Make Love Not War

The hidden cost of Flytrap.

The true irresponsibility of Kenneth Starr and the Republicans in Congress who turned an innocent affair into a national crisis is only now becoming clear. Yes, our 13 month distraction is now over, and the media can return to discussing education reform and Social Security as they claim to prefer. Yes, Bill Clinton was not evicted from office. But that doesn’t mean our long national nightmare is over. In fact, it is just beginning.

Already there are hints of the trouble ahead. In the past year, our former-peacenik president has launched missile attacks on Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein at the oddest of times. The surest-footed politician of our era held a crass partisan pep rally smack in the middle of the impeachment process. And on the eve of his acquittal in the Senate, he allegedly let slip that his next major policy initiative is retaliating against impeachment foes. The White House strongly denies the last item. But let’s face it: It fits a pattern.

Despite the indignant denials of the president’s pursuers, we’re about to discover that Flytrap is indeed about sex. Or at least that the post-Flytrap era is going to be about lack of sex. Now that it’s permissible to talk about such matters, some big questions arise: With whom is the president having sexual relations? (Or, to use Clinton’s brilliant euphemism, “not having sexual relations.”) When was the last time? Is he getting any at all?

This is serious stuff. The president, a k a “the most powerful man in the world,” (and this one is known for his large appetite, to boot) has been collared. Charismatic, suffused with Henry Kissinger’s ultimate aphrodisiac, and looking fitter than ever, our president nevertheless faces odds of scoring that have to be slimmer than Beavis’ or Butt-Head’s.

Consider the obvious. Hillary. Long-suffering, yes. But a return to the crime scene any time soon? Doubtful. Out of respect for the first lady, enough said. Any other candidates? Equally doubtful. With all eyes on the president, both inside and outside the White House, where is there even a trysting place, now that the Oval Office has been discovered? And would Clinton, hanging so tenuously to his legacy, risk what’s left by working back channels with the Secret Service to bring in concupiscent conscripts while Hillary’s out of town? Well, one hesitates to say with certainty that this particular president ever learns from experience on this particular subject, but surely, surely, at this point … after all that’s happened … knowing what’s at stake. Well, I guess the most we can say is: probably not.

So, outside of some safe phone sex, it’s a reasonable bet to conclude that the most powerful man in the world has to be, well, testy. And if so, that sure explains a lot. Missile strikes against his enemies. Hello, Dr. Freud. James Carville, his personified id, declaring war on political foes. This isn’t rational behavior. It’s more befitting a hormonally unbalanced teenager who is acting out.

T his is very different from the Wag the Dog hypothesis. The president isn’t engaging in military action to distract public attention from his sexual activity. He’s engaging in military action to distract himself from his lack of sexual activity.

And the notion of a hormonally unbalanced national leader, with the world’s most powerful arsenal and fighting forces at his command, is profoundly frightening.

What to do? First, as a nation, we must accept that our very human and virile president has very human and virile needs that aren’t being met. Denial is not an option. Believe me, I’ve run this by a high-school “health education” teacher. Second, rechanneling this energy has its limits. Clinton can save Social Security, protect the environment, improve public schooling, and help elect Al Gore but, at the end of the day, the problem hasn’t gone away.

Third, we need to cut the president some slack. If the first lady’s job description no longer includes being first, then let’s lobby to create a new post, the last lady–or the latest lady. Unconstitutional? Then how about more conventional remedies? Road trips. Prostitution is legal in Vegas. Or how about offshore R & R? Visit Subic Bay Naval station, rally the troops, or salute their memory, whatever, as long as there’s time for off-base socializing.

One way or another, the president’s needs must be ministered to (to borrow another terrific Flytrap euphemism). We will all sleep better at night knowing that our commander in chief’s libido is compartmentalized, and that he’s not bombing Sudanese pharmaceutical plants just to get his Iraqs off.