In sitting down to write about the scandals coming out of the Best Little White House in Washington, I keep hearing a voice inside my head saying, "If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you?" (What else the voices say is none of your business. They don't like you, though, I'll tell you that.) Well, yes, I would. If everyone else jumped off a cliff, who would make the cappuccino? Replace my alternator? Draw "The Simpsons"? Clean up that big stinkin' mess under the cliff? Plus, I don't know how to make Doritos. Do you know how to make Doritos?
So, I'm following everyone over the cliff, albeit a little late (cushier fall that way), and writing about Bill Clinton. Despite the posturing about whether Clinton lied under oath, the sex is the only thing anyone really cares about, so that's all we'll discuss.
But it's not just sex. It's sex with Bill Clinton. Nobody cared about George Bush's alleged affair because he was a creepy adenoidal coot with a wife who looked like she placed third in the Boswell-Johnson lookalike contest. Who would want to hear about that saggy, papery flesh pressing up against anything? Clinton is powerful, sexy and charismatic. Cripes, John Travolta is done up to play Clinton in the upcoming movie "Primary Colors" and there isn't a more sexy, not-much-older man than that. If they made a movie about Bush, they'd have to shave a ferret and make it wear little glasses. And the entire nation would plug its ears and scream "Mary Had a Little Lamb" if the airwaves were filling up with news about the diddlings of Bob Dole.
And we're not just talking about Bill Clinton. There's also Monica Lewinsky. She, too, is sexy. The reason Paula Jones didn't cause broadcastus interruptus is because, let's face it, she's ugly enough to scare a buzzard off a carcass. She got a makeover, but they made the mistake of leaving her head on. Monica Lewinsky may be pretty in a Junior League, Gayfers Teen Board kinda way, but she's still a head-turner, and that makes the story a page turner.
Personally, I'd rather have a president who was having good sex with whatever was handy than one who was unsatisfied or going without altogether. Put it this way: If you had an exam being graded, would you want that teacher to be fasting, dieting on Slim Fast, or dripping melted Dove Bar on your blue book? Duh. People who have their physical needs met are calmer. Better to have a cooler head making serious decisions than a corked-up hair trigger who just might snap and launch us into a war with Andorra or someplace. I once heard sex described as a misdemeanor, because da more you miss, da meaner you get. Why do you think everyone is so scared of nuns?
The alleged infidelity isn't the problem. All infidelity is just a symptom. The problem is marriage. Plato knew that married people are prone to nepotism and that only a single person, with no interest but the state, could run the state effectively. We, however, seem to demand a spouse from our public officials even though, as Elvis sang, some people just are "not the marrying kind"; requiring them to get hitched is like confining Julia Child to an E-Z Bake Oven. Why, when the range of possibilities is so much greater?
Besides, while sex partners come and go, and may be as interchangeable as Legos, a good ally is forever. The Clintons have endured more sieges in six years than most couples do in six lifetimes, and their come-hell-or-Whitewater loyalty to each other is exemplary.
And it could still be a plot, totally void of fact. After days of Chicken Littling, everyone has laid the ground but no one has grounded the lay. Kenneth Starr, on the brink of becoming an historical footnote as The Witchfinder General, has turned up nothing on the most-watched man in the world after spending six years and $30 million of our resources. Give me that kind of carte blanche and I could find hard dirt on the Virgin Mary.
But Starr's got nothing and, in the time it took to start and finish writing this column, the story was all but over because the judge in the Paula Jones case had decided that Lewinsky's testimony won't be admitted after all. So much for Lewinsky's immunity from prosecution, which, as far as I can tell, she doesn't even need anymore.
But immunity from persecution isn't in Clinton's contract, so he continues to run the country, propped up by a public that, in poll after poll, seems to think of this as something that belongs between the Clintons, and sees the press reacting like a bunch of bored, gossiping housewives, turning the matter into a game of "Telephone" with larger implications.
At least that's my view. And it looks pretty clear, even from the bottom of the cliff.