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Lies, Oaths, and High Crimes

by Allen Snyder

July 27, 2003


First, they said it wasn 't the sex, it was the lying.

Then they said it wasn 't the lying, it was the lying under oath.

And with that pant-load of pseudo-logic, the right wingnuts excoriated, vilified, and tripped over each other impeaching Clinton for lying about his oral dalliances with 'that woman '. 'Is ' became a word searching for meaning, Ken Starr made a fortune, but found nothing, and we learned way too much about Bill Clinton 's stamped package, secondary uses for cigars, and spunk-stained dresses.

Lately, considerable lefty press is comparing BushCo 's almost fully exposed lies about the Iraqi Oil Conquest to Clinton 's Monica-gate denials. You know, Clinton 's personal and potentially marriage-busting sex lies versus Bush 's whoppers of death, destruction, intelligence failures, rosy economies, and trickle-down wealth (he swears it 's trickle down, not trickle on).

The outrage on the left is that while Clinton 's lies triggered a Pavlovian frothing at the mouth among Congressional wingnuts and Fox News losers, BushCo 's lies have created relatively little furor on The Hill, wingnut radio, mainstream TV news, or virtually anywhere else in this country. Although the situation is slowly improving, you can tell the right 's heart just isn 't in it. He 's one of theirs; warts, boff-o fund-raisers, and all.

The Clinton travesty serves as an excellent reference point for analyzing BushCo 's actions. The not-so-vast right wing conspiracy 's media and political machines maneuvered Clinton into committing perjury, a low-class felony, but a high crime for a sitting President. Whatever the case, it was Clinton 's lying under oath that had neocon veins popping and their collective skivvies in a twist.

On the surface, BushCo 's lies appear worse than Clinton 's, but BushCo spin-meisters imply they 're a different breed altogether. 'Technically ', Bush is not 'under oath ', not in court, not perjuring himself. National security, executive privilege, and a corral of convenient scapegoats are all he needs.

I 've said this before, I 'll say it again. This is the most Constitutionally-deprived bunch that ever sat in the White House. They never saw an Constitutional Article they couldn 't...well...they never saw a Constitutional Article. But if they did, they 'd see they 're violating all sorts of them.

Bush isn 't under oath, my ass!

An interesting passage in Article II, Section 1 reads:

"Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States '" (all emphasis added).

Dubya parroted this oath (with aid of cue cards, no doubt) when he received his cut from the 2000 presidential election heist. Too bad it didn 't read 'I (state your name) do solemnly swear... ' so we could have all had a really good 'Animal House ' initiation belly-laugh.

Every time Bush opens his mouth, he does it under oath. Every time he opens his mouth, he lies. Therefore, every time he lies, he does so under oath. Such simple logic, even a conservative can understand it.

BushCo has made a mockery of the 'preserve, protect, and defend ' clause. Rather than actually do any of these things, Bush has turned a blind eye while the likes of Herr Ashcroft and Supreme Embarrassment Justices Scalia/Thomas (has anyone ever seen these two in the same room?) continually suck at it - slowly leeching our rights away.

In Dubya 's favor, though, it does say 'to the best of my ability '. Maybe the guy is just completely and utterly unable, incapable, incompetent, and the best of his ability amounts to what we 're seeing now. I have definitely gone to bed with happier thoughts.

Whatever the case, the wingnuts were compelled by whatever voices they hear to include lying about marital infidelity in their definition of 'high crimes and misdemeanors ' (see Article II, Section 4 of that document they never read for grounds for impeachment). Now they argue that BushCo 's lies don 't fit the bill, don 't live up to the basement-level impeachment standard they themselves set in their vendetta against Clinton, don 't amount to high crimes and misdemeanors?!

To buy that crap, you 'd have to trick yourself into believing a handful of blow-jobs and the ensuing hoo-hah over them was worse (that could mean worse morally, practically, politically, ideologically or whatever you want it to mean) than lies that caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, made the nation less safe, disrupted the world, perhaps beyond repair in some ways, and betrayed the trust of every American whether you voted for him or not. Quite the mouthful.

Or maybe they 're right. Maybe Bush 's lying really isn 't a high crime or misdemeanor after all.

Maybe it 's treason.

Allen Snyder is an instructor of Philosophy and Ethics. He can be reached at This article is copyright by Allen Snyder and  originally published by but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media so long as this credit is attached.


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