Disinfect This

Chatterbox’s capacity to be titillated or shocked by President Clinton’s sexual antics is by now pretty much exhausted. Even the introduction of livestock probably wouldn’t add much to Chatterbox’s mental image of White House recreation. With regard to Clinton’s reputation, the House Judiciary committee’s decision to make public additional documents and video on Monday will surely serve only to “make the rubble bounce,” to borrow Winston Churchill’s famous phrase about redundant nuclear weaponry. So Chatterbox sides with all those high-minded people who say the release of this data is blatantly political and entirely gratuitous.

But now that the information is to be released, how on earth can the House Judiciary Committee keep secret its own deliberations over this matter? (The roll call votes are being released, but that’s all.) Chatterbox’s new hero is committee member Robert Scott (D., Va.), who said on CNN that he introduced a resolution to make a transcript of the deliberations public, “so people will know what the discussion was that resulted in this level of detail being made public.” The resolution, of course, failed. If you agree that this is an outrage, call Rep. Henry Hyde’s office and demand that the transcript be released immediately. The number to call is 202-225-4561. Tell ‘em Chatterbox sent ya.

Chatterbox correction: Chatterbox wandered into a bookstore yesterday and discovered that the Prima paperback edition of the Starr report is not, as this column previously reported, an itty-bitty mass-market paperback. It’s a nice big trade paperback. Chatterbox, who hadn’t managed to find a bookstore copy before he wrote his consumer’s guide earlier this week, made the mistake of believing Prima’s flak, who apparently didn’t know what she was talking about. The Prima edition’s other shortcomings (no introduction, no rebuttal from the White House) still make it place last in Chatterbox’s roundup (after the Washington Post and Pocket Books editions). But perhaps “a distant third” was too harsh.

Timothy Noah