The polls giving Bill Clinton high approval ratings in the midst of his sordid affairs, deceit and abuse of power are not as puzzling as many commentators think. Americans have always enjoyed the character of the clever, charismatic bandit who escapes the law. Butch Cassidy, a thief and bank robber, was immortalized in the highly popular movie, and he continues to enjoy public admiration and interest.

Hollywood has made heroes out of Bonnie and Clyde, the Godfather and even Batman's foes. Watching the Starr investigation for the last few years was like watching "The Fugitive." The U.S. marshall always got close but never got his man. We as a people didn't care whether the president was guilty or innocent. We always root for the guy with charm, the guy who says the right thing. In fact, we probably prefer him to be guilty because it heightens the dramatic tension. Even now that he's been caught, the fun's still not over.When it gets down to it, we like Bill Clinton personally, and we've always hoped he'd get away with it. We still do. "There's Something About Bill" that we, quite frankly, admire. It's not his truthfulness, or integrity or selflessness. We know he lacks those traits. It's the sense that if someone in his position has that many faults yet gets the job done, maybe we're OK, too, despite our faults. And maybe, we like to think, if it were us being chased, we'd be able to escape, just like Bill.

The problem is, despite the advice and coaching from his Hollywood friends, Bill Clinton is not really a TV or movie character. He is actually the president of the United States. To allow the presidency to be forever degraded by approving illegal and immoral activity by its occupant purely because we like him would be a tragic miscalculation.

Bill Clinton simply must leave office.

Jonathan Neville

South Jordan