Picks of the LitterBy Bryant Lewis and Joel Corbin
This is the first of a two-part series. This edition we'll profile the worst aspect of Bill Clinton's Presidency. Next time, we'll take a look at the best aspect of it (a much more difficult decision).
Bryant's Pick: Supreme Court AppointeesPerhaps the most enduring legacies of a President are his Supreme Court appointees. No other position in government can have as lasting an affect on American society and its laws than can a seat on the highest court in the land. Clinton has appointed two justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. They are the only current justices appointed by a Democrat president, and for this we should be incredibly thankful.
Despite their moderate appearance, Ginsburg and Breyer are fairly liberal. Ginsburg has served as counsel to the ACLU and is liberal on social issues, especially when it comes to abortion. Like Ginsburg, Breyer favors abortion, but has kept most of his other views quiet (which means he is a closet liberal). In the tradition of the Warren Court of the 1960's, it is more than likely that these judges will try to further ingrain judicial activism into our political culture.
Of the remaining justices, it is not inconceivable that Clinton may have yet another appointment or two to make. John Paul Stevens is nearing his 80th birthday, and Chief Justice Willaim Rehnquist is almost 75 years of age. If one of these positions would become available, due to retirement or otherwise, it would give Clinton another opportunity to secure a legacy for the future. Given the ages of these two justices, it is most likely that they will resign during the next President's first term in office. If Gore is elected, these seats could essentially fall the way of Clinton's ideology.
The moral of the story: It does matter who is elected President! Despite apparent cries of the opposite from voters, the choice is more than symbolic. Clinton has left his lasting impression on the Supreme Court, and another Democrat victory in 2000 could alter the court into a more judicially active one, continuing the transfer of power from the legislative and executive branches into judges hands. The consequences could be enormous.
Joel's Pick: International Loss of RespectBill Clinton as president has done much to lessen the respect other countries once held for the United States. After the debacles of Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia, as well as relations with China, the United States has lost some luster in the eyes of other countries.
Due to the respect gained by Ronald Reagan during the 1980s, George Bush had the power to bring together a diverse coalition of nations to remove Iraq from Kuwait. Just a few years later, that coaltion fractured for Clinton as he tried to force Saddam to comply with UN weapons inspections. By this time Clinton's international support was so weak that the UN itself opposed Clinton's plans to enforce its own policies.
If the United States is to be a leader in the world, it cannot afford to have this kind of reputation. When Clinton agrees to go soft on China's abyssmal human rights record as ONE pro-democracy dissident is released from a Chinese jail, other countries see the US as easy to buy off. When Clinton turns the military into an international meals-on-wheels (a job better performed by the UN or the Red Cross) as was done in Somalia, other countries see America as an errand boy. When Clinton gets the Unites States into an open-ended commitment supervising an ages-old, virtually unresolvable situation (Bosnia), the world sees America as foolhardy.
These views of America are of course incorrect. It is Clinton who is easily bought off, an errand boy, and foolhardy. He works for polls and ratings and image, instead of standing for justice and strength. Could you picture Bill Clinton telling Gorbachev to "tear down this wall"? Would Bill Clinton have the guts to go after a drug-dealing dictator like Noriega? Of course not. Instead of continuing with a strong military, Bill Clinton's downsizing policies incite two-bit dictators to test US strength. Would Saddam have dared to pull this kind of stuff with Reagan or Bush? No.
More important than the sex scandals and the "character question" at home is the view of America by foreign eyes. America, in the coming election, needs to turn to someone who will get international respect. America itself will always be strong, but other countries don't see the average Joe, they see the President. And when the President is weak, America is seen as weak. The loss of respect must stop. Al Gore won't do it, we must elect someone who will.