The Monica Legacy

Ehrenreich and von Hoffman

The Monica Legacy

Ehrenreich and von Hoffman

The Monica Legacy
An email conversation about the news of the day.
Oct. 29 1998 2:49 PM

Ehrenreich and von Hoffman

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Dear Nick,

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I am so delighted that we have finally found a subject of mutual interest that I am not going to challenge your flagrant partisanship for the ursids over the ungulates. For a while there I was toying with the hypothesis that you are not an actual curmudgeon in Maine, but a new Microsoft word-processing program, capable of condensing texts like the Journal of Organic Archeology into pithy paragraphs, but with still-imperfect powers of interactivity. To continue on this chummy theme, I fully agree that there is no sight more embarrassing to our own species than a yuppie cyclist in full gear--though I refrain from swerving to squish them unless they are wearing, as they often do in this town (Berkeley), t-shirts smugly identifying them as "One Less Car." May they pedal far into the wild, and may the predators have a nourishing meal!

But it's time we returned to the pressing issues of our time. So far as I can tell, the only element of suspense in next Tuesday's election lies in the question of how Monica will play. We read that Newt's shop has just issued a serious of commercials making sly reference to the various sprayings of seed in the Oval Office--and, on today's front pages, that the Democrats are exulting that the Republicans should make such a suicidal mistake. Well, which is it: Do we hate Clinton for his boyish proclivities or do we hate the Republicans for bringing them to our attention? Once again we are confronted with the grave matter of Legacy, only the legacy at stake is Monica's. Is she another product of the same right-wing bimbo factory that brought us Paula Jones (as some of my friends seem to believe)? Is she a Zionist tool, as Farrakhan has weirdly alleged on Meet the Press? Or could she be a pawn in a Hillary-hatched plot to salvage the first lady's popularity ratings? Or perhaps something entirely different is at stake: with a vote for a Democrat signaling enthusiasm for oral sex and a vote for a Republican serving as an endorsement of the old-fashioned missionary way. Only Tuesday will tell.

To this seasoned leftwing feminist, nothing is more disheartening than the alacrity with which "progressives" and liberals of all stripes have rallied to the President's defense. We read that African-Americans, from the Congressional Black Caucus on down, are solidly behind him,although his loyalty to that constituency is undetectable at best. The Beltway feminists have long since squandered their credibility in their unseemly defense of the Sexual Harasser in Chief; and almost every day the e-mail brings me some new exhortation to frustrate the right by voting straight Democratic, never mind that those Dem's are increasingly likely to be pro-business and anti-abortion.

(The latest such e-mail originated with the impeccably leftwing Michael Moore, and was forwarded down to me through a sterling lineage of erstwhile socialists and anarchists.) Now I know that these good people intend their votes to be a slap at Starr rather than a caress for Clinton, but there is a terrible danger that the enemy of one's enemy will begin to look like, and gradually become, one's friend.

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Personally, I take guidance in this matter from a friend and fellow journalist's profound dictum: "We have no dog in this race." As usual I will vote Democratic--unless, that is, some fit of nostalgia for democracy overtakes me in the voting booth and I start scratching at the machine in a frenzy--but otherwise the line should be: Impeach the President and his impeachers, now!

Barbara Ehrenreich is contributing editor at theProgressiveand author of several books, including Blood Rites. Nicholas von Hoffman is a columnist at theNew York Observer. His books include We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against.