Two-faced on Resignation

Two-faced on Resignation

Two-faced on Resignation

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Sept. 18 1998 12:13 PM

Two-faced on Resignation

Amid all the helpful suggestions of a pharmacological remedy for the president's compulsive behavior, Chatterbox neglected to confess that he-two suffers from a psychological malady. Sad to say, Chatterbox is totally schizophrenic on the issue of whether Bill Clinton should resign. In some guises, he eagerly calculates the political advantages for House Democrats who urge Clinton to step down. In other incarnations (like this one), he is appalled by the avidity with which Washington elites (press and political) have embraced the abdication option.

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Voltaire, on being invited back after attending his first orgy, famously observed, "Once a philosopher; twice a pervert." That's analogous to Chatterbox's view of a forced presidential resignation: "Once a nation afflicted by Richard Nixon; twice a banana republic."

But if Clinton were to hand over the keys to the Oval Office study to Al Gore, Chatterbox has picked up a glimmer of how the negotiations might be handled. A constitutional expert would be needed to arrange all the, pardon me, legal niceties. And Chatterbox suggests that the most likely candidate would be (no, not David Kendall) former acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, who is now back at Duke Law School. But Dellinger has not completely left the public sphere, since he is quietly and unofficially advising Gore in the wake of Janet Reno's laborious deliberations over whether to appoint a special prosecutor in the campaign-finance inquiry. Gore's main attorney James Neal confirmed to Chatterbox that, yes, he does consult with Dellinger "on a variety of legal matters."

There would be a certain poignant poetry if Dellinger were to help broker Clinton's final days in the White House. For it was Dellinger, who back in early 1993 wrote the executive orders on abortion that were Clinton's first official acts in office. Not a bad resume line: "Present at the creation and the destruction of the Clinton presidency."

--WalterShapiro