William Jefferson Clinton and his supporters have stepped up their efforts to restore republican government to the United States. Responding to the Starr report—and the accompanying boxes of documentation sent to Congress—the President’s liberal champions took up the chant that “It’s all about sex” and argued that the real debate in the House Judiciary Committee is over the definition of an impeachable offense. In shielding Mr. Clinton’s private life from public scrutiny, the Democratic leadership took rhetorical cynicism to new heights: One “scholar” went on National Public Radio to point out that Alexander Hamilton had engaged in an affair when he was secretary of the treasury, and nobody impeached him. On talk radio, this new bit of historical erudition quickly replaced the Harding scandal and the Jefferson-and-the slave-girl romance, and no Republican, apparently, was bright enough to point out that Cabinet officials are not impeached or that Hamilton carried on his affair outside the office, not within work hours, and with a woman who was not working for him. But why stick at these details? Sex is sex is private life —right?

The liberals are right, of course. In any sane society, a President’s private life would not be a fit topic for discussion, much less for an impeachment. That boys will be boys is hardly startling information, even for Americans who are kept in the dark about politics. We may not believe in having babies anymore, but by the age of 16 most of us have the practical knowledge that can only come from experience, and no one who has ever known a politician of either party can have much doubt about the moral standards of American statesmen.

Conservatives used to make jokes about the amours of Franklin Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy, and many journalists knew about Jack Kennedy’s procession of bimbos. But even editors who might have had reason to get even with the rum-runner’s boy kept their mouths shut. Why? Most of them probably thought—as I do now—that under ordinary circumstances, the nation is better off not to know that we have Don Juan as president than to get bogged down in the sewer of Jack Kennedy’s private life. The King of Camelot apparently considered strange women like so much orange juice: No day was complete without having sex with at least one of them. (His successor-a Modred if ever there was one—is not even man enough to bed the broads he chases.)

But that was then and this is now. Jack Kennedy lived in the bad old days of the patriarchy, when straight male dinosaurs ruled the planet, before feminists had reduced all relations between men and women to the level of rape and intimidation. Those were the days when a man could say, “Lovely dress you’re wearing,” to his secretary, without getting fired or sentenced to sensitivity training. In I960, there was no Civil Rights Act guaranteeing special privileges to women as a minority—even though women outnumber men in our society and have the power to vote for anyone or anything they like.

In the Kennedy era, women had not yet destroyed the character of our service academies or undermined the effectiveness of police forces. This was even before people like Donna Shalala had imposed anti-white-male quotas and queer studies requirements on universities. “Those were the days, my friend,” but they are gone, thanks to the efforts of Bill and Hillary Clinton, their friends Donna Shalala, Janet Reno, and Patricia Ireland —and virtually every other friend, mentor, disciple, and plaything connected to this administration. But now when the people who write the rules are caught in the wringer they have set up for the rest of us, suddenly sexual harassment is something personal, even when it is inflicted in the work place, by the CEO of a company. Even when that CEO advises you on how to lie under oath and helps you to find a job.

I’d be tempted to describe the liberals’ defense of Clinton as hypocritical, but it isn’t. Since the I960’s, they have elevated whining into a moral code and designed a two-track political system based on the principle of one law for the rubes and one law for the political class and the privileged minority groups that give them their power. Anyone with half a brain knew from the beginning that affirmative action and welfare could only hurt blacks—and it only took neoconservatives 20 years to figure it out. But what is the life of tens of millions of our fellow citizens compared with the chance to make money and feel good about yourself?

Here’s the only deal a self-respecting conservative ought to cut with the Clintons: We’ll let you go down in history as a great progressive President. We’ll drop the charges, wipe out the historical record (our establishment is good at rewriting history), and all you have to do is give us back the country the way it was before you and your friends ruined it. Just erase every sexual harassment statute, every quota, every special privilege granted since Jack Kennedy stole the election of I960. For that kind of deal, I’d be happy to waive the 22nd Amendment and make Bill Clinton President for life. He can’t be any worse than the new George Bush.