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EarlG ADMIN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-20-05 09:57 AM
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Those were the days: House Republican statements on Clinton's impeachment
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Edited on Tue Dec-20-05 10:19 AM by EarlG
It's interesting how these statements read in light of recent events...

Rep. Marge Roukema (R-N.J.):

And we all share in the emotional trauma getting back to our subject of this constitutional crisis in which we are ensnared. But this cup cannot pass us by, we can't avoid it, we took an oath of office, Mr. Speaker, to uphold the Constitution under our democratic system of government, separation of powers, and checks and balances.

And we must fulfill that oath and send the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial. Now I say personally, and all of you who know me, and a lot of you do, I've been around a long time; I bear no personal animosity towards the president. But we in the House did not seek this constitutional confrontation.

Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.):

How can we expect a Boy Scout to honor his oath if elected officials don't honor theirs? How can we expect a business executive to honor a promise when the chief executive abandons his or hers?

Rep. Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.):

How did this great nation of the 1990s come to be? It all happened Mr. Speaker, because freedom works. . . . But freedom, Mr. Speaker, freedom depends upon something. The rule of law. And that's why this solemn occasion is so important. For today we are here to defend the rule of law. According to the evidence presented by our fine Judiciary Committee, the president of the United States has committed serious transgressions.

Among other things, he took an oath to God, to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And then he failed to do so. Not once, but several times. If we ignore this evidence, I believe we undermine the rule of law that is so important that all America is. Mr. Speaker, a nation of laws cannot be ruled by a person who breaks the law. Otherwise, it would be as if we had one set of rules for the leaders and another for the governed. We would have one standard for the powerful, the popular and the wealthy, and another for everyone else.

This would belie our ideal that we have equal justice under the law. That would weaken the rule of law and leave our children and grandchildren with a very poor legacy. I don't know what challenges they will face in their time, but I do know they need to face those challenges with the greatest constitutional security and the soundest rule of fair and equal law available in the history of the world. And I don't want us to risk their losing that....

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI):

The framers of the Constitution devised an elaborate system of checks and balances to ensure our liberty by making sure that no person, institution or branch of government became so powerful that a tyranny could be established in the United States of America. Impeachment is one of the checks the framers gave the Congress to prevent the executive or judicial branches from becoming corrupt or tyrannical.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas):

When someone is elected president, they receive the greatest gift possible from the American people, their trust. To violate that trust is to raise questions about fitness for office. My constituents often remind me that if anyone else in a position of authority -- for example, a business executive, a military officer of a professional educator -- had acted as the evidence indicates the president did, their career would be over. The rules under which President Nixon would have been tried for impeachment had he not resigned contain this statement: "The office of the president is such that it calls for a higher level of conduct than the average citizen in the United States."

Rep. Charles Canady (R-Fla.):

Many have asked why we are even here in these impeachment proceedings. They have asked why we can't just rebuke the president and move on. That's a reasonable question. And I certainly understand the emotions behind that question. I want to move on. Every member of this committee wants to move on. We all agree with that.

But the critical question is this: Do we move on under the Constitution, or do we move on by turning aside from the Constitution? Do we move on in faithfulness to our own oath to support and defend the Constitution, or do we go outside the Constitution because it seems more convenient and expedient?


Why are we here? We are here because we have a system of government based on the rule of law, a system of government in which no one -- no one -- is above the law. We are here because we have a constitution.

A constitution is often a most inconvenient thing. A constitution limits us when we would not be limited. It compels us to act when we would not act. But our Constitution, as all of us in this room acknowledge, is the heart and soul of the American experiment. It is the glory of the political world. And we are here today because the Constitution requires that we be here. We are here because the Constitution grants the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment. We are here because the impeachment power is the sole constitutional means granted to Congress to deal with the misconduct of the chief executive of the United States.

In many other countries, a matter such as this involving the head of government would have been quietly swept under the rug. There would, of course, be some advantages to that approach. We would all be spared embarrassment, indignity and discomfort. But there would be a high cost if we followed that course of action. Something would be lost. Respect for the law would be subverted, and the foundation of our Constitution would be eroded.

The impeachment power is designed to deal with exactly such threats to our system of government. Conduct which undermines the integrity of the president's office, conduct by the chief executive which sets a pernicious example of lawlessness and corruption is exactly the sort of conduct that should subject a president to the impeachment power.

Rep. Bob Ingliss (R-S.C.):

I think is important to point out here is that we have a constitutional obligation, a constitutional obligation to act. And there are lots of folks who would counsel, Listen, let's just move along. It's sort of the Clinton so-what defense. So what? I committed perjury. So what? I broke the law. Let's just move along. I believe we've got a constitutional obligation to act.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.):

Mr. Chairman, this is a somber occasion. I am here because it is my constitutional duty, as it is the constitutional duty of every member of this committee, to follow the truth wherever it may lead. Our Founding Fathers established this nation on a fundamental yet at the time untested idea that a nation should be governed not by the whims of any man but by the rule of law. Implicit in that idea is the principle that no one is above the law, including the chief executive

Since it is the rule of law that guides us, we must ask ourselves what happens to our nation if the rule of law is ignored, cheapened or violated, especially at the highest level of government. Consider the words of former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who was particularly insightful on this point. "In a government of laws, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law. It invites every man to become a law unto himself."

Mr. Chairman, we must ask ourselves what our failure to uphold the rule of law will say to the nation, and most especially to our children, who must trust us to leave them a civilized nation where justice is respected.

Rep. Steve Buyer (R-Ind.):

You know, there are people out all across America every day that help define the nation's character, and they exercise common-sense virtues, whether it's honesty, integrity, promise-keeping, loyalty, respect, accountability, they pursue excellence, they exercise self-discipline. There is honor in a hard day's work. There's duty to country. Those are things that we take very seriously.

So those are things that the founders also took seriously. Yet every time I reflect upon the wisdom of the founding fathers, I think their wisdom was truly amazing. They pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to escape the tyranny of a king. They understood the nature of the human heart struggles between good and evil.

So the founders created a system of checks and balances and accountability. If corruption invaded the political system, a means was available to address it. The founders felt impeachment was so important it was included in six different places in the Constitution. The founders set the standard for impeachment of the president and other civil officers as treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The House of Representatives must use this standard in circumstances and facts of the president's conduct to determine if the occupant of the Oval Office is fit to continue holding the highest executive office of this great country.

Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.):

In the next few days I will cast some of the most important votes of my career. Some believe these votes could result in a backlash and have serious political repercussions. They may be right. But I will leave the analysis to others. My preeminent concern is that the Constitution be followed and that all Americans, regardless of their position in society, receive equal and unbiased treatment in our courts of law. The fate of no president, no political party, and no member of Congress merits a slow unraveling of the fabric of our constitutional structure. As John Adams said, we are a nation of laws, not of men.

Our nation has survived the failings of its leaders before, but it cannot survive exceptions to the rule of law in our system of equal justice for all. There will always be differences between the powerful and the powerless. But imagine a country where a Congress agrees the strong are treated differently than the weak, where mercy is the only refuge for the powerless, where the power of our positions govern all of our decisions. Such a country cannot long endure. God help us to do what is right, not just for today, but for the future of this nation and for those generations that must succeed us.

Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.):

I suggest impeachment is like beauty: apparently in the eye of the beholder. But I hold a different view. And it's not a vengeful one, it's not vindictive, and it's not craven. It's just a concern for the Constitution and a high respect for the rule of law. ... as a lawyer and a legislator for most of my very long life, I have a particular reverence for our legal system. It protects the innocent, it punishes the guilty, it defends the powerless, it guards freedom, it summons the noblest instincts of the human spirit.

The rule of law protects you and it protects me from the midnight fire on our roof or the 3 a.m. knock on our door. It challenges abuse of authority. It's a shame "Darkness at Noon" is forgotten, or "The Gulag Archipelago," but there is such a thing lurking out in the world called abuse of authority, and the rule of law is what protects you from it. And so it's a matter of considerable concern to me when our legal system is assaulted by our nation's chief law enforcement officer, the only person obliged to take care that the laws are faithfully executed.

On edit: how could I miss Tom DeLay?

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.):

I believe that this nation sits at a crossroads. One direction points to the higher road of the rule of law. Sometimes hard, sometimes unpleasant, this path relies on truth, justice and the rigorous application of the principle that no man is above the law.

Now, the other road is the path of least resistance. This is where we start making exceptions to our laws based on poll numbers and spin control. This is when we pitch the law completely overboard when the mood fits us, when we ignore the facts in order to cover up the truth.

Shall we follow the rule of law and do our constitutional duty no matter unpleasant, or shall we follow the path of least resistance, close our eyes to the potential lawbreaking, forgive and forget, move on and tear an unfixable hole in our legal system? No man is above the law, and no man is below the law. That's the principle that we all hold very dear in this country.
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  -Those were the days: House Republican statements on Clinton's impeachment EarlG  Dec-20-05 09:57 AM   #0 
  - That was all Sept. 10th logic...times are different now.  cry baby   Dec-20-05 10:02 AM   #1 
  - a dirty bomb at that!  datasuspect   Dec-20-05 10:07 AM   #7 
  - Wow  wicket   Dec-20-05 10:02 AM   #2 
  - Excellant Post - Bush/Gonzalez make up the LAW as they go along  Imagevision   Dec-21-05 04:23 PM   #94 
  - AWESOME compilation! k&r!!! n/t  LearnedHand   Dec-20-05 10:04 AM   #3 
  - I'll second that...nice work!!!  Supersedeas   Dec-20-05 10:26 AM   #18 
  - Gonna eat them words  buddyhollysghost   Dec-20-05 10:05 AM   #4 
  - Thank you for this post -- K&R  CornField   Dec-20-05 10:07 AM   #5 
  - reco'd  sabra   Dec-20-05 10:07 AM   #6 
  - Nice Work, Earl. Thanks n/t  Synnical   Dec-20-05 10:08 AM   #8 
  - Pretty stupid of them to set the "impeachment bar" so low.  cry baby   Dec-20-05 10:11 AM   #9 
  - Maybe you don't remember so well  long_green   Dec-20-05 10:14 AM   #10 
  - Grammar doesn't matter  PegDAC   Dec-21-05 08:21 PM   #96 
  - Well done.  lpbk2713   Dec-20-05 10:14 AM   #11 
  - Are we gonna get a list of Senator's???  stop the bleeding   Dec-20-05 10:15 AM   #12 
  - I don't think I have time to do that today  EarlG   Dec-20-05 10:22 AM   #16 
     - Senators are SUPPOSED to keep silent until the Articles are tried.  TahitiNut   Dec-20-05 10:32 AM   #22 
     - EarlG, here's a Senator from back then...  Hissyspit   Dec-20-05 07:22 PM   #80 
  - It's only a national crises if a Democratic president gets a hummer.  Confound W   Dec-20-05 10:16 AM   #13 
  - it is my fondest hope that one dem senator steals one of these  mopinko   Dec-20-05 10:17 AM   #14 
  - The R's  PegDAC   Dec-21-05 08:26 PM   #99 
  - For informational purposes, the section of US Law Bush violated  Walt Starr   Dec-20-05 10:17 AM   #15 
  - I've said it before and I'll say it again...  cat_girl25   Dec-20-05 10:23 AM   #17 
  - Rule of Law*  RobertSeattle   Dec-20-05 10:26 AM   #19 
  - I count 15 "rule of law"'s in that collection alone!  Canuckistanian   Dec-20-05 11:55 AM   #37 
     - Thanks for counting  RobertSeattle   Dec-20-05 12:07 PM   #42 
  - K & R ! n/t  FearofFutility   Dec-20-05 10:28 AM   #20 
  - Rule of Law Rule of Law.  myrna minx   Dec-20-05 10:28 AM   #21 
  - What can I say?  SharonRB   Dec-20-05 10:34 AM   #23 
  - The DeLay quote is incredible.  mwb970   Dec-20-05 10:42 AM   #24 
  - Yep. Our problem is  Patsy Stone   Dec-20-05 11:41 AM   #36 
  - Oh the hue manatee  Gregorian   Dec-20-05 10:51 AM   #25 
  - Four are still on the House Judiciary Committee  CornField   Dec-20-05 10:55 AM   #26 
  - Great post - recommended  NewJeffCT   Dec-20-05 10:55 AM   #27 
  - K&R  Oceansaway   Dec-20-05 10:59 AM   #28 
  - OK, DUers!!! YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO!!!!  loudsue   Dec-20-05 11:27 AM   #29 
  - Thanks. And to think this was about  LibDemAlways   Dec-20-05 11:28 AM   #30 
  - Blind leading the Blind  november3rd   Dec-20-05 11:32 AM   #31 
  - Ask nonSensenbrenner  Xap   Dec-20-05 11:34 AM   #32 
  - I'm really starting to think that some Republicans might be hypocrites.  PurpleChez   Dec-20-05 11:35 AM   #33 
  - LOL!  Blue State Native   Dec-20-05 02:47 PM   #59 
  - Gee.  PegDAC   Dec-21-05 08:29 PM   #100 
  - Bl*wj*b= Constitutional Crisis  BlueEyedSon   Dec-20-05 11:39 AM   #34 
  - Phony Constitutional Crisis  wysiwyg   Dec-20-05 12:08 PM   #43 
  - How funny must this be to Clinton?!?  cawe24   Dec-20-05 11:40 AM   #35 
  - I'd like to see the Big Dawg step up  soonerhoosier   Dec-20-05 12:23 PM   #49 
  - "Let freedom reign"----Chimpboy  oasis   Dec-20-05 11:58 AM   #38 
  - So will anyone beyond KO  Protagoras   Dec-20-05 12:01 PM   #39 
  - Is there ANYTHING Bush could do to get him impeached?  wysiwyg   Dec-20-05 12:01 PM   #40 
  - I think  PegDAC   Dec-21-05 08:32 PM   #101 
  - Remember at all times -  mac56   Dec-20-05 12:04 PM   #41 
  - Wow! Them Repubs sure can make some pretty speeches!!!  ktowntennesseedem   Dec-20-05 12:10 PM   #44 
  - We need to use their words against them  FreedomAngel82   Dec-20-05 12:13 PM   #45 
  - But didn't you hear? 9/11 changed everything.  milkyway   Dec-20-05 12:13 PM   #46 
  - I seem to recall  PegDAC   Dec-21-05 08:35 PM   #102 
  - Wow. The hypocrisy meter must have done a complete 180.  EOO   Dec-20-05 12:15 PM   #47 
  - All that over a freakin' blowjob  Chovexani   Dec-20-05 12:17 PM   #48 
  - Beautiful!  iamahaingttta   Dec-20-05 01:09 PM   #50 
  - I'd prefer that  PegDAC   Dec-21-05 08:39 PM   #103 
  - Big, Fat HYPOCRITES!!! n/t  Julius Civitatus   Dec-20-05 01:52 PM   #51 
  - Kick  Cleita   Dec-20-05 01:55 PM   #52 
  - As steve Martin  bballny   Dec-20-05 02:15 PM   #53 
  - Ahh, Tom Delay, who chose to journey down the path of least  Skidmore   Dec-20-05 02:18 PM   #54 
  - The path of least resistance leads to crooked rivers and crooked men. (nt)  wysiwyg   Dec-20-05 03:53 PM   #65 
     - Are you hinting about the Diebold voting irregularities in  InkAddict   Dec-20-05 08:06 PM   #82 
  - Wow, all those Republicans sure do love our Constitution, don't they?  Uncle Joe   Dec-20-05 02:24 PM   #55 
  - liars and opportunists  emald   Dec-20-05 02:29 PM   #56 
  - Full Page ad in the WaPo tomorrow is what  jaysunb   Dec-20-05 02:42 PM   #57 
  - From the mouths of boobs........  akarnitz   Dec-20-05 02:45 PM   #58 
  - Accountability Accountability Accountability  blueeyedpupil   Dec-20-05 02:49 PM   #60 
  - Hi blueeyedpupil!!  newyawker99   Dec-20-05 04:46 PM   #67 
  - Great compilation, EarlG, but you've forgotten one thing......  ClintonTyree   Dec-20-05 03:00 PM   #61 
  - Brilliant!.....Can we get this to the dems on the Senate floor?  Webster Green   Dec-20-05 03:01 PM   #62 
  - How about more?  PATRICK   Dec-20-05 03:31 PM   #63 
  - Flip-floppers (nt)  ih8thegop   Dec-20-05 03:36 PM   # 
  - Marge Roukema  ramapo   Dec-20-05 03:36 PM   #64 
  - hell YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!  arcane1   Dec-20-05 04:35 PM   #66 
  - Great stuff!  Maestro   Dec-20-05 04:51 PM   #68 
  - EXCELLENT, Earl.  ulysses   Dec-20-05 04:54 PM   #69 
  - The rule of law - voided by the Presidential Pardon....  obxhead   Dec-20-05 05:07 PM   #70 
  - The saying "Don't shit where you eat" comes to mind n/t  walldude   Dec-20-05 05:09 PM   #71 
  - I have a vision of * holding hands w/Saudi king  InkAddict   Dec-20-05 08:10 PM   #83 
  - I remember those days well  Solly Mack   Dec-20-05 05:09 PM   #72 
  - Where have all these eloquent speakers of truth gone? n/t  geckosfeet   Dec-20-05 05:21 PM   #73 
  - DEM LEADERS!!! It's time to throw their own words BACK AT THEM! n/t  LibInTexas   Dec-20-05 05:49 PM   #74 
  - Nicely done!  stubtoe   Dec-20-05 06:05 PM   #75 
  - Here are some more!  Ino   Dec-20-05 06:08 PM   #76 
  - Verbatim! Every Democrat should read verbatim from the Republican  NoFederales   Dec-20-05 06:36 PM   #77 
  - I have emailed or fax'd everyone on this list  annabanana   Dec-20-05 06:44 PM   #78 
  - Thanks EarlG.. Rep. Hyde's snip is particularly eerie:  pinto   Dec-20-05 07:03 PM   #79 
  - The HYPOCRICY and SILENCE is simply astounding.  TankLV   Dec-20-05 07:56 PM   #81 
  - K&R  InkAddict   Dec-20-05 08:12 PM   #84 
  - EarlG, that's an amazing job of researching you've done!  Radio_Lady   Dec-20-05 08:18 PM   #85 
  - This shows what hypocrites they are.  Andromeda   Dec-20-05 08:24 PM   #86 
  - Amazing, they were lying then....and don't give a shit now.  Old and In the Way   Dec-20-05 08:37 PM   #87 
  - We must impeach Bush so a Boy Scout will honor his oath.  Tom Joad   Dec-20-05 10:17 PM   #88 
  - What a great quote from DeLay!  proud2Blib   Dec-20-05 11:17 PM   #89 
  - Fine words..  Usrename   Dec-21-05 01:13 AM   #90 
  - Hypocrisy of congress Republicans and the Administration  Kimahru   Dec-21-05 08:10 AM   #91 
  - Great Post! Welcome To DU. You Rock!  Binka   Dec-21-05 09:56 AM   #93 
  - We need to throw this in their face  rd_kent   Dec-21-05 09:44 AM   #92 
  - Oh the irony...  DarkTirade   Dec-21-05 08:18 PM   #95 
  - Getting a BJ  PegDAC   Dec-21-05 08:25 PM   #97 
  - Why all the strangers? Let's hear from W:  robbedvoter   Dec-21-05 08:25 PM   #98 
  - if only our Dem leaders could get as impassioned about Bush's  NVMojo   Dec-21-05 09:11 PM   #104 

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