The Breakfast Table

Soiled Sombreros and Br’er Rabbit

Dear Jonathan,

I feel kind of silly sitting around in my housecoat with rollers in my hair (Do women still use rollers to curl their hair? Probably not) in midafternoon. But such are the requirements of Slate ‘s Breakfast Table (which we intend to enforce more strictly on other participants in the future).

How could I ignore the Mexican midget? As a (5’$2 2”) member in good standing of the American Association of the Height-Challenged (I think my former boss, Meg Greenfield, was the founder of this august body), I am naturally sensitive to sizeist discrimination on all fronts. Having said that for the record, let me agree–if the man needed and wanted the job, what’s the problem?–except with the sombrero. Have you ever tried to clean salsa out of a sombrero? This is a concern only a mother would be fully sensitive to.

Your story about the bully who got his comeuppance warms my heart. I don’t remember being physically threatened by anyone in my youth–except maybe a guy who used to hold me by my feet and dangle me over rock cliffs on the island where we summered. Come to think of it, his life has been no bed of roses. Maybe there is a providence that shapes our ends. (Case in point: I was pleased to see in this morning’s New York Times that Thomas Capano, that philandering braggart of a Delaware lawyer who killed one of his many mistresses and had his brother dump her body in the sea, got convicted of first-degree murder.)

I would be delighted to skip the posturing about the Clinton scandal. Of course it’s interesting. (Though like thousands of other area residents I was far more preoccupied with ice storms than impeachments over the weekend. Ain’t heat and light grand?) My latest annoyance is columnists and commentators complaining that the Senate trial is dull. Of course it’s tedious and repetitive but real life trials aren’t made for TV (O.J. excepted). The prosecution and the defense have to go over and over the same ground in order to discuss its relevance to different facets of the case. If you want dull, try sitting through three days of the Microsoft anti-trust trial.

Seems to me though, that once again the Republicans are about to fall into a trap of their own making. Looks like the House prosecutors have probably convinced enough Republicans plus some Democrats to get a majority vote to call witnesses. But what good are the likely witnesses–Betty Currie, Sid Blumenthal, John Podesta, even Monica herself–going to do them? They can’t change or even significantly embellish the stories they told Starr’s grand jury or they could be charged with perjury. And they are all Clinton pals–including Monica, who, after all, loved the Creep and whose parents are big Democratic supporters. And who knows who the Democrats might dredge up? I can’t help but suspect that there is a bit of Br’er Rabbit’s briar patch in the White House’s protestations against having witnesses.

So what else is new?