The Big Day

Conniff and Frum

The Big Day

Conniff and Frum

The Big Day
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Aug. 17 1998 10:14 AM

Conniff and Frum

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Good morning David,

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Even now reporters are scrambling over each other at the White House and the Court House. One good thing about Clinton's testimony being sent by closed-circuit TV from one place to the other is that by thinning out the crowds, it might avert the tragedy of one of our colleagues being trampled or clawed to death.

"What will Clinton Say?" asks the Wisconsin State Journal. "Adviser Says Clinton Will Admit Relationship," says the New York Times. "Master showman needs to win over audiences," says the Chicago Tribune.

The lady who sold me my newspapers this morning asked what I thought. Given the leaks since Friday, it seems clear Clinton will try to take the wiggly way out--saying he had sex, but not a sexual relationship. Oh I hope not, said my newspaper vendor. Let him just say ok, I did it, it was wrong--I lied to protect my family, and I thought this was a private matter--I'm sorry. But if he says that's not what he meant by sex, well, throw him out, let's get Al Gore in there. This, it seems to me is a voice of reason. Who can stand the partial-truth strategy?

But after all this testing of the waters, it seems that's what we'll get.

I like Jim Warren's piece in the Chicago Tribune this morning--he talked to Laura Ingraham, who happened by a newsstand in D.C. on Sunday, when David Kendall was loading up on the morning papers--getting a sackful and driving to the White House to coach Clinton. Clearly they're floating things, checking the reaction in the press, and crafting their strategy. I wish instead they'd just interviewed my newspaper vendor.

I feel we ought to have some sort of office pool going. By the end of the day we'll likely know the answers to the DNA tests of the dress, what Clinton testifies to, what he says to the public, and the trajectory of this whole sorry matter--will Congress consider impeachment? I say we make our bets on these matters: the emission, the admission, the public confession, and the upshot. I know we'll get in trouble if we bet money. But just for the record--I say the dress tests negative (turns out to be a bluff), Clinton gives the wiggly admission, he does appear on TV tonight and makes a very general apology, and Congress never takes it up. What say you? What say readers? Let me know if you want to make the game more clever . . .

yours, Ruth

Ruth Conniff is Washington editor of Progressive magazine. David Frum is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard. He is the author of What's Right: The New Conservative Majority and the Remaking of America.