"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 20 August 1998. Updated every WEEKDAY.
Hit & Run CXLV


[bishop's backpack]

If we wanted an honest president

we wouldn't have voted for Bill

Clinton. We were counting on one

last finesse, a sort of

Clintonian ultrafib that would

allow the President to pull

another Houdini (or at least

Whodini) and skate away while

the commentators stood around

puzzling, and l'affaire went back

into the usual twitchy

remission. So, while we wouldn't

trade Monday's spectacle for

anything, the event has to

measure as a Mighty Casey

strikeout. Because what could be

more depressingly un-American

than watching the man with more

moves than Fred Astaire finally

have to buckle down and tell the

truth? Granted, the abject

apology that somehow embarrasses

you more than it does him has

also been a longtime Clinton

standby -- all the way back to

his Arkansas days. But let's

face it, the creative thinking

is what we hired him for. Bill

Clinton is our imaginary friend.

We're still hoping he may have

pulled some lovely fabrications

in his grand jury testimony, but

in the absence of the actual

transcript, we can only hope.

Meanwhile, we'll take refuge in

the one thing we know for

certain -- that an hour after he

finished his address, the First

Recidivist was getting knobbed

under his Oval Office desk by

some brand new intern. We'll

just call her "that woman" for




Only one question remains: Is it

"spinmaster" or "spinmeister" or both?

Or is it just "putz"?


[packing in steaks]

In spite of their

carrot-and-stick qualities,

public polls have long been the

radioactive fuel of the Ship of

State. So it should come as

little surprise that Clinton and

everyone who gets paid to talk

about him have been so greased

up for a populist orgy of giving

the people what they allegedly

want. That also explains their

reluctance to say anything

conclusive about Monday's

extraordinary events before some

numbers started dribbling in.

CNN was well ahead of the curve

on its estimable Web site, with

one of its insidious "quick



If Ken Starr reports to
Congress that evidence shows
President Clinton encouraged
Monica Lewinsky to lie, should
impeachment hearings be opened?


View Results


More intriguing, though, was an

adjacent but apparently

unrelated "quick vote" which

garnered a 50 percent spike in

respondents within hours of

Clinton's address:


Would you take a nude cruise
if your partner said it
was his/her dream vacation?

Only if there were no photos

View Results


We can't help wondering why CNN

didn't conflate the two and ask

whether nude impeachment

hearings should be opened on a

cruise ship? Then again, the

prospect of endless analysis by

a buck-naked Mark Shields and a

bare-assed Cokie Roberts can

only make us say, "Baby got



[warm sleeping well]

Indeed, if Joe Klein is planning

a fictionalization of this

week's events, let's hope he

spares us any resemblance to

persons living or dead. Monday

night's parade of grotesques

provided the most compelling

proof that politics is show

business for ugly people. Dan

Rather was either drunk, or he's

had a stroke, Barney Frank

looked like an openly overweight

congressman, George

Stephanopoulis had obviously

been ridden hard and put away

wet, and the sight of Sam

Donaldson referring to "a sexual

relationship" brought on a

mental image of Farmer Sam

merrily humping Monica that made

us break out in screaming fits

throughout the night. David

Gergen's wan mug doesn't seem to

have seen the light of day since

infancy, while the too-fresh

head of Orrin Hatch wedged into

the ample cleavage of a

mountainous Salt Lake City

backdrop made us wish we'd never

seen the light of day ourselves.

Clinton was so bad he made

Travolta look good. Hell, he

made Walter Mondale look good.

And the omnipresent congressman

Bill McCollum (isn't he the Man

from U.N.C.L.E.?) is so

hypnotically ugly our picture

tube finally failed. No, the sad

truth of the matter is that the

only person in the whole charade

who doesn't have a face for

radio is Monica. And even if

that only proves what magic a

Vanity Fair makeover can do, it

wasn't lost on the experts at

Tommy Hilfiger. In a moment of

synergy that would make Tina

Brown proud, the modish designer

launched an ad campaign in VF's

September issue that features a

dirty blond supermodel (if

that's not redundant) lounging

on the presidential desk, then

waiting expectantly on her knees

on the Oval Office carpet. While

Tommy has hired someone to do

the ridiculous job of denying

any resemblance to real persons

or events, he's playing the

patsy. "This campaign showcases

the optimistic spirit and energy

of classic Americanism," he said

in a press release. "We wanted

to use as a theme what the White

House represents to the American

people -- a symbol of hope."

Obviously Tommy thinks America's

highest aspiration is an

unforgettable blow job. And

judging from the wealth of

shameless talking heads who

would normally be candidates for

the paper bag, he's right.


[other people taking the effort to figure out the tabulature to your favorite tunes]

Our Favorite Salon TableTalk

Clinton Threads:


[wine at noon]

Of course, it was Penn Jillette

who summed up everybody's

highest aspirations for the

week. "I'm open for suicide on

live TV," the imposing magician

said just before the President's

drawer-dropping. "I'm hoping for

it. I'm hoping he just says, 'I

can't live with myself any

more.' - .44 magnum - boom!

And we get to see - we get to

see, you know - wouldn't that be

cool? I mean, whatever side

you're on, wouldn't that be

boss?" In some sense, that's

just what Clinton did. But not

quite. So while others present

cogent points and trenchant

counterpoints, congratulate

themselves on their Euro-style

sophistication or offer plain

talk on What We Should Tell the

Children, fulminate that the

President is evil or possessed or just

plain nuts, our job at Suck is

to provide perspective. Monday's

address was another gem of

shared TV experience - to be

socked away with Reagan shot,

Jimmy the Greek's origin of

species, Reginald Denny, the

body-armor shootout, and Bud

Dwyer - but that doesn't mean

Monicagate is behind us, or that

anybody really wants it to be.

We remember the Bronco chase all

too well to ever again say, "Now

we've seen everything." This

tale has a few plot points left.

And that thought alone is enough

for us to thank God for making

us Americans.

courtesy of the Sucksters