Danger in the Final Days of Bill Clinton

By Peyton Knight, Associate Editor

Father Time has finally accomplished what two elections, numerous scandals, and public outrage failed to do—remove Bill Clinton from office. On January 20th of next year, our new president will be sworn in, a new era will dawn, and William Jefferson Clinton will fall victim to the term limit. As Americans await this changing of the guard, complacency sets in. Complacency in Congress, as our elected representatives prepare for their dealings with a new President. Complacency in the general public, as they anticipate a new era of leadership.

Yet what of the two and a half months between now and Inauguration Day? After all, Clinton is still President and he still assumes all subsequent powers. Will he simply ride out the remainder of his term, relaxing in his final days at the White House? Not on your life. This is the most dangerous time of his entire eight years in office. President Clinton recognizes the complacency that has just set in around the nation. And he will use it to his advantage. Between now and January 20th, Bill Clinton will dust off his executive order pen and unleash of flurry of laws and regulations that bypass our legislative process, in hopes of establishing a legacy that overshadows his tarnished presidency. Now is the time that all Americans, especially Congress, must be vigilant.

Recall Clinton’s Executive Order #13132, which he boldly titled “Federalism”. “Destroying Federalism” would have been more apropos. This order was a direct attack on the 10th Amendment as it gave federal agencies the power to dictate policy to the states. Clinton’s attack on Federalism is merely one of the hundreds of executive orders he has issued during his presidency. The most egregious of these acts seem to be those that trample the property rights of Americans and buck the local authorities of the states. From the “American Heritage Rivers Initiative” to the “President’s Council on Sustainable Development”, Bill Clinton is intent on acquiring as much land as possible for the federal government, while showing complete disregard for sound land management policies and the basic rights of individuals. His “land legacy” has already swallowed entire regions whole, but the most frightening aspect is that he’s not through yet. Not by a long shot.

Clinton has unilaterally declared new national monuments and added acreage to many others—most without Congressional input or consulting the local communities that are directly injured by these dictatorial designations. Already, millions of acres have been gobbled up by Clinton, thus completely eliminating fishing, hunting, mining and logging in these affected regions—not to mention stealing the land of many private property owners.

Only a few months ago, Clinton penned the designation of the Hanford Reach National Monument in Washington and the Giant Sequoia National Monument in California. These two monuments combined cut off the public from over 500,000 acres of land. This massive land grab crippled entire industries and was adamantly opposed by local residents and officials. No matter. In the end, Clinton sided with the radical environmental lobby over the concerns of locals who were directly affected.

In the coming days, Clinton may well be snatching up land like never before. He has already planned several new monument sites in various western states that would lock up hundreds of thousands acres. The Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument is one such land grab that is awaiting Clinton’s signature any day now. This monument would seal off 272,000 acres of land, and is already being protested by locals who need the mountains for both recreation and industry.

In addition to his monumental land grabs, Clinton is poised to implement his infamous “roadless initiative” by making an end-run around Congress and simply directing the Forest Service to carry out his orders. This roadless plan would prohibit the construction of new roads in over 40 million acres of national forest land. Roads that are imperative to maintaining good forest health and preventing disastrous forest fires. Roads that also provide access to private property and indeed, whole towns.

These remaining weeks are absolutely critical. Clinton has made it quite clear that he intends to legislate regardless of whether or not he is in the bounds of the Constitution. It is up to Congress to finally stand up and stop him. If they do, countless acres of forest, many jobs and our legislative process will be saved. If they don’t, Clinton will appease his many political special interests at the price of lost property rights, lost jobs, and ruined lives. The time for Congress to act is now.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods (www.CFACT.org). He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.