House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde and his colleagues claim that they are truly concerned about a double standard developing which would allow the rich and powerful to avoid prosecution for perjury while average folks get hammered (Dec. 2). I would be far more willing to believe such claims if they started by pressing charges against those rich and powerful tobacco executives who testified under oath that tobacco is neither harmful nor addictive. It all smells like political hypocrisy.
We now know that the president didn't lie to us because, as he explained to Congress, by the definitions he was using, his answers were legally accurate but misleading. How can we know what definitions Bill Clinton will use when he saves Social Security or rescues Medicare?
The fuss over Clinton's lapses of memory in his answering Hyde's inquisitory questions is quite amusing. Amusing, yet alarming, when compared to Ronald Reagan's memory slips in the hearings on the Iran-Contra affair.
I have a question for all our astute leaders--politicians, the media and the industry moguls who actually run it all: Which set of "I don't remembers," Clinton's or Reagan's, actually amounts to something that could be considered a government leader's abuse of power and, therefore, his having been guilty of malfeasance in office?
Who is it that we should impeach or should have impeached?
ROBERT C. LUTES
It seems our elected representatives are toying with the idea of censure for the president. If he is to be censured, let's put some teeth in it. How about having him lose his retirement pension, no Secret Service protection when he leaves office and if he or his representatives cut a movie or book deal, then 50% of the gross proceeds go to the Social Security fund.
RICHARD T. TOZER
Lewinsky lesson: Perjury, a cutting edge of the judiciary's saber, is ineffectively dulled when that tool is employed for political expediency.
The machinery of investigation by special counsels and the attention of the public have been focused on sexual indiscretions (President Clinton) and free tickets to football games ("Espy Cleared of 30 Charges of Corruption," Dec. 3). Now that the electorate has spoken on Clinton (no impeachment) and the courts have spoken on former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy (not guilty), might I suggest a modest proposal?
How about focusing the investigatory machinery on corporate welfare? Conservative estimates put the level of legalized theft in this arena at hundreds of billions of dollars each year. If we recovered even a portion of these funds, they would be sufficient, for example, to revive our educational infrastructure.
Kenneth Starr, are you interested? You would probably lose your million-dollar-per-year salary from your law firm and your defense of the tobacco industry, but think of how much good you could do the country (for a change).