Good evening, everybody, and welcome to MSNBC’s special prime-time edition of The President in Crisis: Sex in the White House and Missiles Over Afghanistan . I’m your Slick, Slightly Ironic Male Moderator. Tonight, we have the usual suspects playing their usual roles and saying the usual things.
So, Glib Female Syndicated Columnist, let’s start with you. You were among the 20,274 commentators who used the phrase “Wag the Dog” within minutes of the cruise missile attack on Aug. 20. How much actual thought did you give to that comparison between a Hollywood movie and a real-life military strike?
GFSC: Thought? You’re asking me about thought? I thought this was a television news show!
SSIMM: Ha, ha. Boy, they don’t call you glib for nothing. I hope your bosses appreciate how glibly you speak for your male editor’s idea of Ms. Fortysomething Suburban Everywoman. Now, over to Seething With Rage Clinton Defender. Of course, you know what they’re saying in Washington …
SWRCD: Exactly who are “they,” Slick, Slightly Ironic Male Moderator?
SSIMM: Er, just about everybody, Seething With Rage Clinton Defender. Why, over the weekend no fewer than 4,125 columnists said that the President was seeking to distract us from …
SWRCD: Excuse me, but I don’t believe there are 4,125 columnists in America, Slick, Slightly Ironic Male Moderator. In fact, I would suggest to you that you consult the Editor & Publisher annual yearbook, which lists every daily newspaper in this country. I don’t have the precise figure with me, but my estimate is that there are about 1,500 daily newspapers. Now, if every newspaper has no more than three columnists …
SSIMM: We’ll get back to that in a moment, Seething With Rage Clinton Defender. Now, in our Washington studio, we’ll hear from Bug-Eyed, Bombastic Right-Winger Who Always Seems on the Verge of a Breakdown. Buggie, it’s been a busy week here in Washington. We’ve heard all about the President’s tie, we’ve heard that Monica Lewinsky is, how shall we say it, a bit miffed by the President’s unchivalrous behavior, and, let’s see, and, oh yes, we’ve wiped out a few terrorist bases in some foreign country or two. Tell me, who are the winners and losers?
B-E, BR-WWASVB: The American people are the losers! Don’t you understand? This President is tearing at the moral fabric of society! He is chewing up the sacred cud of the Constitution! He is relieving himself on the unstained carpet of family values! He is wiping his nose with a tissue of lies! God is punishing us with a plague of locusts, and they are feeding upon the defenseless harvest of lost American innocence. Ah! I think I’m going to have a breakdown!
SSIMM: And that’s why we love having you on the program, Buggie. Now, let’s go back to you, Glib Female Syndicated Columnist. Now, the President has said that he ordered this strike on terrorist bases in retaliation for the bombing of two American embassies in Africa. Tell me, what do you think was the real reason for this attack?
GFSC: I don’t think anybody in Washington doubts that the President was sending a message to Monica, and when you’re President, you don’t stand in line at Western Union to send a message.
SSIMM: Ha, ha, very glib indeed, Glib Female Syndicated Columnist. You raise the point that everyone in Washington is talking about. Seething With Rage Clinton Defender, it’s being said that the President’s show of force was meant to show Monica that it’s not nice to tell tales about improper relationships with the Leader of the Free World.
SWRCD: Monica? Monica who?
SSIMM: Thank you for that insightful observation, Seething With Rage Clinton Defender. Buggie, no doubt you have something to say about the President’s latest gambit in the Lewinsky matter. Tell me, how unusual is it for the President to order the Navy to deliver a no-uncertain-terms message to a young spurned lover? And perhaps, Buggie, you can tell us whether you have any information, however poorly sourced, about whether or not Monica has ever visited Afghanistan.
B-E, BR-WWASVB: This is more than unusual! This is an outrage! The President complains about the price of Ken Starr’s investigation! Do you know how much it costs to keep a warship in the Arabian Sea! And those missiles! They’re not cheap, either! In one day, the President spent more money than Ken Starr could spent in a year! Who cares if Monica was ever in Albania!
SSIMM: You mean Afghanistan.
B-E, BR-WWASVB: Whatever! This is the lowest point in world history! The President is worse than Caligula because this time his advisers aren’t horses, they’re horse’s asses. Ah! Quick, call an ambulance! Get the straitjacket!
SSIMM: Well, that’s all we have time for. Thank you all for saying exactly what we would expect you to say. Coming up next on MSNBC, we have a prime-time special, Wars and Roses: When Armed Conflict and Sex Intertwine . Be sure to tune in.