Perhaps Sen. Hatch has been in office too long. Perhaps he has lost touch with his voting public and the American people. Perhaps the truth as a fundamental principle is no longer part of his philosophy.

Sen. Hatch said of President Clinton, "If he comes forth and tells it and does it in the right way and there aren't a lot of other factors to cause the Congress to say this man is unfit for the presidency and should be impeached, then I think the pres-i-dent would have a reasonable chance of getting through this."What? Not a lot of other factors to say Clinton is unfit for the presidency? You mean lying under oath, the crime of perjury, doesn't make him unfit? We realize, Sen. Hatch, that the truth is often in short supply among politicians. But under oath in a court of law?

You appear to confuse the commendable value of forgiveness of the private individual with the need for upholding pub-lic morality. The former seeks the res-tor-a-tion of the individual; the latter seeks to maintain those values without which society cannot endure. Truth is foundational to societal health, and if the highest elected official in the land can lie under oath with impunity, every criminal in the country should be able to solve their legal problems with a heartfelt apology. If the president can obstruct justice, how can we call it wrong?

You've been listening to the Democrats, Sen. Hatch. It's not just about sex.

Gary A. Preble

Olympia, Wash.