Could Clinton Avoided Impeachment By Being Honest?

Our boy Bill, as you remember, was impeached for perjury when he denied he had had sex with “that woman”.

Suppose when Monica first appeared on public radar he had issued a statement like

"Yeah, she asked to blow me and being a guy, I said why not. I think all the men and most of the women in this country have no problem with this in principle.

"But it does raise the question if this is fitting behavior for your chief executive. Well, Kennedy comes to mind and the public record of Congressional sexual scandals over the past few decades makes it clear that sex is as much a part of politics as it is the rest of life and, as behavioral transgressions go, mine was relatively benign. I mean, all I really did was close the door and drop my pants.

"Now, if you recognize that Ken Starr is a politically motivated asshole, write your congressmen to get him off my back.

My deep apologies to my family for getting caught, etc."

I think it would have turned the whole thing around.

SSDD–he then would have been called up for impeachment for “blatantly setting a bad example for right-thinking Americans to follow” BBBYYY… You realize that there’s no standard for impeachment? A high crime and misdemeanor is whatever congress says it is on a given day. They had the votes to bust his chops and bust his chops they did.

But, yeah, that would have been more fun.

It depends on what the definition of “honest” is.

The trouble with that adage about the coverup being the thing that really causes the biggest trouble is that we only have examples where something got exposed even though the politician tried to cover it up. Converting those examples to situations where the politician outed himself would reduce trouble, sure. But if we could consider all the situations where nothing ever got exposed, the picture would change. Presumeably, numerous coverups have worked, and therefore we don’t know they worked.

Had he not lied under oath, he would not have been impeached.

Right, he was not impeached for denying he had sex with Monica Lewinsky. He was impeached for lying under oath in that other case with a different woman.

I tend to agree.

Many people do many things that they are somewhat ashamed about. LIEING in court aint one of em.

If you are going to lie in court, it better be because telling the truth would get you in even more legal trouble.

In this case, not lying under oath would have been honest. Clinton’s “crime” was merely saying yes to an eager adult woman … she never lodged a complaint of harassment … it was entirely consensual and, imo, nobody’s business but their own.

I think that had he taken that tack, instead of being disgraced, he would be remembered the man who put hypocrisy out of fashion.

Yes, but only because the Loyal Opposition had spent 7 years looking for something to impeach him for and this was the only thing they could come up with.

And if he had not lied they wouldnt have even had that.

As for the cover up angle. Yeah, cover up while its WORKING, but really once its outa the bag, come clean, plead imperfect humanity, beg for forgiveness, dont lie and say hypocritcal/rediculous shit that would make jesus do an :rolleyes:

I think it’s possible he would have been impeached anyway. It’s true that he left himself open to impeachment by lying about the relationship, but it was also politically convenient to go after him at that moment. And that would have been true even if he had not lied about his relationship. We might have seen the lying under oath arguments reframed with more of a focus on sexual harrassment and improper relationships with subordinates, which was discussed at the time but wasn’t the primary issue. There are no rules guiding what is impeachable and what isn’t. So Congressional Republicans still could have impeached him if they wanted to, and he still would have been politically vulnerable, and I am not sure they would have passed up an opportunity like that.

Well, no. It’s true that Paula Jones brought the original sexual harrassment suit that Ken Starr grabbed hold of, and that led eventually to Clinton having to state whether he had had sexual relations with dozens of women who had come into his sphere, and Lewinsky was one of them. But it was specifically his denial of having had sex with Lewinsky, which depending on one’s definition of sex was a falsehood, that got him impeached.

People forget that the Q&A involved was not about Lewinsky, she was just another woman on a long list. The court was looking for a “pattern of behavior” that could have been viewed as sexual harrassment. Starr (supposedly) didn’t even know about the Lewinsky affair until after Clinton had denied it. Even when the affair surfaced, it was just he said-she said until it turned out she had kept his semen stain on her dress.

Thus, Clinton had no real reason to think he would get caught, and in his lawyer’s mind a BJ might not qualify as sex anyway.

Rather than 'fess up to every affair he’d had (as opposed to just the ones we know about) Clinton should have just refused to testify. Bush and Cheney have shown time and again that the POTUS and VPOTUS and even their staff members don’t have to go under oath even if the court rules that they do.

Could he have taken the Fifth?

Thats the other part of the problem. Thinking like a lawyer (a half too clever though) when being subjected to a public political process.

Yeah, going all technical legal ninja in a trial nobody else gives a rats ass about might be a good move. But in the court of public opinion ? Bad idea IMO.

Even most rabid pro Clinton people werent going to stomach “a BJ aint sex” excuse. The best even they could do was more like “it shouldnt matter that he got a BJ, so we can uncomfortably let it slide”.

It was pretty clear that Bill Clinton doesn’t have the first idea of what the definition of “honest” is. It’s also pretty clear that his impeachment was politically motivated, and had nothing to do with being fellated by a secretary (which, really, is kind of one of the perks of being an executive) except as a convenient and salacious excuse intended to excite the interest of of the vast majority of Americans who don’t realize that getting a blowjob does not constitute a high crime or misdemeanor, and certainly isn’t high treason or any other offense normally considered the standard for levying impeachement. The clearest sign of this is that his accusors ignored offenses that might possibly have met this standard (such as selling access or using personal influence in aid if foreign agents of an unfriendly foreign power, for which any normal civil servant or government contrator would have been indited and prosecuted for), and instead went for the politically more juicy and easier to explain “issue”.

So, no, Clinton would have been impeached regardless. But, he also wouldn’t have told the truth; it’s just not his nature, to the point that his mistruthfulness is pathological. So the question is academic on all fronts.


He could have done one better; he could have refused to answer on the grounds that it had nothing to do with an impeachable offense and therefore was not germane to the issues at hand. He could have challenged his attackers to pay attention to the state of the nation rather than his bedroom habits. He could have said that this issue is one between himself, his wife, and Ms. Lewinski. That would have been the standup thing to do. But he knew what he did was legally (and to a personal degree, ethically) wrong, and he tried to legalese his way out of it. This didn’t work for Reagan, and it didn’t work for him in the court of public opinion.


I disagree. I don’t think the mainstream GoP congress critters really wanted to impeach Clinton, particularly on something they knew would not get him bounced out of office. Once it was known that he’d lied under oath, they really had no choice. If they didn’t, their base would have been furious. If they did, the Dems get to intentionally misrepresent the facts and whine about him being impeached for a blowjob. Rock. GoP. Hard place. They chose to do the right thing.

Would there be a case for violating some kind of “fraternisation”, or some such?

He was (in a way) her boss. I doubt he made her promotions (or retension of her intern position) conditional, based on her oral performance.

But I bet some sexual harassment cases have gone down that road.

Edit: Sorry. I see Marley23 had touched on this already. Carry on.

These same people would like to revoke Obama’s Secret Service protection and driving privileges so that he gets a moving violation that they can impeach him for. Seriously, 45,000 people die in this country every year from lack of health coverage, Wall Street costs $1 trillion in cash and $10 trillion in loans in one quarter and Congress doesn’t blink. Congress is the opposite of progress and has a working majority of narcissistic idiots at any one time.

I agree. He would not have committed perjury, there would have been no impeachment.

No, sorry, not buying it. Doesn’t even come close to ringing true. They had no chance of kicking him out of office, but they were itching to try, and that’s why they jumped on an issue most people did not think was that important. They could have easily censured him and scored a moral victory without getting nearly as much flack for their obsessive focus on his sex life.