Cureless folly done and said
And the lovely way that led
To the slimepit and the mire
And the everlasting fire.
--A. E. Housman
Good evening my fellow Americans. As you no doubt remember, back in January I testified under oath in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit against me that I had done nothing improper with the intern, Monica Lewinsky. More specifically, I corroborated her sworn statement that we had not had sexual relations. Moreover, I went on national television and, staring squarely into the camera and gesturing with my right hand for emphasis, I stated firmly that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
I come before you tonight to tell you that those solemn affirmations, delivered with the greatest pretense to sincerity that I could muster, were not true. I guess I owe an apology to all those people who believed me and have aggressively defended me and my version of events for the past seven months. On the other hand, I really have little sympathy for those simple-minded and trusting enough to continue to believe me in such matters. After all, in that same testimony I revealed that I had lied on 60 Minutes during the 1992 campaign about not having an affair with Gennifer Flowers. Furthermore, I hope you realize that all those public figures you have seen defending me and claiming to believe me didn't really believe their own words, so I don't need to apologize to them for having been deceptive. They have been, in effect, parties to my lie. Like my lawyers, they came into this mess with their eyes wide open. If I owe them any apology it is only for having blundered so badly that I would get caught in my lie and forced to come before the American people and change my story, leaving them hanging out to dry, as I am doing tonight.
Though I am America's president, the supreme commander of the world's only remaining super-power, I am human. I make mistakes, and I made a really big one when I underestimated the cunning of that star-struck, fat little groupie of an intern, Monica. Now you take Gennifer or Dolly or Sally. They've all been around the block once or twice, but it never occurred to them, or any of the scores of others, to hang on to some of my joy juice for evidence and even to store it in someone else's house so we couldn't get it like we got those tapes of me going in and out of Gennifer's place. Who says the 20-something crowd doesn't have anything on the ball? That was a stroke of pure genius.
And I'm not sure the plump little vixen didn't know that that Tripp woman was taping their phone conversations from the beginning. I think both of them might have been spooked when Monica's former-intern friend, Caity Mahoney, got whacked at the Georgetown Starbucks last summer. Getting it all down on tape and spread around was almost as clever a way of protecting herself as hiding that stained dress away. You know the taping started at about the same time as the Starbucks murders, don't you?
Now I am sure you still have a lot of questions like "Why did you do it?" and "Why did you lie about it?"
Taking the second question first: Get serious. Do you really expect me to admit to something like that? Would you? I had to lie for the sake of appearances, of course, and if I hadn't lied I might as well have admitted that Paula Jones' allegations against me were true as well. They were trying to establish that I had an appetite for that sort of thing, after all. I didn't want to give them that bone to chew on. What I didn't count on was getting caught.
Okay, I mean like caught caught. Sure, I've been caught lots of times before. Women like Gennifer Flowers and Sally Perdue and witnesses like the state troopers have squealed on me and I've had to lie my way out of it, but I never let myself get maneuvered into an actual perjury situation before, and I never counted on that hard evidence against me. And I certainly expected better protection from the press and even from Ken Starr than I have been getting. Look what a fine job the press did in getting me where I am and keeping me there, and after the great work that they and Starr did in papering over that Foster mess I really thought I could get by with...uh...at least I thought I could get by with a little white sex lie.
Now why did I do it? Get serious again. Why do squirrels eat nuts? Why do bees make honey? It's my nature. I liked it a lot. Like a good snort of cocaine, it was a real high. I would be more specific, but I've already pretended outrage and dummied up when Ken Starr asked me those sorts of things, so if you want to learn more details I guess you're going to have to get them from Vernon Jordan.
So that's it folks. What with the Foster mess and Waco and the Oklahoma City bombing and TWA 800 and the illegal drug allegations pretty much purged from the public consciousness, in short, with the mission accomplished, it's time to end this distraction. It's time to get back to the serious business of running the country.
Now I'm off to Martha's Vineyard. Bye.
As imagined by David Martin, August 18, 1998
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