he would not have helped elect Clinton if he knew then what he knows now. Add to this comments by other close aides and confidants. Mike McCurry was asked about Clinton's fitness to be president. He responded, "I have enormous doubts." The president's former press secretary (Dee Myers), his former chief of staff (Leon Panetta), and his former advisor (David Gergen) have all been seen publicly agonizing over the same question. Even his close friend and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has said, "Mr. Clinton has no presidency to defend."

It's a sad commentary that as his second term is winding down, that even his close friends and advisors say he has a hollow presidency.

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