In Defense of Bob Barr: The New Democrats' Deadly Sins

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 party.

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.