Politics & Policy

The Testifying Life; a Minor Clarification; Washington’s Funniest


Yesterday, my mother and I testified before the Maryland grand jury investigating Linda Tripp. We cooperated fully. We answered all questions. We invoked no privileges. When speaking to the press we complimented the prosecutor and his staff for their professionalism and courtesy. Oh, yeah. We didn’t even bring a lawyer.

Now, imagine how a Clintonite might have spent the day differently. Draped in lawyers, I could have taken the Fifth or invoked privileges as a journalist. My mother could have fought the subpoena for months. Monica Lewinsky’s mother was called before the Starr grand jury and the caterwauling about the injustice of it was louder than an anti-America protest in downtown Baghdad. My mother and I left the courthouse joking around with the State Troopers, we answered all of the press’s questions and then had a nice lunch.

This investigation of Linda Tripp is politically motivated, by definition. A few dozen Democratic lawmakers in Maryland demanded that Tripp be prosecuted. That in itself provides far, far more evidence of a politicized taint than anything about Ken Starr’s appointment by the three-judge panel. And yet, this doesn’t mean that Maryland State Attorney Stephen Montanarelli isn’t simply doing the job he was assigned. But we could have beaten the tar out of the guy in front of the cameras, something the press was drooling for. Instead the only headline to come out of yesterday’s session was, Lucianne Goldberg Takes the Blame. Does anybody remember a Clintonite taking the heat? Not only did Clinton do no wrong for eight months, but neither did anyone else. To paraphrase Shakespeare, the only fault lay in Ken Starr, not in themselves. I was asked numerous questions about my conversations with Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff, and yet I didn’t leave the courthouse, a la Sid Blumenthal and declare I never thought in America I would be interrogated about my contacts with media. Of course, according to the Starr report, his remarks on the courthouse steps were a self-aggrandizing concatenation of lies and misrepresentations, but that goes to the larger point. The Clinton people have contempt for the law and those who are sworn to uphold it. They are without remorse when it comes to lying to the public about false outrages if it will gain them the slightest advantage in the media or the polls. The only pain they feel is political and thus they think any thing that hurts them must be politically motivated and politically attacked in return. Thus, they sought to destroy Ken Starr as if he was just another poor schlub who dared run against them. What they really did was mount a deliberate, deceitful campaign against the rule of law and the truth.

I don’t feel I deserve any praise for doing what I believed to be the right thing. But after spending a day with my mother testifying under oath because a victim of the Clinton administration is in trouble, I do feel somewhat renewed in my outrage at those who deliberately did the wrong thing.


In today’s article about the Maryland grand jury, I am quoted out of context as describing myself as the “cute little boy sidekick of the vast right-wing conspirator.” Now those words did in fact come out of my mouth, but sarcastically. I was attempting to make a larger point about the media’s often condescending attitude towards me. I rarely say anything without irony. I would not have said that seriously because I know the kind of grief my friends would give me about it. Too late.


Full disclosure: I’m a bit envious I wasn’t asked to compete. Nevertheless, after reading about the “Funniest Celebrity in Washington” contest in yesterday’s Hotline and today’s Washington Post, I’ve got to wonder what some of these people were thinking.

First, one contestant, Norah O’Donnell of Roll Call and every MSNBC show on record apparently bombed — I have independently confirmed these reports. The Hotline is merciful by pointing out that Norah — a friend of mine — is very good looking. She is. But which organizer, looking for an amateur yuck-meister said, “Get me Norah O’Donnell!” in the first place? Norah has a great future as a Stepford Pundit, but Shecky O’Donnell she ain’t. Will they invite Fred Barnes for a hip-hop rap-fest next? She’s bright — especially when compared to some of her MSNBC colleagues — like chat room czar Omar Waskow, who reminds me of that alien from the “Predator” movies and is about as intelligible. I shouldn’t be too hard on him, Wascow has very important hair. Apparently, Kellyanne Fitzpatrick — another friend from the green room circuit — showed her underwear as part of her routine. Kellyanne knows how to lead with her strengths. Norman Ornstein who I know from my years at the American Enterprise Institute came in at third funniest, but most discussed. Ornstein is immensely popular in Washington, and he is genuinely funny. Hotline mysteriously calls Norm — a process over politics pro-Clinton academic — a conservative. His conservatism has certainly been infected by his Clintonism, because he apparently spilled the beans about his private life in a big way. His wife thinks oral sex is adultery: ‘That probably explains why we haven’t had any.’ Norm came in third, Newsweek’s Matt Cooper came in first. But it is the guy who came in second I find the most shocking. Former Lewinsky lawyer Bill Ginsberg got up and did anti-Tripp and Starr humor, to clearly positive reviews. His kicker: They should provide a picture of Linda Tripp with all prescriptions of viagra — to prevent people from overdosing. Buh- dum-bum!

The obvious retort is they could do the same with his picture on packages of halcyon. Months ago, after one of the occasions when he attacked my mother, I said on some TV show that Bill Ginsberg had a million monkeys banging on typewriters in his head, so you never know what might come out of his mouth. The next day he was asked to respond. He said deadpan to the cameras, “Jonah, the monkeys are asleep right now.”


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