SUNDAY’S NEW YORK TIMES
says the Monica mess appears to have “blurred the boundaries between mainstream and tabloid news.” Blurred? The lines have actually crossed in at least one instance. Time magazine semi-unflinchingly reported that Lewinsky said she could be “Special Assistant to the President for b___ j___.” The supermarket tabloid Star was actually more decorous, describing Lewinsky’s fantasy job title as “Special assistant to the president for (oral sex).” Even that was too much for the hoity-toity tabloid Globe, which said only that “Monica joked about her alleged romance by saying that she was ‘special assistant to the president.’” That Monica! ….
WITH MONICA WOBBLING SLOWLY IN THE WIND, the Kathleen Willey incident may now assume more importance. Do people realize just how creepy Clinton’s behavior was, if the worst reported details of Willey’s testimony are true? Here is a woman whose husband has been caught misappropriating funds, who must find a way to repay $274,000 within days. She’s desperate (indeed, her husband would commit suicide before the deadline). She needs a job. She goes to see the president, who at this moment of temporary advantage takes her into a side room and gropes her breast and puts her hand on his genitals, saying he “always wanted” to do that. If true, this is not a consensual affair with Gennifer Flowers, or even a tryst with an employee like Monica Lewinsky. This is casting-couch piggishness of a sort that would make Bob Packwood blanch. …
WHAT IF CLINTON manages to survive? Consider the psychological effects on three groups of Washington characters:
1) The Right Wing Conspirators: They thought they had him, but he slipped away again. Contempt for the electorate (and democracy) among this group will skyrocket. Some already seem practically ready to pick up the gun and join militias.
2) The Media Elite: Scan the talk shows. Who among the commentariat actually believes Clinton? Practically nobody. The Punditburo has reached its decision, but viewers don’t want to hear it. The same goes for your average inside-the-Beltway political reporters. Nearly all of them think Clinton is blatantly lying, but they are constrained by popular demand and the additional strictures of “objectivity.” The inevitable result? The press will take it out on Clinton in other ways, on more permissable, more substantive topics. If, say, his Medicare numbers don’t add up, expect him to be roasted for it with a ferocity explicable only by reporters’ frustration over what they perceive as the Big Lie about sex.
3) The Clintonistas: The most intriguing case. They may or may not believe the Big Lie, but they can never admit it in public. Maybe they can’t admit it even to themselves. Just as old lefties could never concede that Alger Hiss was guilty and Kennedy hands must keep downplaying evidence of JFK’s recklessness, they’ll keep on spouting the spin. Further study will be required on the long-term psychological impact of this denial, a condition known clinically as Sorenseniasis. Sidney Blumenthal and Paul Begala, this means you! …
Chatterbox always wanted to do that.