What’s Really Outrageous? That Bush 41 Wasn’t!

By

Leonard Zwelling

https://www.wsj.com/articles/reflections-on-impeachment-20-years-later-1543535342

https://www.wsj.com/articles/america-is-addicted-to-outrage-is-there-a-cure-1543620811

Two editorials on the same page of the Wall Street Journal on December 1 tell an interesting tale about America.

In the first, my favorite editorialist, Peggy Noonan, commemorates (is that the right word?) the 20th anniversary of the impeachment of “Slick Willie.” Her point is a critical one for today. Had Mr. Clinton just admitted to his wrong doing, apologized to both Ms. Lewinsky and to the rest of us for sullying the Oval Office, and asked our forgiveness, he would never have been impeached. Mostly because he would have never lied. He wouldn’t have had to. Instead he prevaricated under oath and got caught in his fibs. He then took himself, the government and the whole country through the high drama that we have since learned Mr. Obama never dragged us through.

Her point is that America had already forgiven Mr. Clinton his marital transgressions when they elected him on 1992. They sure weren’t going to penalize him for doing it again. But instead, he lied, and Ken Starr reported and the rest, well, you know. The youth of America got an early lesson in the pornographic arts on the nightly news. We all could have been spared that, don’t you think?

The second piece, by Lance Morrow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center is about outrage and how it has become the go-to affect of the internet-connected United States. Mr. Morrow traces this back to Bush v. Gore followed closely by 9/11 and the litany of horrible events that have seemed to plague the U.S. since Mr. Clinton passed from office. It really says a lot when we were less outraged during the Clinton years than we have become since.

Both pieces speak to the coarsening of America, our political interactions and the strange way we try to communicate with one another so ineffectively. And then, George H. W. Bush died. He was the last of the Greatest Generation to be president and was last of the line of presidents that seemed to command our respect, not only for what they did, but for how they comported themselves. After Mr. Bush came the Clinton years that ended in scandal, the Bush 43 years of war without end, and the Obama years of “no drama” and not much of anything else either as Congress tied the whole government up where it remains to this day under the leadership of a man who may well go down in history as the worst president we have ever had. And I remember Nixon!

America is really struggling with itself as it seems that every major question splits the country 51-49. We can’t agree on tariffs, trade, immigration, whether the president is a crook, or whether we really care what happens to America’s farmers and manufacturers. This is shameful. Hell, it’s outrageous.

Sometimes, outrage is the right emotion. When considering the current state of the federal government, it is the only logical emotion. We have two more years before we can do anything about it. Let’s hope by then, someone rises up to be worthy of America’s trust. It is not obvious who that person is. Talk about outrageous! Are there really no Bush 41’s for the modern age. If not, why not?

Leonard Zwelling