ARTFUL DODGERS I think I’m going to ask David Schippers to be godfather to my children. He has that perfect mix of street cop and Wilford Brimley. (Alas, I have no children that I know of and the various restraining orders prevent me from asking the relevant women about them).
For three days, if not ten months, the Democrats employed a brilliant strategy of taking each allegation against the President and dissecting it out of context. Abbe Lowell surgically excised each constituent part from the body of Clinton’s offenses and put it on a cold steel slab to be analyzed under a microscope. This process, as Schippers pointed out, is a classic defense-lawyer tactic. You cut off the pinky and hold it up and say, ladies and gentleman this pinky doesn’t warrant such extreme punishment, does it? “No, no, of course not. Innocent pinky, gooooood pinky.”
Well then, ladies and gentlemen, what about this baby toe? Is this baby toe really so terrible as to warrant impeachment?
“No, nice baby toe. That baby toe looks like my baby toe. He who is without baby toes may cast the first stone.”
And so on. Mr. Schippers revised the autopsy and sewed everything back together. Stitches and all, it is hard not to recognize the creature for what it is.
INTRO TO SMEAR JOBS 101 In Washington there is a common practice called “burrowing in.” At the end of each Presidential Administration, political appointees see the twilight and decide to become civil-service employees before the sun goes down on their jobs. Once they have burrowed into the federal bureaucracy, it is virtually impossible to fire them.
This fact of Washington life now has a new parallel in the age of permanent scandal and 24-hour television screaming. Spinners and spokesmen too can get cushy gigs when their primary utility as newsmakers has ebbed. For example, Lanny Davis is now an MSNBC legal analyst. I’m not faulting the man. Good for him. If I could get some phat contract to bloviate every day on TV, I’d probably take it too. Nevertheless that doesn’t mean Clinton’s indefatigable apologist is no longer above comment.
A case in point. Yesterday, David Schippers denounced the President’s willingness to brand Monica Lewinsky a stalker. He read from news reports from inside the White House that a debate was raging about whether — or how — to attack Monica Lewinsky. He cited chapter and verse several of the White House’s leaks to the press about the deranged stalker who was the President’s accuser. Lanny Davis called this absolutely outrageous and irresponsible (or words very close to that effect). He was outraged that Schippers would use media reports against the President. Lanny shouldn’t tamp his crack pipe so much. What is he talking about? First, the bulk of the White House assault on Ken Starr has been culled from the pages of Time magazine and the Washington Post. Lanny Davis himself has echoed and praised these assaults daily. I have been on television shows with him when he raged about these leaks, his only proof being what he read in the morning papers. Mr. Davis is renowned for leaking to the press anonymously. He mastered the art when he was in the White House and he teaches seminars on it as a college professor. Now, when similar leaks are used as actual evidence against the President he is scandalized.
On the merits, Mr. Schippers was making a point about how the White House was willing to smear their inconvenient accuser. If the White House and its defenders are upset by this allegation then they should take their own advice. They want Starr to release reporters from their obligation to protect the confidentiality of their sources. Let’s have the White House en masse release the press from their similar obligations. Let’s see what Sid Blumenthal et al. said about Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, and, yes, my mother. I’ve heard from reporters who have talked to White House staff. And, from what I hear, Schippers was on the mark.
DEFRAUDER IN THE COURT Another thing that has enraged the White House about Schippers’s presentation was the use of the videotape from the Paula Jones deposition. On the tape, Mr. Clinton can be seen paying very close attention to the proceedings, especially when Bob Bennett reads the contents of Monica Lewinsky’s false affidavit, even though he testified that he had been oblivious.
White House lawyers say this tape was not available to the President’s lawyers and therefore amounted to “unfair surprise” when used in Schippers’s final summation. This is about as disingenuous as you can get. First, Democratic lawyer Abbe Lowell used it to dramatic effect in his summation as well. But more importantly, David Kendall watched that tape immediately prior to Bill Clinton’s grand jury testimony. It was in that grand jury testimony that Bill Clinton said he wasn’t paying attention when the court was defrauded. Leaving alone the fact that Bill Clinton obviously remembered what actually happened, David Kendall saw the tape. Judge Wright allowed Kendall to watch the tape so he could help his client prepare. In offering their defense to Congress, including the White House’s 81 answers, apparently Mr. Kendall never thought the President’s “recollections” about the affidavit warranted revision.
PAYBACK TIME Now, for the corrections. Yesterday I misspelled Blowfeld. Actually, I spelled Blowfeld correctly, it’s just that Blowfeld doesn’t mean anything. The correct spelling of the James Bond villain is Ernst Stavro Blofeld. I am flattered, I think, that so many of you thought “Blowfeld” was an intentional pun in tribute to our oral-sex obsessed climate. No such luck. Alas, I was spelling phonetically as so many members of the attention-deficit-disorder generation do. My second error was in saying that Batman aired in the 1960s not the 70s. Sorry about that. Such a quality show shouldn’t be misdated.
While we’re on the topic of my shortcomings, I learned yesterday that in the National Review chat room (Garbage In, Garbage Out) I am fairly unpopular. One gentleman thinks my esteemed overlord William F. Buckley, Jr. should cast me out of the Elysian Fields of National Review for my youthful rudeness and exuberance. Others agree that while I am out of my league at National Review my indiscretions do not rise to the level of impeachment. The key evidence against me is that I rudely referred to Arthur Schlesinger’s considerable age. Such an esteemed historian should not be treated so disrespectfully. I guess there’s a point there. But in my youthful exuberance I will allow my attention span to dissipate rapidly. The dyspeptic historian has allowed his scholarly work to be colored by his political agenda for forty years and so I don’t think his work confers upon him such great respect. As for his age, for those who read my column and don’t realize that my (possibly vain) attempts at humor are meant to spice up the melodrama, then they should hit the blue button that summons the nurse with the green pills. The red button will make your bed fly up to a right angle.
In another chat room, the unofficial site for George W. Bush’s Y2K run for President , people are equally uncharitable. Great fault has been taken by them and other readers with my assertion that Compassionate Conservatism is a silly political marketing ploy. They see this as an unfair pot shot at their beloved G-Dub (as many insiders who spend all day in my apartment call him).
One of G-Dub’s acolytes writes:
Mr. Goldberg is clearly clueless … the “compassionate” piece is about style, context, and priority, not about policy. One wonders if he is that obtuse, conveniently ‘dumb’ for the sake of getting published, or if he intends to hack-up the frontrunner to benefit some other candidate whom he prefers.
Now, I don’t normally find being dumb convenient — it’s a serious hassle getting my tongue stuck to flag poles every winter. Being conveniently dumb so I can get published is a neat concept. I like the idea of editors at conservative magazines with “In” and “Out” boxes marked “Dumb Enough” and “Not Dumb Enough.” My editors would get a piece titled, “George W. Bush — The Beneficent Conclusion of the Hegelian Dialectic” and say, “not dumb enough.” But if I sent them a piece, “George W. Bush, Baaaad”,they would shout “Eureka!” I am so flattered that my Lilliputian barbs could be considered weighty enough to “hack up the front-runner” I’ll let that one go. On the merits, “compassionate conservatism” is in my mind a surrender to the criticisms of the Left, just as Al Gore’s “practical idealism” is a capitulation to the accusation that liberals are people with both feet planted squarely in the air. There is nothing inherently mean about conservatism. To say that a new strategy of compassion is a breakthrough buys into the Left’s argument. I like G-Bub, but I don’t like his rhetoric. Rhetoric always should translate into policy. As Richard Weaver noted in his book of the same title, ideas have consequences.
HILLARY BARES HER CLAWS For those who have been caught up in the pro-Hillary hysteria you might want to read the following from today’s Page Six:
The softer, more feminine image First Lady Hillary Clinton projects to her public is way different than the side her Secret Service detail sees. Star magazine reports Monica’s ex-boyfriend’s wife has taken to lashing out at her protectors, screaming “Get out of my face!” at several guards. A source tells Star that on one occasion, Hillary snapped at a young agent who had simply said good morning to her. “Getf—ed” was her angry response. While Hillary might have some rightful anger towards those agents who testified during the Starr hearings, a source points out, “These guys she’s shrieking at are not her personal protection agents. They’re just the young uniformed guys guarding the building.” Star reports the agents are considering filing an official complaint.
PAGE SIX, New York Post
TECHNICAL NOTE I receive a lot of e-mail from people asking why “I” dropped them off the subscription list for the e-mail version of my demented rantings. I have done no such thing.
As I understand it — and keep in mind, I’m not all that up to speed on this “cyber thing,” National Review’s email system is run by a cadre of child laborers in Kuala Lampur. These children operate a vast series of levers, pulleys, and pneumatic tubes which transport your e-mailed Goldberg Files. Occasionally, inspectors from the World Bank come in and tell these little Horatio Algers that they have to go to “school,” where they are given condoms, told that America started World War II, and that Hillary Clinton will someday return to save them from their misery. When these children are dragged away from fulfilling their God-given right to work, they sometimes take the pneumatic tubes containing specific subscribers’ e-mail addresses. They sell these tubes for scrap metal so they can afford to book passage to America, where they can get good wages in our high-tech industry using their internet skills. The long and short of this is that if you are no longer receiving your e-mail version, you should re-subscribe using that Majordomo button at the bottom of this page. It should work. And, you should feel very happy that you’ve given an impoverished child a chance at a fresh start in the New World. If you wish to continue visiting the web version I am particularly delighted, because every time you hit my page, an angel gets his wings.