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Memphis Flyer With Enemies Like These...

By Memphis Flyer Editors

APRIL 27, 1998:  Faithful readers of this space know that we have given President Clinton a piece of our mind on the score of his philandering instincts. We believe that he has engaged in dubious conduct and needlessly endangered his presidency.

If we find ourselves now in a more kindly mood toward the president, it appears from various polls that we have company. And there are good reasons, other than Mr. Clinton’s apparent success at the helm of national government, why this should be so.

The bottom line is that the president’s enemies are more iniquitous than he is, and far more injurious to the republic in the long term. They are ill-disposed toward constitutional government, it would seem. At the very onset of the now gravely metastasized Whitewater investigation, Tennessee’s own Fred Thompson, a Republican in good standing, quite properly charged that American politics was in danger of being permanently criminalized, with legal actions and harassments and kamikaze court attacks becoming the losing side’s knee-jerk response to its own lack of success at the polls.

Nowhere does the Constitution call for the presidency to be placed under permanent siege by an unelected legal adversary, but that’s the shape of things under special prosecutor Kenneth Starr, and if the current independent-counsel law is not amended, each succeeding president is likely to have his own eminence grise to cope with as well.

With his quasi-kidnapping of Monica Lewinsky early on, his inquisition of her mother, his subpoena of Lewinsky’s bookstore purchases, and his current attempt to subvert the necessary bond of confidentiality between the Secret Service and the presidency, Starr is guilty of reckless endangerment of our governmental system.

Put up or shut up, Mr. Starr.

Consolidation: Round Two

A generation ago, an organized attempt to consolidate Shelby County government failed at the polls. And there is abundant evidence that organized opposition still exists – from political empire builders in Memphis’ inner city and amongst the white-flight masses of outer Shelby County, who sound legitimate notes of concern about the impact of consolidation on the schools.

But there is a growing consensus that city/county consolidation makes sense for the 21st century. Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton is for it, and, while Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout shies away from espousing it as such, his proposed “regional” reorganization fits the general picture. Memphis city council chairman Myron Lowery is talking consolidation up, and a majority of this year’s candidates for the county commission favor it, too.

The real clincher is that many of last year’s key petitioners for the incorporation of would-be suburban New Towns favor consolidation. One of them, Tom Jeanette of Hickory Hill, aspires to lead a countywide consolidation movement if the annexation bill that finally emerges from this year’s General Assembly contains a provision allowing citizen referendum to bring about inter-governmental merger.

It won’t be easy, but we’re happy to see that a consensus is slowly emerging on behalf of consolidation. And there is a ready-made target date for accomplishing such far-reaching and long-overdue change: the millennium, which happens to be at hand.

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