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McCollum on fair play


There was a scene, during a memorial service in the U.S. Senate for former Gov. Lawton Chiles, in which President Clinton's many tormentors made nice as Clinton back-slapped. Off to one side, Bill McCollum shot angry stares into the back of Clinton's head. Tandy Chiles urged the assembled guests to put aside partisan rancor and "sow mercy so that God can then bestow upon you his harvest of mercy." Asked about the statement afterwards, McCollum reportedly snarled, "I don't think it's appropriate."

There was a scene, later, in which the congressman showed "appropriate" decorum in the Senate chamber by describing in detail Clinton's misdeeds -- which were not about sex, but perjury and obstruction of justice -- by repeatedly using the words "genitalia," "breasts," and "oral sex."

Then there was a scene last week as McCollum, ever mindful of history, used a roll call form autographed by fellow congressman Henry Hyde and other House managers to record the Senate vote acquitting Clinton of impeachment charges advanced by House Republicans. Word that Democrats now may run hard against McCollum -- Buddy Dyer's name was mentioned, along with that of former Orange County Chairman Linda Chapin (but not, alas, candidate Al Krulick, who has run twice against McCollum) -- brought this response from McCollum, who says he bears no ill will toward Clinton personally: "Unseemly."

"The issue has been addressed. It's absolutely time to move on," McCollum told the Sentinel. Amen to that.