Politics? Satire?

Robert S. Thau (rst@ai.mit.edu)
Thu, 29 Aug 1996 14:37:07 -0400

The following report of a report of a report of a report seems to be
some kind of emblem of our times: I just heard on NPR that MNSBC is
reporting that Dick Morris, the President's svengali, has resigned, in
response to a story that the New York Post picked up from Rupert
Murdoch's supermarket tabloid, the Star.

The report is that Morris had a compromising relationship with a
$200/hr. Washington D.C. hooker, in the course of which Morris leaked
potentially sensitive material, including advance copies of speeches,
and put the President on speakerphone in her presence. The Post,
apparently, quotes her diary to the effect that this last stunt
"really started to impress [her]." The White House is now supposed to
be issuing a statement clarifying this within the hour, but it is not
clear what, if anything, Clinton will have to say about the whole
matter when he accepts his party's nomination for the Presidency this

Morris is, of course, the political consultant who has increasingly
taken up an ill-defined, but highly prominent, role at the White
House, since the 1994 election. While Clinton and Morris do have a
connection going back a bit --- Morris masterminded Clinton's
electoral strategy in the gubernatorial elections of the early '80s
--- his recent clients have mostly included Republicans ranging from
Massachusetts governor Weld (ideologically indistinguishable from
Clinton, to the extent that anyone can figure out what Clinton's
ideology is), to North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, for whom Morris
did the infamous "you needed that job..." ad which, by most accounts,
flat-out lied about his position on affirmative action. In fact,
Morris (according to this week's Time magazine cover story) had
predicted to several Republican clients that the Clinton
administration would be indicted into oblvion, up to very shortly
before he started working for it.

Tom Lehrer was once reported to have said that he stopped doing
political satire when, after Henry Kissinger was really awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize, he concluded that "political satire is obsolete".
Oh, for those innocent days...

And, as Dave Barry sez, I am *not* making this up. Check out
www.msnbc.com if you want to see it done fancy (and with the
cooperation of the Associated Press...).