Chatterbox Goes Too Far!

Chatterbox Goes Too Far!

Chatterbox Goes Too Far!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
March 31 1998 11:16 AM

Chatterbox Goes Too Far!

One reason Kathleen Willey's tale of groping and fondling in the Oval Office seems credible is this: if she were making up a story, she could have made up a much better one. For example, Willey told Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes that when Clinton made his pass, she remembers saying to him, "Aren't you afraid that somebody's going to walk in here?" Not exactly the strongest or most plaintive objection she might have lodged. The pass itself could easily have been made cruder, and Willey could have alleged it was repeated--if she'd been in a fabricating, sympathy-generating mode. Thanks to Time magazine, we have evidence that when Willey wants to make up a story, she knows how to pull out all the emotional stops. Time says that in 1995 when Willey decided to get back at a former lover, Shaun Docking, she told him she was pregnant. But not just pregnant, pregnant with his twins! Then she told him she would have an abortion. Then on the morning the abortion was supposed to happen, she had her then-friend, Julie Steele, tell him she'd called it off. Then she had her friend tell him she'd had a miscarriage! Could any hack screenwriter have milked that scenario for more drama? Contrast that with the banality of Willey's Clinton story. So, in a perverse way, Time's tale of Willey's pregnancy lie actually tends to support her veracity when it comes to Clinton. ... Okay, maybe that's going a bit too far. But you get the point ...

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Save Clinton First! Some pretty good evidence that Flytrap has seriously distracted the president: columnist Robert Novak reports that at the Gridiron Dinner on March 21, he sat next to Clinton and asked the president about Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's Social Security reform proposal, which Moynihan had unveiled a week earlier. (See Jodie Allen's analysis.) For any president interested in, say, a second term legacy, Moynihan's plan was a reasonably big deal. Social Security's solvency is one of the two or three major domestic issues facing Clinton, and "saving" the system was a central theme of his recent State of the Union address. While Moynihan hasn't been a Clinton loyalist and his social policy proposals (e.g. on welfare) don't always fly, he speaks with some authority as ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. His plan was also considered radical, coming from a Social Security defender, because it suggested using part of Social Security's payroll tax to fund "voluntary personal savings accounts" that would supplement regular Social Security benefits. (Indeed, Moynihan was almost immediately blasted from the left.). Yet, according to Novak, on March 21 Clinton "did not seem familiar with Moynihan's latest plan...." Whatever else you want to say about Clinton, he's not usually inattentive or uninterested in domestic policy. The Moynihan Plan is something he would normally be on top of, were he not preoccupied with other matters ...

True Love: An excellent conspiratorial moment at a recent Washington, D.C., party given for Salon magazine. Present were: presidential aide Sidney Blumenthal, newscaster Jim Lehrer, columnist Molly Ivins, journalist Christopher Hitchens, stunt man David Brock, and Murray Waas, the oddball investigative reporter who has been chronicling the machinations of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy for Salon and the New York Observer. At one point, Waas, looking around the room as if to make sure noone was following him, snuck out the rear door into the unlit back yard. A few seconds later, Blumenthal slipped out the same back door to join Waas. They could then be seen having a brief, but intense, tete-a-tete in the darkness. ...

Bonus Automotive Item: The complaints by British car enthusiasts about the purchase of Rolls-Royce by BMW remind Chatterbox of the previous acquisition by BMW of Rover, another prestigious British marque whose cars had achieved an unfortunate reputation for less-than-bulletproof reliability. One old-guard Rover executive complained to journalist Jeremy Clarkson that BMW's quality control policies were "stupid. They just won't tolerate any mistakes at all." ...