LETTER TO THE EDITOR - Good riddance to Clinton era

Thursday, March 8, 2001

Senator Tom Harkin is leading the Democratic party's exodus away from one of the most tawdry politicians to have served as president. Before any of you Harkinistas jump to your man's defense, consider my past support for Tom Harkin. While attending Drake University, I worked my tail off in Mr. Harkin's senate campaign against then Senator Roger Jepsen, knocking on over two thousand doors and raising money during the summer of 1984.

Harkin's support of Clinton over the past eight years needs to be closely examined. Harkin was Clinton's loyal defender and attack dog during the president's senate impeachment trial. At one point, Senator Harkin jumped up and even tried to dismiss the charges. The impeachment trial centered around whether the president lied under oath. The Presidential oath partly states, "to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States." In unison and along with other Democrats and Republicans, Harkin claimed the charges were partisan and untrue.

Morality was an issue in the 1984 senate campaign. Iowans might recall Senator Jepsen visited a massage parlor while conversely singing the praises of living the Christian life. The ironic twist is that Senator Harkin ran against then Governor Clinton in the 1992 presidential primary and questioned his truthfulness as a candidate. When Harkin got trounced he jumped on Mr. Clinton's bandwagon not withstanding knowing that Clinton lied about being drafted for the Vietnam War, lied about marijuana use and lied about giving the middle class a tax cut.

Through it all, from Whitewater to Monica Lewinsky, to impeachment, Senator Harkin has fastidiously supported the former president on every turn. Charges of perjury and obstructing justice were not even enough to chase away Tom Harkin as Bill Clinton's lapdog.

As Bob Herbert said in the Monday, Feb. 26 edition of the New York Times, "the Democratic party overlooked the ethical red flags and made a pact with Mr. Clinton that was the equivalent of a pact with the devil." And of course now, the former president is under criticism for pardoning the criminal fugitive Marc Rich. A man who once was on the FBIs 10 most wanted list. He also traded with our enemy Iran when it was a specific no-no.

Harkin seems to have also taken Bill Clinton and Al Gore's worst trait: distorting a person's position on the issues. Democrats in Iowa might recall the 2000 Iowa Caucuses when Harkin accused Senator Bill Bradley of not supporting Iowan flood relieve in 1993. This was perfidy. You see, Bradley did vote for the flood relief bill. But voted against an amendment attached to another proposed flood relief bill. As they say, the devil is in the details.

Senator Harkin's eight years of support for Bill Clinton in some ways is worse than anything Roger Jepsen did in 1984. To continually associate with a man "who is so thoroughly corrupt" should be an issue for Harkin in the upcoming senate campaign in 2002. And if another Democratic politician is brave enough to take Harkin on in the summer of 2002, they may find resonance with Democrats who left the party eight years ago when Bill Clinton became the nominee of the party.

Mark Anthony

Des Moines