Of The Day
But, sometimes not every day.

Most recent past comment.

January 4, 1999

Dont't Postpone It, Bill.

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life,
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, Act IV Scene III

Now, as the 106th Congress comes to town to take their seats and is confronted with an agenda they didn't want, some are calling for the President to postpone The State Of The Union Speech. In the wake of the tumultuous and excrescently partisan-divisions that marked the end of the 105th, Senator Trent Lott has been unsuccessful to sell a short version of impeachment to colleagues like Phil Gramm of Texas and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who represent the Conservative faction that feels a full trial with witnesses is called for. In this confused atmosphere, some are suggesting that the President postpone his State of the Union. "I think it would be unseemly and distracting for the President to be giving a State of the Union address in Congress while he was under trial in the Senate." In other words, since we've [the impeachment mongers] have this situation so screwed up unnecessarily, please don't make us look even more irrelevant and foolish by continuing to conduct the business of the government. Or, as Mr. Gramm put it, "The President should not be speaking to Congree when he is under this cloud." You may remember that last year, Mr. Clinton proceeded with his State of the Union address within days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal breaking in the worldwide press. And, if truth be told, many of the surviving members of the Republican House are now making claims on the agenda of the President and probably fear that if he does speak, he will do what he has done five previous times, and outline his legislative agenda for the upcoming year, upstaging them.

Some of these guys are suggesting that the President just mail his address in, as presidents did in the old days. That strikes me as a little bit cynical. Many Americans tune in as a civic responsibilty to hear the State of the Union address. So let's just change everything because roughly 20% of adamant House members would not back off in the face of an unprecedented election reversal and continuing polls of the American people which indicate that this whole impeachment thing is over, over, over.

Mr. Lieberman, a Senate Democrat and a "moderate," is cited as supporting a postponement while the Senate tries to work out a compromise on the length and details of the coming trial. He worries that if the Senate doesn't settle on an agreement soon, "we are going to descend, I fear, to the kind of partisan rancor that characterized the House proceedings."

But difficult to escape, and the essential element of irritation, is the relationship that currently exists between the House Republican and the Senate Democrats. And in between, we have the Senate Republicans, upon whom the country is relying for wisdom, compromise and leadership.

(Top) Gramm (Middle, left to right) Ashcroft, Hatch, Helms, (Bottom, left to right, Lott, Lugar, Thurmond.)

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