The acquittal of President Bill Clinton should have sent a simple message to Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., the editorial page editor of The Chronicle and the rest of the Republican "gang of virtue." You lost. Again.
You lost the effort to defeat President Clinton in 1992; you lost when you were sure you had him in 1996; you lost in the showdown over shutting down the government. Now you lost in your effort to remove him from office.
Mr. Barr's sorehead recriminations and the editorials in The Chronicle, equally sanctimonious and bitter, are torturous case studies in frustration. I, for one, feel your pain.
The Feb. 13 editorial, "Senate: profile in cowardice" was especially vitriolic. According to The Chronicle, only the House prosecutors and the Republican senators who voted to remove the president acted on principle. Of course that's what the losers always say! Actually, the Republican senators who voted to acquit were the only ones who had to make the hard choice between politics and principle. They should be lauded for objectively applying the rule of law.
The forty-five Democratic senators, fortunately, were not faced with this difficult decision. Since the truth was on their side, politics and principle were the same thing.
Patriotism, as Samuel Johnson noted, is the last refuge of scoundrels. So it should be no surprise that The Chronicle editor warns its political loss portends the "continued decline of our once-great constitutional republic."
I'm a lot more optimistic; the Constitution worked fine. Republicans just lost; that's all.
My suggestion to the sore losers may sound familiar to them. If you think the United States is in decline, you have a simple choice: Love it or leave it!
Charles P. Heywood, Martinez