Chatterbox is flabbergasted that members of the Senate are advising President Clinton to postpone his State of the Union address. On Meet the Press, Republican Sen. Slade Gorton said it would be “unseemly and distracting” for Clinton to give the speech as scheduled this month, and Sen. Robert Torricelli, a Democrat, said, “It’s inappropriate to report on the State of the Union as long as the president is under impeachment, because the state of the union from the perspective of his administration is unclear.” Republican Sen. Phil Gramm, who also appeared on the program, said the president should submit his address in writing rather than deliver it in person.

Chatterbox isn’t going to deny that the juxtaposition of a Senate impeachment trial and a presidential State of the Union address is a little weird. But the timing of the Senate trial is hardly Clinton’s fault. (It’s practically the only thing in this whole cheesy psychodrama that isn’t Clinton’s fault.) And what is so offensive about a sitting president wanting to perform his duties? Just a few weeks ago respectable Washington was saying, rather sensibly it seemed to Chatterbox, that impeachment was unwise because it would get in the way of governance. Now respectable Washington is saying, absurdly, that governance is unwise because it is getting in the way of impeachment.

–Timothy Noah