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Jewish World Review /September 16, 1998 / 25 Elul, 5758

Mona Charen

Mona Charen

The national dirty joke

AMERICANS EVERYWHERE have a story about how they handled today's headlines around their children. My favorite was carried in The Washington Post last weekend. A youngster asked his mother to explain what "oral sex" was, and she replied, "I think the president was dating Monica Lewinsky even though he is married to Mrs. Clinton."

Yup. The president who championed the v-chip to keep violent and sexual imagery away from children is now a worldwide dirty joke. Concerning what is really no joke, some observations:

True, Bubba is the national dirty joke.
But is he that funny?
1) President Clinton chose this humiliation. He knew it was coming and could have avoided it in many ways. (For example: He could have refrained from the behavior in the first place. He could have told the truth in the Paula Jones case. He could have resigned when it became clear that Kenneth Starr would call him before the grand jury and prove his perjury.) But he chose to put himself and his family through this because he will do anything to hold on to power. The office is worth everything to him, even when it comes at the price of shredding what little remains of his reputation and humiliating his wife and daughter.

Today, that "anything" is sending his lawyers and other spinners out to make a thoroughly circular argument. The president's lawyers argue, on the one hand, that the Starr referral is "just about sex" and therefore does not rise to the level of "high crime or misdemeanor" demanding impeachment. At the same time, and without blushing, they contend that what happened between the president and Lewinsky was not "sex" as defined in the Jones lawsuit and that accordingly, the president is not guilty of perjury.

This is such a puerile and transparently fraudulent argument that it deserves to be punished for its own sake. I would certainly punish such cheekiness in a child. If I tell my 7-year-old son not to push his baby brother down the hill in the stroller, see him do it seconds later and get the explanation "I didn't push his stroller; I pulled it," I would regard that response as insolence compounding the original offense. Who does he think he's kidding?

2) Starr had little choice but to include the salacious details in his referral. When the president had the gall to insist that his responses to Jones' lawyers were "legally accurate," Starr was forced to provide chapter and verse about the relationship.

3) Poor Monica. No innocent, she sashayed into the Oval Office with every intention of attracting the president's lecherous attention, and yet ... she is a figure of pity. She was so obviously used and manipulated by the most powerful man in the world. Was she stupid to believe his lies? Sure. But 21 is a stupid age, particularly in matters of love and sex. His conduct was simply ghastly; hers was a little pathetic. What remains of her future? Will she be a permanent dirty joke, too?

4) It is common for Clinton supporters to say that his policies have been the inverse of his personal degeneracy. Think again. Look at where feminism -- certainly a key Clinton policy -- has left the women around him.

Mrs. Clinton is reduced to what she always claimed she wasn't: just the loyal little wife. If Monica serviced him sexually, Hillary serviced him politically by providing cover. Feminists cannot escape the truth: Their devaluation of family and marriage has cost women dearly. A smart liberal like Hillary winds up as Tammy Wynette.

Monica went out into the world shorn of the protections the old morality offered young women. Before feminism joined forces with the sexual revolution, women were allowed to ask whether a gentleman's intentions were honorable. Monica found herself begging for more satisfying sex. What progress!

And let's not forget Betty Currie. A nice middle-aged lady gets to serve as facilitator for her boss' odious assignations. She is called into work on weekends just to sit at her desk while the president frolics under his. Let's hear it for Patricia Ireland!

One aspect of the Clinton mess is the light it throws on what feminism has done to our culture -- provide ample sport for male satyrs and dishonor for the women around them.


9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
9/09/98: Does Burton's sin let Clinton off the hook?
9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
7/20/98: Disappointed by Cosbys
7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
7/8/98: Teacher preacher
7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
7/1/98: What is the First Amendment for?
6/26/98: The Republican city
6/24/98: Poison pen
6/22/98: Clinton: inventing his own reality?
6/16/98: Senator mom?
6/12/98: Wisconsin: a trail blazer?
6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
6/5/98: Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest
6/2/98: English? Si; Republican? No!
5/29/98: The truth about women and work
5/27/98: Romance in the '90s
5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
3/6/98: Of fingernails and freedom
3/3/98: Read JWR! :0)
2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
12/23/97: Does Clinton's race panel listen to facts?
12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?

©1998, Creators Syndicate, Inc.