The Breakfast Table

Goldberg and Tarloff

Hello Erik from the Upper Left Bank of New York City:

The Washington Post seems to feel that “Gingrich Raises the Bar for Impeachment” by Dan Balz and “A Defense for Clinton Begins to Take Shape” by a hat-trick of reporters, Peter Baker, Ruth Marcus and Vast Right Wing Conspiracy’er Susan Schmidt have equal gravity. The Newt story in which he seems to want to take the heat off the possibilities of an impeachment inquiry by saying that Congress will look for a lot more dish than Monica’s frolics if it is to consider giving Clinton the heave-ho. Didn’t we know that? Maybe Newt is making nice because he heard weekend rumbles that if Clinton goes and Gore gets the Chinese water torture he will end up hearing “Hail to the Chief.” It is never too soon to look statesmanly.

By far the more interesting story is the positively rococo defense being leak-suggested by White House spinners. Baker, Marcus and Schmidt write: “The bottom line according the some advisers, is this: Yes, he deceived, obfuscated and evaded. No, he was not forthcoming or fully truthful. But technically, they maintain, he did not lie. And even if he did, it should not matter legally because it was an irrelevant line of questioning in an illegitimate lawsuit eventually thrown out of court.” The mind lurches. Are the parents, teachers, ministers and courts of the millenium ready to deal with that kind of semantical spaghetti?

All the papers report that Clinton seems to have spent the weekend tied up on the porch with Buddy in Martha’s Vineyard. The New York Post–my favorite–you will not be surprised to learn, does one of it highly subjective “sidewalk surveys” in which they pose the question “Do you believe Hillary learned the truth about Bill and Monica only days before his public admission? Only Pearl Messlin 72, bookkeeper from Astoria, Queens believes that one. Of all the things to hoot about in recent developments in this story is the idea that Hillary stumbled about in the political dark for seven months. This seems to have most Americans holding their sides. In a White House where the truth is not what actually happened but what sells, some sharper merchandisers should realize that the shelf life on that one has expired.

Looking toward the rest of the day, one wants to know for sure if the factory in Sudan really was cooking up gas and Extra Strength Tylenol. The Brit broadsheets yesterday said they were making medicine for camels as well. Humm. Perhaps a page on a bombing memo at the National Security Council was left in the Xerox machine. This story makes me hunger for Peter Arnett–where are you Peter? You should be standing there kicking little plastic bottles around and muttering “innocent civilians were hurt.”

And, as this stultifying late August day drones on we might get more details on Drudge’s over the weekend shocker about Clinton’s fondness for cigars but I won’t go there. Not yet.

All the majors recap yesterday’s shows. The highlights being Virtuecrat Bill “He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother” Bennett giving a thorough hosing to Congressman John Conyers then having to reserve the use of the word “felon” as applied to Clinton. My personal favorite: Madeleine Albright refusing to answer Cokie’s pointed questions about the President’s truthfulness. Stiffening her beautifully made-up face into an “eat-your-peas” crunch, Madame Secretary simply said she didn’t want to talk about it anymore. This is probably not a question for you, but you might as the next ten women you speak to: Has anyone noticed Albright’s incredible jewelry? The necklaces, broaches, earrings and bracelets are not your basic shopping network jingle-jangle but the real deal. I wonder if a State Department aide flies around with her in those bucket seat, windowless planes with that stuff in a big box like Queen Elizabeth with her hats.

Locally, we have a major political catfight going (I know this is chick-stuff but, hey, this whole year of news has been chick-stuff). WCBS television star Marcia Kramer jumped ugly with Senatorial candidate and former you-know-what Geraldine Ferraro on Marcia’s TV show on Sunday needling Geraldine about ducking debates with her opponents. Geraldine got extremely snappy on the air, which gave the news outlets a chance to smack Geraldine around. Geraldine is relying heavily, in her campaign, on people remembering she was the Veep candidate with Walter Mondale. If no one remembers Walter Mondale why would they remember her? A little political trivia-ette for you. Marcia Kramer was the reporter who got Clinton to say he didn’t inhale. Ben Jones (former Democrat Congressmen and Clinton detractor) has a wonderful line when he says he is not one to pick on anyone’s past as he was a guy who “never exhaled.”

I’m moving into my media filled day now looking for those tiny, mean-spirited events that alter and illuminate our lives.

Your new VRWC pal,