The Breakfast Table

The Status Quo As Usual

I didn’t see the Broaddrick broadcast because I shun slick, ratings-driven television reporting in favor of really lengthy serious articles in the print media that get ink all over my hands and have no illustrations, backed up by good old-fashioned shoe leather, even if it involves my personally walking to a state that’s lucky to have any electoral votes at all and banging on people’s doors, truculently demanding the truth in a Brit-Hume-like manner, heedless of the damage I’m doing to my Manolo Blahniks, and in the summer months, my pedicure. Or maybe it was because I went to see Rushmore and taped the Grammys. One or the other. With sexual assault allegations, I almost always believe that some version of what the woman says happened did happen, because she almost always has more to lose than to gain by the assertion. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have so carefully hedged that statement all around with almosts, and I guess I view it as progress of a kind that the vocabulary of abuse is now widely enough accepted to be sometimes exploited. But mostly, I have questions less about the truth than the meaning of the event. You know? I could direct my womany-set-tinged gaze at that Marv Albert thing until my face froze in a vacant lull look, and regardless of my wish for everything to demonstrate the rightness of my beliefs concerning gender’s relationship to power, it would still look like a gray area. I hate that. If what Juanita Broaddrick says happened did happen, what would be depressing is that Clinton’s behavior wouldn’t have been that deviant, as you say in a different way. It’s not like anyone is accusing him of wearing women’s underwear, or something really gross like that.

Reading William Safire waxing nostalgic for the days when presidents stayed up all night cramming for press conferences in which they took on all comers, I felt that if I were a character in a comic strip, I would have big question marks and exclamation points all around my head, especially when he got to the part about Nixon’s weekly radio addresses. Isn’t a prepared radio address the opposite of an unpredictably wide-ranging press conference? Wasn’t avoiding press conferences of any kind a key feature of Nixon’s re-election strategy?

I would rather have a drink with Al D’Amato than have to hear that Goo Goo Dolls song from the soundtrack of City of Angels anymore, ever.