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AIN'T WE GOT FUN! | 1998-09-12

Everybody else has on looks of outrage, sadness, and all the other praiseworthy emotions about the present presidential situation.

True to my absolutely classless tradition, I am having an absolute ball.

I have admitted fearlessly unto you that I have known Lake High for well over forty years. If that does not show a lack of class, I challenge anyone to tell me what does. But a joke Lake told sums up the present Clinton situation beautifully.

There was a professional con man who had taught his son all the tricks. One day, the little fellow asked his father, "Dad, is there ever a time when you should just tell the TRUTH?"

The father looked a bit taken aback, then he looked thoughtful. Finally he said, "Son, in a real pinch, ANY gimmick will do."

Thus spake William Jefferson Clinton.

Another classless remark: I LIKE Clinton. He is very much a Southerner. He is real trash, but he is the kind of trash I am used to. When he flew in the face of all the rules of politics and selected Al Gore for his Vice President, he gained a lot of loyalty from me.

They are both Southerners. They are Southern turncoats, but so is every other Southerner who is now a public figure. Clinton feels comfortable working with another Southerner, and I like that. When Al Gore went to Yale, he was a roommate of Tommy Lee Jones.

In these days, when the so-called conservative Southerners are every bit as anti-white as liberal ones, I fail to see the difference.

In the midst of the present flood of commentary, let me interrupt the chorus of conservative "DUHHs" to make a couple of simple points

First, no practicing addict to anything, be it alcohol or sex, should be president.

Secondly, the sexual harassment that occurred in the Oval Office had nothing to do with the consensual relationship between Bill and Monica. When any executive provides access in return for sex, it creates a hostile work environment for the OTHER, repeat OTHER, young women in the office. That is the harassment. It has nothing to do with the consensual relationship.

Now back to conservatives trying to contradict liberals who say it was a consensual relationship.

In Washington, I would always make points like that, which utterly destroyed the other side when they were made. But the conservatives always went right back to their "DUHHs." Their attitude toward me was once expressed beautifully, accurately, and I am not kidding here, in MAD Magazine: "Him smart. Me throw rocks."

I like Clinton's Southernness, but I DO hate liberals, and I am deeply and truly enjoying watching the total destruction Clinton's situation is causing liberalism. Even the press is talking about the libs' wild hypocrisy. The most amazing people are noticing that you simply cannot pry the truth out of these people with a corkscrew.

I said one thing to my brother Jon some months ago that is very important today. This Clinton thing has driven the first critical wedge between the American left and the national media

The national media is hard left, but if you understand it, you can do a lot with it. Back in 1982, Paul Weyrich discussed his astonishing success with the press in his article in The New Right Papers. He made the point that the media is made up of people, and the first thing you do in dealing with people is to figure out what they want from you.

Nobody gets along in the media if he is not a good liberal or one of the few thoroughly vetted and acceptable respectable conservatives. It is true that each person in the press is, ideologically, your dedicated enemy. He couldn't get there if he were anything else. But there is a huge mass of people there, and every single one of them is in front of you for a reason. They need news. They need a well-written press release that is highly quotable. If you write it well enough, they'll use your words entirely!

I was a new appointee in the Reagan Administration, for heaven's sake, and I got my picture and favorable coverage in the New York Times because I wrote a major part of the reporter's story for him! Paul Weyrich was born and bred up North, but he gave David Beasley his Orwell Award for demanding the removal of the Confederate flag.

I choose my friends well, gang! My smart remark to Jon came directly from listening carefully to Paul Weyrich's wisdom about the press. When the Administration struck out, it struck at Starr, but it also hit the media.

Everybody blames the press, but I noticed that this time the press took it personally. Maybe I noticed because I have dealt with them a long time. At the Voice of America, I was one of them briefly. It surprised me how badly they took it this time. I think that they were caught in a uniquely bad situation.

It is true that criticism of the press happens a lot, but it is always from only one predictable direction. They criticize the right, and are attacked from the right. They report something bad about a liberal politician, and he attacks them. If they criticize one group, that group says they're awful. This time, when the President jumped them for talking about the scandal, everybody either agreed with him or hid under the bed.

The press had to report the situation because that was what readers wanted to read about. Competition today is fiercer than ever, and they simply could not do the boring stuff and ignore the interesting story.

There was a time when the press could ignore anything it wanted to. Us older folks can remember when the network news ignored the burning down of major parts of cities all over America. People literally watched the news while they saw the smoke going up in their cities, and the press never said a word about it.

All good conservatives have forgotten that, but I haven't. Ask anyone over 55, and they'll remember it. I will never forget when one of the all powerful network anchors felt that the hundreds of thousands of letters of complaint required some kind of response. He complained that he had gotten all these demands, and in a clipped, angry voice, he read off the list of riots and burnings that had occurred THAT DAY.

When you hear the media commentators talking about the 1960's today, you can see that they are almost crying. Boy, those were the days! The three network bureaucracies had eliminated ALL opposition. They were absolute. They can't do that today. Even if they had wanted to, they couldn't have ignored the Clinton scandal. The fact that liberals refused to understand that hit home. NOBODY took the media's side in this.

Public opinion was four or five to one against them, saying that the people wanted to forget about sex and talk about social security, educational testing standards and other fascinating stuff. For once, the junk that people tell the pollsters, the same stuff that the press usually uses for their side, was used against the press.

The same people who would click the remote instantly the second the talk went from Paula Jones to national educational testing were saying they had had enough of scandal. And while they talked about Clinton, none of Clinton's opponents said a word. Good old conservative cowardice usually makes them smile weakly and say the press is fair. Usually conservative cowardice works for the press. Now it made conservatives tacitly back Clinton.

Everybody, on every side, was against the press, and the press could not do a damned thing about it. They can dish out abuse, but they are FAMOUS for not being able to take it. This time they had to take it month after month after month. The press got its butt kicked, and liberals are spending the last bit of moral capital they have left.

Ain't we got fun? Let me add, that right now Clinton is having the most exciting illicit relationship of his life. That is how addicts behave, gang.