Happy Birthday, Monicagate!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Jan. 17 2008 7:00 PM

Happy Birthday, Monicagate!

An anniversary we'd all rather forget.

(Continued from Page 1)

Are there any lessons to draw from Monicagate? Not a lot. But there are a few:

1. Never ask about a politician's sex life, because someone just might tell you.

2. The sky does not fall when a newspaper prints the word penis.

3. Ditto vagina, which Eve Ensler couldn't have freedfrom its taboo status in the mainstream media if Monicagate hadn't freed penis first.

4. All politicians commit adultery. There are exceptions, but they're statistically insignificant and not worth investigating.

5. Guilt is but one consideration when a nation undertakes to expel a president from office before his term ends.

6. If you have or had an "inappropriate" relationship with the president of the United States, don't tell your best friend.


Monicagate doesn't seem to give Brits the same migraine it gives Americans, so the United Kingdom hasn't flinched from celebrating its 10-year anniversary. The best offering is "Oral History: The Monica Lewinsky Scandal Ten Years On" in the Jan. 15 Times. The best part is when Linda Tripp, on being confronted by reporter Damian Whitworth in her tchotchkes shop in Middleburg, Va., pretends to be someone else named "Karen."

Can you blame her?

[Update, Jan. 18: The Washington Post has a sort-of anniversary piece  today, pairing discussion of Bill Clinton's recent crankiness on the campaign trail for Hillary with his lingering bitterness over Monicagate. The author is Peter Baker, author of The Breach, an excellent book about Clinton's impeachment. Weirdly, though, Baker writes that the anniversary of when Monicagate broke as a news story is Jan. 21. That ignores Drudge's Jan. 19 item, which was heard 'round the world. (Believe me. I remember.)]

Timothy Noah is a former Slate staffer. His  book about income inequality is The Great Divergence.


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