A New Global Economic Order?
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: NYU Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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This collection is meant to start a conversation across political, moral, and religious divides on the problems of trust in public life. That interchange required that authors receive each others’ manuscripts so as to comment on each others’ work. For managing the essays as they came in and went out...
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At the time, it seemed that 1998 would never end. On January 21, when most of us were still keeping our New Year’s resolutions, Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr announced an investigation of President Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. The Counsel’s suspicions stemmed from a pending...
Part I. Politics
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Chapter 1. A Case Study in Group Polarization (with Warnings for the Future)
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Consider some remarkable numbers. In the House of Representatives, 223 of 228 Republicans, or 98 percent, voted for impeachment on at least one count, whereas 5 of 206 Democrats, or 2 percent, voted for impeachment on at least one count. In the Senate, 51 of 55 Republicans, or 93 percent, voted to remove...
Chapter 2. Sex and Politics at the Close of the Twentieth Century: A Feminist Looks Back at the Clinton Impeachment and the Thomas Confirmation Hearings
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When the Lewinsky scandal was fresh, when we were all still wondering how far the press would go, and whether this bimbo eruption would have political legs, the reaction of feminists to the President’s Predicament was eagerly anticipated. In time it became clear that feminism had found its place in the Democratic...
Chapter 3. Public, Private, and the Gender Division of Emotional Labor
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For a full year and more, the United States found itself in the throes of an often acrimonious round of debates concerning what is public and what is private in light of the nature of the impeachment charges brought against President Bill Clinton by the U.S. House of Representatives. Nothing was resolved...
Chapter 4. Everything You Thought You Knew about Impeachment Is Wrong
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If we had to describe, in two or three sentences, the surpassing oddness of Clinton’s impeachment, it would go something like this: A Democratic president, by any reasonable definition of the term, had “sex” with a twenty-two-year-old White House intern and repeatedly lied about it, both publicly and under...
Chapter 5. Pierre Elliot Trudeau: A Canadian Scandal?
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The attack on the personal morality of Pierre Elliot Trudeau, one-time flamboyant Prime Minister of Canada, is comparable only in some respects to the scandal surrounding Bill Clinton.1 Trudeau’s “crimes” were grounded in his politics and only secondarily in his lifestyle. His perceived public harm...
Part II. Law
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Chapter 6. Comparing the Independent Counsel to Other Prosecutors: Privilege and Other Issues
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The turnover of tape recordings was pivotal in the crisis that led to the resignation of President Nixon. Litigation over questions of privilege concerning tapes subpoenaed by the grand jury led to the October 20, 1973 Saturday Night Massacre, the event that put impeachment of the President on the...
Chapter 7. Legalizing Outrage
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In the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal’s early stages the makers of public opinion analyzed the affair in moral terms. They disagreed on exactly what was wrong with Clinton’s conduct. Some condemned him for adultery, some for betraying the implicit compact with his wife and the people that had once...
Chapter 8. The Gold Standard and Guilt-Edged Insecurities: The Impeachment Crucible as Tragic Farce
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At least one prize glittered. Moments after the formal acquittal of William Jefferson Clinton ended his impeachment trial, the Senate leaders of both parties presented Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist with a plaque featuring a golden gavel. Usually, majority leader Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi explained, with...
Chapter 9. Sex, Harm, and Impeachment
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Conservative and liberal legal commentators on the Clinton impeachment agreed on very little, but they agreed emphatically on the characterization of the various sexual behaviors which triggered the scandal. They all agreed that the President’s sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, although indecorous...
Chapter 10. Impeachment: A (Civil) Religious Perspective
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Impeachment is one area of politics and government which inescapably impinges on America’s civil religion—Constitutionalism. If anything separates American democracy from the way that it is practiced elsewhere in the world it is this quasi-religious reverence for the Constitution. This attitude is an...
Chapter 11. The Constitutional Politics of the Clinton Impeachment
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The U.S. Constitution is incomplete. Even when read in light of their original understanding, its express terms do not define precisely the ways in which many functions of a modern state are to be carried out. Sometimes we fill in the Constitution’s meaning by asking the Supreme Court to interpret it. Sometimes...
Part III. Shaping Public Opinion
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Chapter 12. Ontology in the Clinton Era
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Even though I’m not writing a book about cynicism, but only a response to the memory of things past, I find this quotation from Louis Menand’s essay an even better epigraph, for the cynicism that interests me here is the cynicism of the press and, even more, the news media that most of us tend to turn...
Chapter 13. All We Had to Do Was Rationalize the Sex
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Yes, President Clinton lied, but he lied about sex—consensual sex. For those who opposed impeachment, the fact that the President lied was never more than half the story. The other half, the important half, was the lie itself. For the supporters of impeachment, just the opposite was true. No matter what...
Chapter 14. Perjury and Impeachment: The Rule of Law or the Rule of Lawyers?
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It was a bad year for the Rule of Law.1 In fact, the 1990s was a bad decade for the Rule of Law. Through Court TV, the world saw legal gamesmanship relegate to a back seat the question of whether O. J. Simpson really killed his former wife and her friend. Then, beginning with the sensational disclosure...
Chapter 15. Impeachment and Enchanting Arts
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Why revisit the “Clinton Scandal,” wading waist-deep in the yellow confetti of previous punditry? Well, free from calls for clairvoyance or for calming jitters about The System’s death rattle, one might inquire what we gained from Impeachment besides another slam-bang episode in a Punch-and-Judy...
Chapter 16. A Year after the Acquittal in the Impeachment Trial
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The President’s more reflective side emerges late in the day. For example recently, at a fund-raiser at the Waldorf-Astoria, while Luther Vandross was singing Evergreen for him, the President whispered loudly to those at his table that this was, he thought, the greatest love song of the last twenty-five years. Yes...
Part IV. Religion
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Chapter 17. An Un-Christian Pursuit
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Few episodes in recent American history have polarized opinion as sharply as the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. On the one side, a self-conscious, self-righteously Christian fraction of the electorate banded together to condemn the President for his escapades with Ms. Lewinsky, and for his attempts to conceal, misrepresent...
Chapter 18. Abuse of Power as a Cultural Construct
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Politicians and pundits alike were mystified by the public support that President Clinton maintained throughout the impeachment process. With favorable job ratings at near record highs and no popular outcry for the President’s removal ensuing from their own jeremiads or analyses, commentors frequently...
Chapter 19. Bill Clinton and the American Character
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That the country would be better off stuck with him rather than having removed him from office was, many thought, the clinching argument of Dale Bumpers, former Senator from Arkansas, during the Senate trial. “If you have difficulty because of an intense dislike of the President, and that’s understandable...
Chapter 20. The Clinton Scandal: Law and Morals
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The Clinton scandal is supposed to have been an event that shows the essential difference between conservatives and liberals in the United States, especially their different views of the relation between law and morals. All conservatives are supposed to have been in favor of the impeachment of President Clinton...
Part V. The Political Is Personal
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Chapter 21. The Spectacle and the Libertine
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What was going on last year anyway?1 Monica, Clinton, the Republicans: some kind of freight train through our collective life, massive, unavoidable, by turns exciting, gripping, and then gone, as suddenly as it had come. A year ago an interdisciplinary Monica festival like this would surely have convened...
Chapter 22. The Political Is Personal
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My introduction to Bill Clinton was through the 1992 Democratic primaries. The field was filled with second stringers as the heavy hitters—Al Gore, for example—sat out the season thinking George Bush unbeatable. The traveling road show filling my television left me convinced that all Bill Clinton wanted...
Chapter 23. Dropped Drawers: A Viewpoint
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At first I was a bit troubled by being asked to write a response to the Clinton impeachment process. I watched as little as possible of the impeachment proceeding on television, and I completely avoided the Monica Lewinsky interviews. Why go there when you can watch Moonstruck for the 9,782nd time? For...
Conclusion: The Penultimate: The Meaning of Impeachment and Liberal Governance
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“Where are we now?”1 This is not merely a question of place but of spirit. The recent impeachment and trial of William Jefferson Clinton provides an instructive point of departure for analysis because it captures the interaction between our law and our morality. The Clinton impeachment defines political, cultural...
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2011