I had Known What Kind Of PersonYou Really Were...."
then. That's what President Clinton said to Monica in a late night telephone
fight between the Starr-crossed lovers. He went on to say, "...I
wouldn't have gotten involved with you."
Come on. This whole thing is getting a little sophomoric even for the
most optimistic observer. Where does Bill get off thinking that in some
cases you DO know what a person is REALLY like before you get involved
with them? So, there you are, You're the President Of The United States,
and you notice a White House intern eyeing you. You smile and raise
your eyebrow. The next thing you know, apparently, you've become intimate,
in an extramarital kind of way, with this young woman, in the hallway,
in the bathroom, in the Oval Office (for heaven's sake!), and now, late
at night, you're talking with her in one many lengthy phone calls and
she's threatening to tell the world everything, if what?. If you don't
marry her? No. If you don't own up to your love child? No. If you don't
give her a good job somewhere so she could go on with her life? Yes.
And now you say, "If I had known...." Well, Bill, it's disappointing,
So, all of this smoothes itself neatly into a our view of this situation:
Bill Clinton is a lonely, desperate-for-affection guy living alone at
the top of his chosen game, everything in the world he ever wanted is
his, but he has no one to share it with. He lives in a golden bubble
and a marriage of convenience. He is a man who needs a hug. The hug
presented itself and he took it. And, a fatal embrace it was.
Monica herself was not working with a script. She winged it all the
way. She was confused, broke, living alone, wearing the same dress a
couple of times in a row, then washing it. She was the prototype of
the starving young intern. TV at night. Nothing in the fridge. Her "so-called
life." And, then the heavens opened and the sun shined in. She
suddenly was in the arms of the President. He was lonely too. He wanted
affection too. They could talk for hours. He included her. They exchanged
gifts. They talked on the phone. She had a life. Things were exciting.
She would do anything he wanted. Hang around the White House staging
"chance" encounters. Bringing in a pizza. Waiting in the bathroom,
"Stay there, Honey," while he takes phone calls and receives
visitor in the Oval Office. Her friends depict her as a sweet and an
"achingly self-depreciating young woman." Not menacing and
not stalking. They say she trusts easily and even now still has great
affection for President Clinton. Here is a quote from today's New York
Times, "When she began the affair, she was apparently so needy
she was willing to perform oral sex in a bathroom on a man who took
telephone calls during their liaisons and did not get around to having
an extended conversation with her until after they had had sex a half
a dozen times."
Does that sound like a situation where the Boss is taking advantage
of his position to you at all? And in the middle of the Starr's report
where he is interviewing Monica's mother about all of this, Ms. Lewis'
Mom states that the President was well aware that Monica had had a bad
time at the hands of previously callous men and that he said (she said),
"that he would be her friend, or he would help her, not hurt her."
Perhaps in your memory there is the rare occasion when you would have
said anything to keep getting what you wanted, so perhaps this sounds
familiar as a tactic to an end? And, in the end, Monica has been through
the meat grinder, the clothes ringer and totally reamed out. As has
been Bill, too. And, Chelsea. And you and me. And the country. And our
national institutions. Wow.Yes it's been a real love fest, Bill. From
that first flash of her thong underwear, all the way to deposition,
it has been bizaaro world on display. At first she thought she was a
"stand-in girlfriend," for one that had been furloughed during
the shutdown. When he called her, "Kiddo," she assumed he
had forgotten her name. The cigar incident speaks for itself. The groping
in a reception line, her calendar count down to election day (he promised
to "bring her back" after reelection), Romeo and Juliet in
the Washington Post's personals (he told her he saw it), Bette Curie's
curious actions to facilitate the mind-boggling indiscretions, the 50
drafts, never mailed, of letters to Bill in her apartment (found during
the search), the 30 gifts exchanged, the promises of "more time
together in the future," and despite the fact of months and months
going by she remained hopeful of seeing him again. And the last meeting,
the "passionate kissing," the Christmas gifts he gave her
and then when he reality became cold and hard for her, his voice sounding
like a jail door closing.
I had only known...." Like most people, the President is not taking
responsibility for what he did to Monica. Had he shown restraint and
maturity about the fact of his total inappropriateness, had he addressed
honestly the issues of his marriage and his own needs, then Monica would
still be the same mixed-up, needy, and anguished young woman aching
for a life and a future, just like so many other innocent young people.
But, no. He took her to a whole new level, changing her forever and
ever into "that woman." Yes, Mr. President, if you had only
known. If Monica had only known. If we had only known. Things might
have been different. See you next time?