Friday, November 30, 2007

Henry Hyde and the Four Bobs

The death of Henry Hyde this week has stirred widespread media memories of his role in the impeachment of Bill Clinton nine years ago.

Thomas B. Edsall over at Huffington Post tells the little-known story of how Hyde tried to avoid the impeachment ordeal.

POSTSCRIPT: I've been searching feverishly, but unsuccessfully, for a remark Hyde made during the impeachment drama. I recall the gist of it but not the exact words. He predicted, in effect, that the Senate would not convict Clinton if there wasn't strong public support for removing the president from office. There wasn't such support, and the Senate accordingly voted to acquit.

Hyde seemed to recognize that impeachment is a political process, not a criminal prosecution. The ultimate jury in such a case is the American public.

In the week he was impeached in 1998, Clinton's approval rating among the American people jumped 10 points to 73 percent, a higher level than Ronald Reagan ever reached.

POSTSCRIPT II: I knew Henry Hyde, but not well. I met him in the early 1970s when he was still in the Illinois General Assembly, and I ran into him on several occasions over the years. Consistent with his reputation, he struck me as courtly, polite, articulate and friendly. But I opposed most of what he stood for politically.

1 comment:

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