In Defense of Bob Barr: The New Democrats'
By Jerome M. Zeifman
WorldNetDaily, Wednesday, January 27, 1999
I am a classical liberal Democrat, with enduring
ties to my party that date back to the years when Franklin Roosevelt
proudly described himself as "slightly left of center."
Today, I am grateful to Republican Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia.
He has helped me to avoid the deadly sin of hypocrisy that
is now tainting the "new" irrational left wing of my
Although reason may appear near death on the new
left, it is still alive and well in such writers as Nat Hentoff.
He has published a common-sense article ("Barr's Other Side"
Washington Post, Jan. 9, 1999) about Congressman Barr's speech
before the Council of Conservative Christians [sic].
As reported by Hentoff, in a letter to that group
Barr wrote that the materials he received from it contained no
references to their "repugnant racial issues."
He added: "If I had been aware white supremacists'
views occupied any place in the council's philosophy, I would
never have agreed to speak."
Appalled by what he called "the swarm
of vigilantes who attacked [Barr]," Hentoff recalled a lesson
that he had learned years ago from an older reporter: "All
the facts can be right up to a point. But if you leave out
other information that casts that story in a significantly different
light, you are likely to do a lot of damage." He concluded,
"Some of the journalists who condemn zealotry should look
in a mirror."
I have an ongoing friendship with Bob Barr, even
though I take issue with some of his conservative ideology.
I also have a high regard for Mr. Barr's personal and professional
integrity -- as well as his common-sense.
Early in President Clinton's second term I received
a call from Mr. Barr seeking my counsel. He asked me to
compare the Clinton offenses on the public record to the impeachable
offenses of President Nixon in 1974 -- when I served as chief
counsel to the Democrat-controlled "Rodino" Committee.
In 1996, long before Monica Lewinsky became a
public figure, I shared Bob Barr's view that Henry Hyde and the
House Judiciary Committee had a constitutional responsibility
to commence an impeachment inquiry. As I saw it, by then
there was already substantial evidence on the public record
that, acting through his White House aides and Commerce Department
appointees, President Clinton was impeachable on at least two
counts unrelated to the Monica Lewinsky scandal: (1) The
payment of "hush money" in the form of some $400,000
in employment contracts to obtain the silence of Webster
Hubbell -- the First Lady's former law partner -- who resigned
a top post in the Justice Department to face indictment and imprisonment;
and (2) Receiving bribes in the form of illegal campaign contributions
from the Riady family and other foreign sources with close ties
to the Peoples Republic of China.
In the 1988 presidential campaign, Michael Dukakis
tried to tar George Bush with the brush of Iran-Contra, insisting
that, although Bush claimed he was "out of the loop,"
as Vice President he was tainted. Dukakis's attack on Bush
used a Greek proverb -- "The fish rots from the head down,"
meaning that because President Reagan was involved, the rest of
his administration was spoiled too.
This proverb more perfectly suits the Clinton
administration. The reckless bad judgment, disregard for
the law, obstruction of justice, and pattern of lies began in
the Oval Office and has spread downwards. For months he
lied to his own cabinet, to the American people, and to a federal
grand jury. Through his attorneys he continues to defend
his lies in the Senate trial. And based on his lies his
aides and friends have swarmed to attack anyone who believes that
Clinton should be held accountable.
In 1972 a group of burglars was arrested for breaking
into the Watergate office of the Democratic National Committee.
Most of the burglars, including Howard Hunt, had a history of
illegal CIA-sponsored activities that dated back to the prior
presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson -- and were committed in the
name of national security.
In the summer of 1974, the Democratic-controlled
Judiciary Committee adopted three Articles of Impeachment against
President Nixon, which I helped committee members draft.
We did not charge that he had personally committed a felony.
Instead, we charged him with violating his oath of office by failing
faithfully to execute the laws of the United States. We
also charged Nixon specifically with "telling lies to the
American people" -- even though he had never lied under oath
before a court. Indeed, none of the articles charged Nixon
personally with any advance knowledge of the Watergate break-in
or with either directing or having advance knowledge of any of
the illegal activities of the FBI, CIA or IRS.
Today, such "new" Democrats as Senators
Tom Harkin, Charles Schumer, Robert Torrecelli and Barbara Boxer
publicly mock Henry Hyde, Bob Barr and others as "radical
right wing extremists." Soon after taking an oath to
be "impartial," Senator Harkin publicly denounced the
still unpresented House case as "a pile of pure dung."
Even worse, many of the "new" Democrats
sit back quietly as the likes of Larry Flynt, Alan
Derschowitz, James Carville, and Alex Baldwin denounce Henry
Hyde and all white male conservatives as racists and hypocrites.
Clearly, racism is despicable -- but so are false accusation [sic]
of racism and the hypocrisy of pouring invective on others while
claiming purity for oneself.
What will become of the party that was once lead
by presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Johnson, Kennedy, and Carter?
The "New Democrat" movement (founded by President Clinton
and my own Senator, Joseph Lieberman) has institutionalized hypocrisy.
Say whatever needs to be said, do whatever needs to be done so
you can win.
With the help of those in the mainstream media
who lack Mr. Hentoff's standards, the new Orwellian White house
has made irrational hypocrisy the rule rather than the exception.