Remember Bill Clinton’s pledge of eight years ago: that he would supply us with the most ethical presidential administration in U.S. history?
Well, just in case you don’t, let me recall to your memory an early presidential action that was supposed to prove that Mr. Clinton took his own promise seriously. It is the new chief executive’s first day in office, January 21, 1993. According to a White House press release, Clinton has, quote, “called on his White House staff to uphold the highest possible ethical standards and to put the needs of the American people ahead of personal ambitions.” Indeed, less than an hour after assuming office, the President issued an executive order banning government employees from lobbying government agencies for five full years after leaving office. This ban would curb the appearance of improper influence-peddling.
Eight years go by, and the patina of ethical purity has rusted a bit over the past eight years. So Mr. Clinton decides he might as well scrub it off entirely; after all, what’s one more violation of the public trust at this late date? And so, in the last days of his tenure, the President has reversed his own executive order with an unpublicized and furtive stroke of the pen. Of course, right and wrong hasn’t changed in these last eight years. But Mr. Clinton’s ability to appear ethical has changed.
So the Clinton gang need not wait five years to cash in on what they call their government “service.” Oh well. At least the guy is term-limited.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.