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LM: "At Issue..." JANUARY '99
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"AT ISSUE..." IMPEACHMENT RULES SET




The good news here is that the Senate has decided, unanimously, to adhear to the rules set by precident and of the Constitution itself. Why wouldn't that be enough to make me happy? Here's my reaction to the pundits and politicians on the talk/news (media polls) shows.

First, they had to agree to the standards. There would have been long and bitter debate without enough votes for any of the previous proposals to pass. Being politicians, most Senators always seem more concerned about what effects their public behavior will have on their next election. For some reason (media polls), they seem to think the American people want this event over A.S.A.P. and are all stressed out over it. If that were true where were the long lines for the opening proceedings. Were there riots in the streets calling for a speedy or immediate end? Did anyone call in sick just to watch the news? Where did they get this idea? (media polls). I've read many poll questions on-line, and choosen not to answer most due to the limited slant. When I see a straight forward question I may have to call Rush Limbaugh and let him know that one exists!

Second, a vote to dimiss at any time is the easy out many were looking for on both sides of the isle. At any moment a majority feels their polls slipping (There's that word again), and 51 hands in the air can stop justice. So, of course these rules were favored. Don't get me wrong, they were well crafted to serve our Republic. However, I doubt the founders forsaw the scale to which our system has changed in principle and ethics. Okay, I'm always skeptical, but in the end I can usually say..."Told Ya".

Last, having strict proceedure to get witnesses to appear, sealing off the private evidence room, and barring this data from the floor, ensures a speedy trial. With all the hoops to jump through, Senators will have to be more selective in seeking witnesses. Hey, that's not a bad thing! But, an easy excuse to avoid a full examination. I can think of a few Repub's willing to take that chance...but it requires majority approval. Dem's will do whatever it takes to avoid this looking like a real trial, so expect the creative word flinging to start over this. (And, probably ask for a vote to dismiss at every chance after the White House presents it's definition of sex and lying.) Republicans get a break because they don't have to provide the sealed evidence to the public. And, they cannot introduce any new evidence or charges. No more blame from parents on sexual content. No more accusations to defend. Just sit right back and relax and look respectful. Expect the rules on content allowed on the floor to be very restrictive.
So, what does all this mean to Lex? A format that looks good. Speaches that sound noble. Still so much spin, that I wonder if the dizziness will ever stop. Maybe a number of Senators took the oath as Jurors seriously enough to allow a real trial to occur. Have the political games stopped? Don't count on it. Picture this, 51 Senators with newly polished halos, waiting for someone else to speak up, then BAM!...the battle begins with the call of, "That's not fair!" etc.. and the slinging provides media fodder for months.


MSNBC has a good FAQ on impeachment. Take a look!













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