How a New York Senator Can Rag on the Clintons without Risk of Death

On November 16, 2017, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) kicked off her run for the 2020 presidency by intoning that Bill Clinton should have resigned (in disgrace?) in 1998 over the Monica Lewinsky affair.

Talk sure is cheap, isn't it?  That's because the Democrats had in their power to dump Clinton in 1999 and kick him right out of office – and took a pass on it.  They could even have accomplished this with a minority of their Senate membership.  And not only would it have been easy, but it would even have redounded to their benefit, by guaranteeing their continued rule for at least six more years and probably ten.  They would have only benefited from doing so.  And how!

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States states that "no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."   This means that if Vice President Albert Sidney "Al" Gore had succeeded to the Presidency in 1999, he would have been enabled to serve out the time remaining in Clinton's term – and then two full terms of his own.  Gore would have been on a fast track to become the longest serving president in American history, save only Franklin Roosevelt himself.

We can reasonably infer that if Gore had succeeded to the presidency in 1999, the 2000 election line-up would have been the same in that alternate reality as it was in ours: Gore versus Bush.  But would the outcome have been the same?  Almost certainly not.  The easiest way to win a presidential election is to run as an incumbent.  Even with Gore not running in 2000 as the incumbent president, he gained 500,000 more popular votes than Bush did.  If Gore had been the incumbent, Gore's winning margin would certainly have been several million popular votes, and Bush would never have been able to win in the Electoral College.  Gore would have had the added advantage of claiming to be the stand-in for the "martyred" President Clinton.  So why not just dump Clinton then and there?

What, exactly, did the Democrats owe Clinton in 1999, anyway?  Exactly nothing.  What had Clinton ever done for them?  Using Dick Morris's "triangulation" strategy, Clinton had enacted much of Newt Gingrich's agenda, which was anathema to true-blue Democrats.  Even worse, Clinton's excesses during his first two years in office had aroused so much disgust among the American people that they sent Republican majorities to both the House and the Senate in the 1994 midterm elections, exactly the way Democrat majorities in both Houses were wiped out in Barack Obama's own first midterm elections in 2010.

That's a lot of committee chairmanships lost, not to mention the forced departures of friends and colleagues.  The Democrats should have been seething with rage.  On both occasions, excesses wrought by Democrat presidents cost the Democrats the majority rule that they believe is theirs by birthright.

So the national Democrats had excellent reason to resent Bill Clinton in1999 and every motive to seek revenge.  And the Republicans gave them the golden trigger by which to get that revenge: impeachment and conviction.  All that would have been needed was for at least seventeen of the forty-five Democrat senators to vote to convict Clinton of one of the impeachment charges that had been voted on by the House.  That's about 40%.

Instead, all forty-five Democrat senators stood, phalanx-like, behind Clinton.

Why did they do this?  He had caused them nothing but electoral losses and loss of power.  Why not just dump him in 1999 and then complain to the public about how unfair it was?  Gore would have been golden for at least six more years and probably ten.  He probably would have had coattails, too, at least in 2000.

Did the Democrats stand by Clinton because they sincerely believed that the Constitution was in peril if the Republicans could get away with getting rid of one of theirs?  That was Clinton's defense, but the premise is so absurd as to be laughable.

Did they think Clinton could help them recover their fortunes in 2000?  This is likewise laughable, because Gore and the entire Democrat down-ticket in 2000 thought Clinton was so radioactive that they didn't want him to campaign for them.

So why did the Democrats stand by Clinton in 1999, when it would have been to their advantage to get rid of him then, as well as giving them the chance to wreak their revenge on him?

Only one reason comes to mind: blackmail files.  The Clintons did have those 900 FBI raw files.  They also had their own minions of paid hacks.  Does anyone think that only Republicans' dossiers were contained in those files?  The Clintons must have had dirt on everybody, of both parties.  That's an obvious reason for the iron hold Clinton was able to wield over them.

And Kirsten Gillibrand?  Why does she act as if she's free of Clinton blackmail worries?  Simple.  She didn't enter the House of Representatives until 2007.  The Clintons never assembled blackmail files on her.

Talk sure is cheap.  Sometimes it costs nothing at all.

The author is an Iowa truck-driver known to some American Thinker readers as AtomicIgor.

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