Behind the tawdriest of headlines, there’s a woman I wouldn’t mind bringing home to mom.
By Jake Tapper
You tend not to spend too much time contemplating Tim Russert’s innermost thoughts when you’re 100 feet under water, breathing through a narrow tube, soaring past the ocean wall in slow motion, staring at 200-year-old sea tortoises, parrot fish, and coral that have no concern for love or career. A week of no news, no television—nothing more than books and the company of a handful of divers and fisherman. I had no idea of the storm clouds brewing in D.C.; the weather in the Caymans was 80 and sunny, the diving was clear, and my tan was coming in even and had yet to peel.
It was while waiting for the first plane at the shack that passes for an airport in Little Cayman that I caught a glimpse of the AP wire story on the front page of the Caymanian Compass. I was playing with a puppy in the airport office when I saw the headline; the Caymanian reading the paper quickly offered it to me, as I clearly had more interest in it than he.
The world was beside itself about the latest presidential scandal, this one involving an affair with a then-21-year-old intern—the juiciest story to break in my adult life, a salacious tale of alleged infidelity between the most powerful man in the Milky Way and a girl named Monica.
Monica Lewinsky. A girl I’d gone out on a date with a few weeks before.
I hesitate here, because I have no desire to appear on Hard Copy or banter with MSNBCeebees, and, essentially, I feel bad for poor Monica and feel unclean adding my feeble barnacle to her ship of fame. Although I will admit to an odd weave of loathing and envy when I watch the blabbocracy breathlessly weighing in—Hey, I think, they don’t even know this chick. But I am not jumping in because one dinner with Monica enabled me to read her mind as she sits with friends and family at the Watergate, pondering her fate.
I write, clearly, because I want a piece of this story just like everybody else. That imperative distinguishes me not at all from every other journalist in Washington. But perhaps even more, I also want to point out that behind this particular bimbo eruption sits a young woman who is not a bimbo, who is a fairly sensible sort from what I saw, who was never going to be the one holding a press conference alongside a posterboard blowup of the Star with a back pocket full of the cash she got from selling out. She may be guilty of poor judgment, but she never asked for this.
That said, let the whoring begin.