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There She Goes, Miss America

Style Showcase By Tony Kornheiser
Sunday, April 5, 1998; Page F01

In light of the Paula Jones decision, I think I speak for all American men when I say:

I want to be president too.

You can do anything! Hi, I'm the president, say hello to Mister Happy.

I'm no legal expert, but it seems to me Judge Susan Webber Wright's ruling pretty much says, "Let the big dog run."

Is this a great country, or what?

Clinton now can do pretty much as he pleases with whoever pleases him. It doesn't matter who comes out of the woodwork and says, "Bill Clinton nibbled my ear while I was reciting the Lord's Prayer to a visiting group of Belgian nuns." Everybody will believe it, and nobody will care.

It doesn't even matter if he's completely innocent of everything he's been accused of. It all just adds to the legend of his studliness.

Lincoln was called "The Great Emancipator." Reagan was called "The Great Communicator." Historians will look back on President Clinton as the "Commander in Briefs."

Of course, like many Americans, I am deeply troubled about what has happened to the prestigious office of the presidency.

It's shameful that we have grown so accustomed to randy news stories, day after day, about our leader. We've become dismissive of genuine historic breakthroughs. I am not talking about the Paula Jones ruling, which was predictably splashed across the newspaper in type the same size as "SEPTUPLETS BORN TO HICKS!"

I am talking, instead, about the report last week that former Miss America Elizabeth Ward Gracen willingly, happily and eagerly gave it up to Bill Clinton. Gracen was unhappy with folks saying Clinton pressured her to have sex. Au contraire, she said. She was hot to trot.

This was on Page 12 of the newspaper.

Page 12! Behind some story about a skeleton being found near Spokane. Behind a story about the guano-infested Northern Mariana Islands.

Page 12! Thank you, Monica. Thank you, Gennifer. Thank you, Kathleen. You have ruined it for everyone. You have cheapened the notion of Bill Clinton's conquests.

The man bags Miss America, and it only rates A12?

Show some respect, people.

If I scored Miss America, I'd want that on A1, baby! I'd want it out there every day for a week, as a five-part series. Above the fold.

May I remind you: "There she is, Miss America/ Oh, there she is, your ideal . . ." If that only gets Clinton on 12, it makes you wonder who he has to sleep with to get on the front page.


Normally, we don't find out how overheated our presidents were until after they're dead. Sometimes it comes out in a biography, or a John Travolta movie. Or maybe some former lover comes forward to tell her story, though by then she's a hag and nobody cares. But all these stories are about Clinton in his elected prime. The Miss America thing. The stewardess thing -- the recent claim that on a campaign plane Clinton copped a feel while Hillary was snoring a few feet away. Does it never end?

I mean, you could lay these women end to end -- oops, an unfortunate verb -- you could line these women up, and the line would stretch from Washington to

Arkansas. And their hair is so big it blocks out the sun.

And now back to Ms. Paula "My Heart Will Go On" Jones.

For those of you keeping score at home, here are some winners and losers:

Winner: You know him, you love him, you can't live without him . . . Slick Willie.

I'm sure you've heard that when Clinton got the news in Senegal, he celebrated by sucking on a cigar and banging an African bongo drum. How studly! Robert Bly, eat your heart out. In every picture I've seen, Clinton is so happy. (He looks like he just, well, crowned Miss America!)

Don't you wish Clinton would have called a news conference and said, "As I stand here at this lectern, I am reminded of a quote from . . . from . . . Oh, man I'm [expletive] psyched! Anybody want to party?"

Winner: Bob Bennett. Have another sirloin, counselor.

I hear Bennett's next client will be Wilt Chamberlain.

Winner: Monica the Harmonica. She can go in front of the grand jury now and say whatever she wants. That she went to the White House to have sex with the president, that she was only there to feed Buddy, that she was shopping for pantyhose when Ken Starr and a group of nihilists abducted her and forced her to go bowling. It doesn't matter anymore, except to people like . . . me.

Loser: Me. I'm going to miss the joys of the civil discovery process. They were hauling in every woman whose perfume Clinton had ever sniffed. Man, when did the guy have time to govern?

Now I'm going to have to start writing about more substantive issues, stuff I've never addressed before. Like my baldness.

Loser: Paula Jones. Thank you for coming, drive home safely.

I figure she can stay on the talk show circuit for about a month, and then if she's lucky it's, "I'll take Paula Jones to block."

Big Loser: Ken Starr.

You can stop singing hymns now, Ken. It's over. One man's "white lies" are another man's "alternative scenarios."

Will the last one out of the grand jury room please turn off the lights?

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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