Free Sid

Chatterbox is feeling insulted that the House managers didn’t call him to be one of their three witnesses in the Clinton impeachment trial. Shortly after the Flytrap scandal broke, President Clinton wagged his finger at Chatterbox (and, okay, several million other members of the TV-watching public) and insisted he did not have sex with Monica Lewinsky. Chatterbox feels sure that Clinton did this because he knew that he, Chatterbox, would pass this lie onto the Flytrap grand jurors. As it happens, the grand jury called a neighbor of Chatterbox’s who has precisely the same quantity of first-hand knowledge about Clinton’s Oval Office gymnastics: White House aide Sidney Blumenthal.

The question everybody in Washington is asking today is: Why Sid? If you were conducting an inquiry and wanted to find out what actually happened, would you call an ex-journalist to whom the president (possibly from longstanding habit) told an outrageous whopper? Of course not. You’d call Betty Currie. On the other hand, if you were conducting an inquiry and wanted to maximize its grandstanding potential, you wouldn’t slap around Currie, a much-pitied national symbol of the humiliating things that bad bosses force their secretaries to do. You would slap around Sid Blumenthal, who is widely mocked and despised for the zeal with which he defends his boss.

–Timothy Noah