Politics & Policy

Defining Texts; Goodbye


There are fewer and fewer rhetorical tools left at the disposal of Clinton’s defenders. Legal hairsplitting that can only be evaluated with the tools of quantum physics will only take you so far. One defense that, alas, does have salience is that the polls are still supporting the President. The people, with whom I confess I am greatly disappointed, still think this guy is a keeper. This is a serious problem for the House (Bully-boy Mario Cuomo last night on Larry King Live: “The whole House of Representatives is designed to speak for the people. And so when they take polls…they [are] there particularly to measure public opinion. Public opinion here is clearly against impeachment.”) Unlike the Senate which was intended by the framers to be the “cooling pot” for seething political passions, the House is designed to reflect more directly the views of the people. But let’s remember they are not empty vessels for our fleeting opinions either. Representatives are elected for theirjudgment too. If they aren’t, then why elect them at all? Let’s just phone in our votes. Nevertheless, the Left, always more comfortable with the notion of direct democracy (shudder) will invoke the polls like divine text–until they change.

The Right has its own texts as well–and they should be referred to. The touchstone document for conservatives is Edmund Burke’s speech to the Elders of Bristol (not to be confused with his Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol). Burke, the Father of Modern Conservatism, represented Bristol in the House of Commons. Upon his election, he let his constituents know that he would be no mere lackey to their views: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

If Congressmen believe the President should be impeached, but refuse to because of the polls, then they have betrayed their oath and their honor.


Al Goldstein, repugnant pornographer (he publishes Screw Magazine) and would-be political radical, has announced he will publish the “Illustrated Starr Report.” This will entail depicting real nude “models” in re-enacted Presidential situations. Goldstein will then paste on the faces of Ms. Lewinsky and Mr. Clinton.

This endeavor may be the first taste of a tectonic shift in the sexual landscape ushered by the President. This morning’s Washington Post (“Style” section) features the most titillating phrases from the Starr Report. Barry Toiv complained that Monica was getting too much “Face Time.” Betty Currie introduced Lewinsky into the Oval Office by saying “Sir, the girl is here with the Pizza.”

This conjures up all sorts of scenarios for a new theme of a porn movie. In the past (so I’m told) many scenes begin with such prosaic phrases as, “Excuse me Miss, I was told there was a problem with your plumbing.” Or “I’m here to fix the cable.”

The number of oral office Triple X titles seems limitless: “Seven Lays in May,” “Shag the Dog,” “Campaigning for Re-Erection,” “Intern(al) Affairs” or “Sperms of Impeachment.”

Besides, the script’s already been written “Sir, the girl is here with the pizza.”


Poor Bill Bennett. He went on Larry King last night expecting to have an adult and morally serious conversation. Instead he had to talk to Mario Cuomo. The former Governor and rumored intellectual exhibited the sort of amoral sophistry that wooed crowds of sycophantic machine Democrats for years. He trusts the President to be a good president, but he wouldn’t trust him to”take out my sister.” Gosh, that’s clever.

The quintessential “San Francisco Democrat” renowned for moralizing his way through life boiled down his pro-Clinton argument to the dictates of Wall Street: “If he stays in office, that’s good for the market. . . .He is good for America. He has proven it.” Funny, I thought this was the guy who bemoaned the go-go Reagan years as the age of greed and neglect. The market loved Reagan too, Mario.

Mr. Bennett was excellent, but perhaps too diplomatic. Next time he should remember the axiom, “Diplomacy is the art of saying ‘nice doggie’ until you can find a rock.”


Laura Ingraham has a new show curiously called Watch It!, following Imus on MSNBC (9:00 A.M. EST). As we approach the new millennium, when we will all get a TV show for fifteen minutes, other program titles come to mind. What’s Wrong with These People? with Bill Bennett, I Don’t Wanna Know with Mike McCurry and, of course, Sid Blumethal’s ‘Ask Satan.’


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