Tucker Carlson,

A weeklong electronic journal.
Sept. 16 1998 12:30 AM

Tucker Carlson,


       On the way to work this morning I heard yet another Democratic member of Congress denounce the president's affair with Monica Lewinsky. What Clinton did, the member explained, was wrong--not worthy of impeachment, you understand--but wrong: indefensible, perverted, immoral. Sinful, really. Have I missed something? When did we all agree that consensual sex between adults can be wrong? It can be inopportune, of course, even shocking to our sensibilities. Sometimes, it can be unhealthy, unsafe, or uncaring. But wrong? Statements like that have implications, and members of Congress who support gay rights, or oppose sodomy laws, or vote for legislation giving benefits to domestic partners should pause before introducing absolutes into conversations about sex. First they came for the president ...
       Not that I spent a lot of my day thinking about the effect Clinton's behavior will have on American society. Mostly I want to know whatever happened to the macadamia nut story. Probably 10 times over the past month I have heard from sources with direct, unimpeachable, firsthand knowledge that the Starr report would without question definitely include a section about the use of macadamia nuts in the Oval Office. The first thing I did after pulling the report off the Web was to conduct a word search for "macadamia nuts," then for various other kinds of cocktail snacks. No luck. A cigar was as close as I got, and I already knew about that. Why is it that only the best rumors fail to materialize? I'm still waiting to see the famous picture of a youthful Bill Clinton smoking a joint and burning the American flag at the U.S. embassy in London in 1969. I've been waiting since 1992.
       Made an appointment in the afternoon to see my dentist, Dr. Rosenbaum. There's probably nobody in Washington less affected by the Starr report than Rosenbaum. In Rosenbaum's life there simply isn't room for politics, much less for the president's intern. Rosenbaum's life is dentistry. He loves it the way some men love women, or Corvettes. He's obsessed. "It was very interesting in there," he'll often say after peering into in my mouth. He seems to mean it. How'd you get into this? I asked him one day after an hour or so of drilling. As I remember it (and since Rosenbaum is generous with the nitrous oxide and Novocain, I don't remember it terribly well), he told me about a conversion experience he had in college. One day, after several years of working toward an advanced degree in highway safety, it came to him that he should be a dentist. He's never looked back.
       There's something comforting about his obsession. I once went to a cut-rate dentist in Little Rock, Ark.--No Checks Accepted, according to the ads she took out on bus-stop benches--who became so absorbed in telling me about a recent camping trip she'd taken that her hand slipped, and she split one of my molars in half with a dental drill. After several years of chewing on only one side of my mouth, I went to Rosenbaum to fix the tooth. He did, and didn't say a word about his latest vacation as he did it.
       There's rarely irrelevant chitchat in Rosenbaum's office. The talk is of dentistry: bicuspids, gums, exciting new developments in crowns. I never believe medical people when they brag about how they "keep up with the literature," but I believe Rosenbaum. I picture him eagerly tearing the plastic wrapping off each issue of Orthodontia as it arrives and devouring the contents, chortling as he reads. He's the best dentist there is. I used to feel tense when I went in for a filling. At Rosenbaum's I usually fall asleep when the drill starts. Then again, as I said, he's pretty liberal with the laughing gas.

Tucker Carlson is a staff writer for the Weekly Standard.



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