Monday, December 17, 2018

Behind Closed Doors

There is a moment in the James Cameron film True Lies when Jamie Lee Curtis comes to the realization (spoiler alert) that her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a spy. And he has killed a a number of people.To which Arnold adds, "Yeah, but they were all bad."
It is this kind of assurance that makes the goings-on in the White House so much easier to take. The "President" says that his former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is just doing all this talking about hush money and affairs with strippers "to embarrass me." Somewhere in this mix is the disappointment the "President" has for the way his previously trusty fixer is now ratting him out in public. Which tends to undercut his embarrassment, which is an emotion that our "President" seems incapable of anyway.
I'm wondering if Richard Nixon was embarrassed by John Dean.
Or wanted him dead.
Now legal experts are suggesting that all of these tawdry goings-on are not enough to impeach anyone. Even a philanderer and serial liar.
Which makes me wonder where on this slippery slope we can actually call "the bottom." Bill Clinton was impeached for lying about an extra-marital affair. Okay, it was a little more complex than that, but it was the thing that stuck. That was twenty years ago. And continues to stick. That was about the time when we started to learn way too much about the private lives of our chief executives. For years, it had been kind of cool to think that JFK had been canoodling with Marilyn Monroe, and that FDR had a mistress. Then the mental pictures started to form: That elaborate network of back braces that Jack Kennedy had to negotiate before intimacy. The generally floppy nature of the lower half of Franklin Roosevelt's body.
Thanks to social media and a twenty-four hour news cycle, we have become privy to way too many details of the current "President's" special moments. All of which is not, we are reminded, collusion. It's just really icky.
And disappointing.

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