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Tuesday, June 22, 2004
 
Irony, thy name is Levitra

“In the rare case that an erection lasts more than 4 hours, get medical help right away.”

It only seemed fitting that a pharmaceutical commercial ending with those words ran in the middle of Bill Clinton’s Sunday night interview on 60 Minutes since 40 minutes, or so, of the interview was dedicated to sex and consequences.

Irony, thy name is Levitra.

As I picked myself up laughing from the floor, it struck me that I was not laughing at Bill Clinton’s expense. It was at the hapless Dan Rather and many of his fellow journalists.

Take Sunday’s Meet the Press. Tim Russert and his panel of Joe Klein, Bob Novak and Katty Kay couldn’t contain their glee at the prospect of talking about interns and peccadilloes. These folks had been waiting four long years in order to titter about oral sex with impunity again. They would be damned if they let pesky details about such trivial matters as world peace and balanced budgets get in their way.

Russert chimed in after a few minutes “…let's move beyond sex and talk about legality.”

He must have been joking. The repressed quartet couldn’t stop. Monica Lewinsky’s name came up 11 times during the 15-minute segment, 4 of those after Tim timidly tried to change the subject.

If I were to base my assumptions solely on the reaction of the pundits, I would probably guess that 900 of the 947 pages of the Clinton memoir are about Monica and the ensuing mess. Fortunately for those who will read the book, that is not the case. My Life is not the Starr Report, which referenced “cigars” 18 times and only mentioned Whitewater, the reason Ken Starr was originally hired, exactly twice. But why should we expect anything different?

The cold truth is that many reporters and commentators take the easy route when it comes to profiling political figures. Whether it is for ratings or out of sheer laziness, they follow a script of supposedly conventional wisdom that as often as not reads like the talking points from a rival campaign. Do you remember Al Gore and the Internet? Or Bush the Elder and the gallon of milk?

The Democrats had been hoping that they could use the press flurry surrounding the release of “The Big Dog’s” book to pump up attention to John Kerry. That may just be a strategic error if the only attention that the book gets is related to why Bill was "sleeping on the couch” for a couple of months.

The DNC would love for some of the Clinton mojo of exuberant stock markets, virtually full employment, low interest rates and budget surpluses to rub off on our junior Senator. They must be dreaming. In this era of Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson, even the current President can’t get credit for a long overdue recovering economy. Nope, the press likes the easy script of sex and scandal. And Bill Clinton is ripe for the picking.

Perhaps the reaction to Clinton’s book tells us a little about why the current administration has a calculated and obsessive aversion to anything sexual. How else do you explain John Ashcroft draping off the semi nude art deco statue “Spirit of Justice” in the Great Hall of the Justice Department?

Or worse yet, there is the politicization of Plan B birth control. An FDA advisory panel overwhelmingly recommended 23 to 4 that this “morning after pill” should be available over the counter at pharmacies after studies showed the two pill protocol to be very safe and effective. However, administrators, for political reasons, overruled the expert panel. Evidently someone in the White House feels that girls and women worrying about pregnancies is more effective birth control than actual contraceptives. Somehow I doubt that they’re correct.

But none of that really matters in what cyber gossip Matt Drudge has dubbed the Clinton Summer. (Not coincidently Drudge helped break the Lewinsky scandal by reporting that Newsweek was sitting on the story.) This week its Oprah’s and Katie Couric’s turn to bring up critical issues such as blue GAP dresses and couples therapy with President Number 42.

And maybe, if we're really lucky, Bob Dole will do another commercial for Viagra.
 
Shouting into the closet to inform and entertain the 10 people who actually read this thing. In our new format as an online magazine, we take pride in our reporting and opinions. Please leave reader feedback on our online magazine message board so that we can better serve you.

“There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money, and it starts with the assets of the Iraqi people…and on a rough recollection, the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.” -Paul Wolfowitz

Cost of the War in Iraq
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