Reference 1998: Dellenback recalls Nixon ordeal

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: John R. Dellenback: April 28, 1975-May 13, 1977: Dellenback: Reference 1998: Dellenback recalls Nixon ordeal

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, July 14, 2001 - 9:33 pm: Edit Post

Dellenback recalls Nixon ordeal

Dellenback recalls Nixon ordeal

Dellenback recalls Nixon ordeal


Perhaps no one understands the gravity of the decision facing 2nd District Congressman Bob Smith more than John Dellenback.

When the Medford resident was in Congress in 1974, he pondered whether to vote for the impeachment of then President Richard Nixon.

"I suspect the situation was very much for me as it is for Bob now," Dellenback said. "The surface facts were much different, but the central issue of violating the law is very similar in my opinion."

Dellenback and other members of Congress were asked to consider whether Nixon obstructed justice and abused power. The Republican represented the 4th Congressional District from 1967 to 1975 when it included the Rogue Valley.

"I came to the conclusion that, whatever great things he (Nixon) had done for the country and international affairs, he had transgressed the law, put himself above the law," Dellenback said, later adding, "I was prepared to vote for articles of impeachment."

However, Nixon resigned just before the full House voted. As in the Clinton case, the Judiciary Committee had just approved articles of impeachment against Nixon.

While Dellenback, who later became the director of the Peace Corps before retiring in Medford, also supports Clinton's impeachment, he laments that the debate has become partisan.

"I felt badly that the vote in the Judiciary Committee fell along party lines," he said, referring to the first two articles in which the 21 Republicans voted in favor while the 16 Democrats opposed them. A Republican voted against one of the four articles.

"If they were really voting as individuals -- in their heart, mind and conscience -- the party-line nature wouldn't be there," he said of the committee. "That's very disturbing. The thing with Nixon had moved beyond partisanship."

Likewise, Dellenback takes the American people to task for their apparent support of Clinton. Yet he suspects the main reason behind Clinton's broad support is that the economy is doing well.

"Maybe people in the popularity polls don't understand," he said. "They think the issue is morals and sex."

Dellenback said that while Clinton's behavior along those lines has set an "atrocious example" for young people, the real issue is whether the president violated the Constitution. Dellenback believes he did.

"Must the president obey the laws of the land? That's the basic question," he said. "When he lies under oath -- the facts apparently are clear that he lied when he swore certain things -- that kind of transgression of law is disastrous for the whole criminal justice system."

Although Dellenback notes that he seldom misses serving in Congress, this is a time when he wouldn't mind one last vote.

"I would welcome the opportunity to cast my vote in support of morality and integrity," he added.

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Story Source: The Mail Tribune

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