The Clinton Compromise

by Elgin Hushbeck

DemocracyFor all but the most dogmatic Christians, living in the real world is full of compromises. This is probably one of the reasons monasticism has played a significant role in the history of Christianity. There is something appealing about cutting oneself off and just living as Christ would want us to live, free from the temptations of the world.
Whatever your theological stance on these issues, most Christians do not have the ability to cut themselves off so completely and often; we are faced with having to make compromises. This can be particularly true when it comes to influencing our society as citizens of a democratic government. (Note, I use democratic in its broad sense that would include a number of types of democratic governments including a republic, and not just direct democracy). Rarely do we have a choice between candidates we can fully support, and often we are trying to choose the better of two evils.
Some try to avoid the choice by not participating. But this is also a compromise. We abandon our duty to be good citizens, and we abandon our ability to shape the society. For me, the famous line “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” sums up the problem I have with such a view.
The opposite of not participating at all is always supporting “your side” no matter what. In the last 45 years, both the Democrat and Republican parties have faced just such a choice. For the Republicans, the choice came in the early 1970. While many rallied to President Nixon as the Watergate scandal began to unfold, seeing it as the result of political attacks and a liberal media, eventually a point was reached where it became clear that Nixon had committed obstruction of justice. In short, whatever role politics played in the accusations of his opponents, Nixon broke the law, and that could not be acceptable in a President. As a result, a delegation of Republicans led by Senator Barry Goldwater went to the White House and demanded that Nixon resign.
The Democrats faced their choice in the mid-1990s with the Clintons and their numerous scandals from their time in Arkansas, violating campaign finance laws, shady trade dealing with China, and of course the claims of philandering, sexual harassment and even a rape charge.
Like the Republicans and Nixon in the early days of Watergate, Democrats rejected all of these as politically motivated attacks, despite the fact that there were a number of convictions of those close to the Clintons.  Then, like Nixon, eventually it became clear that Clinton had committed obstruction of Justice, but in addition, and unlike Nixon, he also committed perjury. Yet rather than a delegation of Democrats going and asking Clinton to resign, a large number went to hold a rally of support. Their guy was to be defended no matter what. As a result, Clinton survived impeachment, though he was the only President who had to negotiate a plea bargain so that he would not be arrested upon leaving office.
Such things are rarely one-off events. If people know there will be no consequences for bad actions, they are much more likely to act badly. Thus in the current administration, several officials have been caught lying to Congress with no consequences. James Clapper, when confronted with his lie, passed it off as the “least untruthful” answer. But then the President himself has been shown to have lied on numerous occasions, perhaps the most notable being “if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor,” something documents released showed the administration knew was not correct from the start. Then there is the more recent claim that the deal with Iran would have anywhere-anytime inspections, only to have Kerry say that was never even sought.
Now the Democrats find Hillary Clinton their main candidate in serious trouble having run afoul of the law. Once again, we get a long line of excuses that are shown to be false, only to be replaced with new excuses. There is also the suspiciously timed, extremely large donations, to the Clinton foundation from those with business before the Secretary of State.
Now, despite earlier claims to the contrary, we know that Clinton’s emails did contain classified material. Given that so much of what the Secretary of State does is classified, it would have been extremely surprising if they hadn’t. So she broke at least some laws, and the FBI is investigating. Aggravating this, General Petraeus recently plead guilty to giving his biographer/mistress classified material (reportedly his schedule – which as CIA Director was classified). What Clinton has done is far worse.
For nearly two decades Democrats have closed their eyes to the long list of scandals that surround the Clintons, and the Clintons’ lawlessness has been spreading through their party. Winning, not character, was what matters. But compromising on issues of character is different than compromising on political positions. Perhaps for the Democrats, the bill is coming due.

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  1. As one who has generally supported the Democratic Party, I find that I am not very enthusiastic about the Clinton campaign. Some of it has to do with how close she comes to stepping over the line of legal/ethical issues, and the lack of transparency. However, I think you are overly critical when you ascribe to her motives that you cannot know; you cannot read her heart. Certainly, arguments can be made that relieve the Clintons of any criminal or ethical wrongdoing in many of these so-called scandals. One takes a side, not on the evidence, but on the general attitude taken toward them, as I think you have done. That being said, perhaps I am doing the same thing by giving them the benefit of the doubt.
    Nevertheless, I find I am being drawn more to other Democratic candidates, and am hoping someone with stature will become a viable threat to Hilary. Not because I don’t think she would be a great president, but because I think she is losing the public’s confidence and will have difficulty in the general election.

    1. Steve,
      “However, I think you are overly critical when you ascribe to her motives that you cannot know;”
      Exactly where did I do this? I listed a series of what I believe are pretty clear facts. Bill Clinton commit perjury and obstruction of justice. The Democrats ignored this. He did make a plea deal before leaving office to avoid being arrested. James Clapper did lie, as did the President, as did Clinton.
      As for Clinton and all the major excuses and explanation she has given which have since been shown to be false. While in theory one might argue she was just mistaken, it is extremely hard to argue this in reality, she would have to have been the most incompetent Sec State ever. As a legal matter it does not matter. Our laws concerning the handling and protection classified information do not permit ignorance as an excuse, and there are people who have had their lives ruined for far less infractions than this.
      But then that is somewhat my point. There always seem to be special rules and standard for democrats, especially the Clintons. After all look at Scooter Libby. He was convicted for perjury because is memory did not line up with Tim Russert’s, which did not line up with Judith Miller. Even though Fitzgerald knew two weeks into the investigation that there was no crime and that the “leak” of Plame name came from Richard Armitage, he still pressed ahead and eventually got a conviction several years latter of Libby. Judith Miller in her recent book said she believe Fitzgerald induced here to give false evidence at the trial.
      True in some areas we cannot say for sure yet what happened for Clinton. She claims she deleted personal emails such as those dealing with her daughter’s wedding. Ok, but how many women delete such things rather than keep them. How many go to the trouble have having their servers professional wiped to ensure nothing remains on them? How is this not obstruction of justice?
      Perhaps you can better see my point if you change take all of these scandals and which the names from Clinton to Nixon or Bush. Look at the trouble Nixon got into over 18 ½ mins of tape. How does that compare to 30,000 emails and a long series of excuses and explanations that have been shown to be false.

      1. Legalities aside, ignorance can excuse someone from the libel of lying. To presume otherwise is to know more than anyone besides Hilary can truly know.

        1. Steve,
          While you are correct about lying and ignorance, at some point one must choose between lying and incompetence, or flat out mental problems. For example with James Clapper it was his Job to know if the Government was collecting email from US citizens. He had been informed in advance that question would be asked, he could have asked for secret session to discuss the issue and if that was denied he could have given the answer so many others have given when straying into such areas, which is to say that they will not discuss forms and method in an open hearing. Instead he chose to lie and when questioned later said it was the “least untruthful” thing he could say, which itself was not true. What happened to him? Nothing. He is on team Democrat.
          And are you really going to try and argue that Bill Clinton forgot that he had had sex with “that woman”?” Then of course there was the plea deal. David Axelrod said the president lied about his stance on Same-sex marriage to get elected. Honestly is that a surprise? It wasn’t to me. We know from administration documents that the administration new the claims Obama was making about Obamacare were false and that its critics were correct.
          It is now clear that the administration knew before the attacks were over in Benghazi that this was a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous protest about a video. But for weeks the President and Clinton lied about it. Hillary lied to the family members while standing near the coffins.
          Yes, there is a very minute chance that Clinton is extremely mentally confused and befuddled, and this is the reason for her very long string of falsehood after falsehood after falsehood. But that hardly makes for strong qualification for president.
          It still leaves the question of why she would go to the trouble of having her server professionally wiped so as not to leave a trace of what was on there. Just what really happened at that that wedding?
          Finally, whether she lied or not does not really changes my point. It still means she is not trustworthy. Whether this is due to a moral or mental failing, the bottom line is you cannot trust what she says. Yet for many Democrats this does not matter. Hillary is on team Democrat and it is their team right or wrong.
          Frankly, because I had a Top Secret security clearance at one time in my life and thus have some idea of how seriously the government takes such things, from the time the email/server story broke I predicted she would not be the nominee. I am now more convinced of that than ever. Still when I look at the Democratic reaction, I do not see much concern that Clinton broke the law, what seems to bother them is that this might affect her chances of winning. I see a lot of concern that she does not have the skill of her husband in getting past such things. In short that winning is more important than character, and fundamentally that is my point.

  2. Elgin, again thank you for bringing this out into the open. I cannot understand the mindset of anyone these days staying in the Democratic party. It seems they are on the wrong side of everything. It is hard to forget that the delegates at the last Democratic Convention actually BOOED having the name of God in their platform!! They kept taking the vote, thinking they heard wrong and finally decided those against God were fewer than those for God! I could hardly believe what I was witnessing! If you believe in abortion, same-sex marriage, big government, weak foreign policy, lack of love for Israel, and other immoral and anti-American policies, then vote Democratic!! It is time for Christians to get out of the Democratic party and quit accusing Republicans of being greedy for wealth and not helping the poor! I think I heard a statistic on charitable giving, comparing liberals and conservatives, and the liberals that talk about giving to the poor actually give very little of their own income to help the needy. However, they have no problem spending other people’s money for their “compassionate” policies! Another thing that has grieved me is that our Ambassador and embassy people in Libya were murdered, because the order never came from the State Dept. and the President to allow our military people standing by to rescue them!!! I would advise all true Christians to leave the Democratic party! There! I said it, and I have never been this outspoken publicly. Please don’t throw things at me! The appointment of Supreme Court justices in the future is pivotal regarding freedom of religion and freedom of speech, so my heartfelt prayer is that we get a genuine Christian as our next President. And I believe that PRAYER is really the answer after all, because a large segment of the American people don’t even know right from wrong any more!

    1. Nancy, as a Christian, I don’t believe that any political party has the solution to America’s ills, let alone the world’s. I agree with you that prayer is the best avenue; not the ballot box. Yet, as Elgin points out, we have to make decisions. Here’s how I make mine.
      As a Christian, I believe my priorities are these:
      1. My first priority is to the kingdom of God, and to the values for which it stands.
      2. My second priority is to be for all humanity before I am for any subset of it; therefore, I am a citizen of the world.
      3. Third, as an American Christian, my loyalties are to kingdom ethics; I therefore am a loyal citizen to the extent that America’s values represent kingdom values.
      Therefore, I do not put an Israeli over a Palestinian, or a straight person over a gay person, subordinate women and claim I know what’s best for their bodies than they. I hope for a living wage for all, a Jubilee redistribution of wealth, and a robust concern for God’s precious planet. If anyone in any party can support these, I will support them. Usually, it’s a Democrat.
      What I can’t support is shameful voting rights restrictions, preemptive wars, tax breaks for the rich, intrusion into the bedroom, lax gun laws, and a weakened safety net for the disadvantaged. These usually are championed by Republicans.
      So, we have a fundamental disagreement about how to choose our political path. I would not want to characterize you as less a Christian because you choose differently, nor would I call for you, or anyone, to leave the Republican Party. What I would ask for is a little more tolerance for those who base their decisions on heart-felt and thoughtful consideration of the issues. Those who differ with you come from the same place as you: wanting to do the best they can from a Christian perspective. They should be honored as well as you.

      1. Steve, you did well in explaining your perspective and still respecting mine. Thank you. I am not a die-hard Republican and realize that the RNC sometimes uses wrong means to accomplish good ends. However, most all the candidates in the upcoming presidential election running as Republicans,display much more Christian character than I have seen among Democratic candidates. Of course, it’s not just what people SAY but what they actually DO when they get in office that counts. To my way of thinking, when people in politics are more dedicated to God and His Word above everything else, things will change for the better in America. There is absolutely no way that abortion can be justified by God’s Word! It is not a woman’s body we are talking about. It is the life of a vulnerable, totally defenseless BABY that has every right to protection by our government. Be assured our country is under God’s judgment for the murder of over 55 million unborn babies since 1973! Unless we have a Third Great Awakening in this country, we will suffer God’s wrath, and there is no doubt about it. The latest insult to God is the SCOTUS ruling, legalizing homosexuality, a clear violation of God’s Holy Word!! And to use God’s own sign of the rainbow and have it lit up on the White House is the height of rebellion against God! The Democratic party promotes abortion (the President has complimented Planned Parenthood even recently) and homosexual marriage. I still affirm that it is not a party that Christians should be a part of. And as far as being a citizen of the world — in the same way we honor our parents and stand up for our families (even with our faults), we should also stand up for our country which has been a wonderful blessing to us from God, because it was founded by Christians not only seeking freedom of religion but to propagate the gospel of Jesus Christ! How far we have fallen. You and I agree on one thing – we need to PRAY for God’s mercy!

      2. Steve,
        Your priorities are different than mine. We agree that the first priority is to God. After that we differ. Mine would be:
        1) God
        2) family
        3) church (or my local Christian family)
        4) Local community
        5) State – (since I am in the United States)
        6) Country
        7) World.
        Because of the I do reach vastly different conclusion on many (but not all – at least not without some qualification and definitions) of the issue you listed.
        For example, it is very easy for me to put the Israel ahead of the Palestinians. Israel is basically a western democratic country with a lot of values that I would share in terms of freedom and human rights. Palestinians do not even come close in terms of freedom and human rights, and their primary goal is the destruction of the state of Israel which make piece impossible. As Golda Meier once said, peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us. Instead they dress their kids up in toy suicide vests. Even today Hama claims it will win because “We love death more than you love life.” So yes, I pick Israel, and for me it is an easy pick when I compare the two.
        I could write similarly on the many other things in your list but I will save that for future posts.

        1. Elgin, again I applaud you for valuing Israel and the Jewish people, since Jesus is our Jewish Messiah! What you said is true. God called me to be a Mizpah (watchman and witness) for Israel 20 years ago, and two of my books are on this subject. The situation about the Palestinians will be addressed in my third post (from my book, “Why Christians Should Care About Their Jewish Roots”) which is coming up soon. 🙂

    2. Nancy,
      You are correct on the stats for giving. While it is very close for liberal and conservative Christians, it is not for liberals and conservatives in general. Conservatives give far more on average, both in terms of money and time, per person.

  3. Nancy, you dogmatically assert, “There is absolutely no way that abortion can be justified by God’s Word!” Before I attempt to give you some biblical reasons for why this is wrong, I want to go on the record as saying that we have too many abortions in America for the wrong reasons. We should be doing all we can to keep abortions to a minimum.
    Now, for the biblical data.
    Exodus 21:22-25 When people who are fighting injure a pregnant woman so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no further harm follows, the one responsible shall be fined what the woman’s husband demands, paying as much as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
    Moses stipulates that a miscarriage (a baby’s death) is not the equivalent of taking a life. If that were so, the penalty would be the life of the perpetrator taken. However, in this case, only a fine is required. However, if more harm follows, that is, if any of the people involved die, then a life for a life is the rule.
    This next example isn’t just from Moses, it’s an action of God that destroys a baby in the womb. Numbers 5:11-28.
    The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, if a man has had intercourse with her but it is hidden from her husband, so that she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her since she was not caught in the act; if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself; or if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself; then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance.
    Then the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord; the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. The priest shall set the woman before the Lord, dishevel the woman’s hair, and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. In his own hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse. Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, “If no man has lain with you, if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings the curse. But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has had intercourse with you,” —let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse and say to the woman—“the Lord make you an execration and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your uterus drop, your womb discharge; now may this water that brings the curse enter your bowels and make your womb discharge, your uterus drop!” And the woman shall say, “Amen. Amen.”
    Then the priest shall put these curses in writing, and wash them off into the water of bitterness. He shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter her and cause bitter pain. The priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy out of the woman’s hand, and shall elevate the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar; and the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering, as its memorial portion, and turn it into smoke on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water. When he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall discharge, her uterus drop, and the woman shall become an execration among her people. But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be immune and be able to conceive children.

    This is the case of an ordeal to determine if a wife has committed adultery. Should the wife be found guilty, “the Lord makes your uterus drop, your womb discharge.” That is, God will cause a miscarriage.
    As you know, in Hebrew thought, a human body does not reach the status of a person until, as with Adam, it takes its first breath and becomes a living soul (being.) The notion that a person, the equivalent of one born and living, is so from the time of conception is not a biblical truth.
    Certainly we can argue over the meaning of these texts. However, we can’t argue that the issue is so cut and dried that there is no biblical basis for arguing for abortion. Of course, there are many other bases for arguing pro and con, including sociological, psychological, and medical.

    1. Steve, you go to great lengths to quote this long passage from the Torah, and yet you will not accept from the Torah that a man who lies with another man as a woman is an abomination! (Lev. 18:22) Besides, Scripture does not say that a fetus or baby was discharged from the womb in that passage you quoted. Pregnancy does not automatically occur from sexual contact, as you well know. And Adam was not “born.” Of course, he became a living soul when God breathed His own breath into him! Read Psalm 139: 13-16 , how God wove us in our mother’s womb. He even planned every day of our lives before we were born! Also note that Jeremiah was called by God from the womb! (Jer. 1:5) Also note Eph. 2:10 that we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” I don’t think this verse necessarily means the good works were created AFTER we have been saved, but from the womb. Anyway, the Psalms and Jeremiah passages are enough to prove that God considers the baby in the womb to be a real person! The first passage you quoted says if any harm follows, a life for a life, etc. Well, if the baby dies, that is “harm,” and the penalty is a life for a life! I’m sure you have seen sonograms of babies inside the womb. They are little people, and they feel pain!!! Amazingly, my brother-in-law vows he “remembers” his time inside the womb!!! That’s hard to believe and not part of my argument, but I thought I would throw that in! I don’t mean to be funny, however, because we are talking about murder here! And now, recently I have read that “the life of the mother” should not be a consideration either to justify abortion, because it is an extremely rare thing. With advanced medicine, there are other ways to take care of the mother rather than killing the baby. There is one good outcome of abortion in that every little life that is terminated in the womb goes directly into the arms of Jesus! He said, “Let the little children come unto Me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” At least pray about what I have said, Steve. I know you are a sincere Christian, but I believe you need to pray about this.

        1. Steve, I looked up these verses for myself, and there is only one translation out of MANY translations that uses the word, “miscarry.” The others say, “the belly (womb) shall swell, and the thigh” “shall fall away,” “rot,” or “shrivel.” Numbers 5:27 – http://biblehub.com/numbers/5-27.htm. It is the NIV that uses the word, “miscarry,” and I have found the NIV to be wrong in other places. There again, I do not think the woman in this passage is pregnant.

        2. You are right in observing that the woman in question may or may not be pregnant. The point is that if she is pregnant, then the result would be an aborted pregnancy. There is no getting around that.

        3. Accident or premeditation, the death is not treated as the equivalent of a human person since the penalty is merely a fine.

      1. My point is not to go over this ground and establish the veracity of my argument just as you are attempting to do here. I could do that, but my point is to simply to make the case (whether right or wrong) that there is a biblical defense of abortion. Your assertion that there is none is false.
        Urging me to pray about this implies that if people would just do this, God will show them (and me) the error of their ways. Believe it or not, people on both sides of this issue are prayerful and diligent readers of the bible. I’m happy that you have come to your own understanding, but to suggest that the rest of us simply aren’t listening to God is to say more than you can possibly know.

        1. I think those who oppose legalized abortion and those who identify themselves as pro choice need to move away from attacking each other and see where they can find common ground. The vitriol is just too intense and counterproductive. I wish we could find mechanisms where people on both sides could dialogue about ways to work together in support of providing access to birth control and support for those w unwanted pregnancies. The verbal battle between pro choice and pro life adherents has gone on for too long and is going nowhere. This has been an area of great interest to me. Back in my college days. I was on the speaking team of an anti abortion organization. I was pretty much the token liberal in the bunch. Over time, I concluded that thrre has to be a better way to deal with the question of abortion than that advocated by the right to life movement. To this,day, I am deeply sympathetic to an anti abortion position but also am more concerned to finding ways to reduce abortions in ways that transcend the use of rhetoric which is divisive and often self righteous….I would encourage you to look at my lengthier comments on this in my book Crossing the Street published by Energion….Since Roe v Wade in 1973, the right to life movement has employed strategies to insure abortion is illegal…Have those strategies been effective? Can they ever be effective, ? How about toning down the rhetoric and reaching across the aisle, so to speak, to find ways we can work together?

          1. Bob, thank you for weighing in. 🙂 Please forgive me if I come across as self-righteous, because I know that I may be in a “fix” myself except for the grace of God and the blood of Jesus! The right-to-life movement is composed of so many groups, and some of them do get vitriolic because of their overzealousness. People who kill abortionists and bomb abortion clinics are criminals, plain and simple. However, I very much admire most of the groups, and I do think they have had a great effect in influencing legislation, in counseling pregnant women, and in bringing awareness to the whole issue, including the well-being of the mother. I seek to speak the truth in love, because it is showing love to warn against this national atrocity. Two grisly examples, Gosnell and Planned Parenthood, give evidence of where the pro-choice position could ultimately end up. It is understandable when people get very emotional about this! Our church supports a Save-A-Life ministry in a college town nearby that is having great success in saving babies’ lives and seeing the mothers and even the fathers accept Jesus as Savior and being transformed! These women need practical help to see the babies to term, and they receive many supplies that they could never afford. Save-A-Life leads them in Bible studies. When the ministry received a sonogram machine, it made all the difference in the young women’s decisions to carry their babies to term and either keep them or give them up for adoption. I can’t agree that the right-to-life movement should back off in any way from all they are doing now to help women and to raise awareness of the negative effects of abortion. Even the women who have aborted their babies are given counseling, love, and practical help. A final thought – our sex-saturated culture provides a trap for young men and women to have sex before marriage. Biblical teaching and educational counseling on remaining virgins until marriage is what young people need, not dispensing of contraceptives. I am not against birth control, as long as it isn’t abortifacients that are offered, but I think that is for married people. Did you know that Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” in the Roe versus Wade case, never had an abortion but was exploited by young feminist lawyers? She worked at an abortion clinic later which was next door to a pro-life clinic. The Christian pro-lifers befriended her, and eventually she gave her heart to Jesus! She became an avid pro-lifer after that. You can look it up on the net. I marvel that the pro-life groups are hanging in there. They don’t grow weary in well-doing. As the saying goes, pro-choice people do have a choice. They should choose not to have sex before marriage. The babies have no choice whether they live or die. I just can’t quit sticking up for them!

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