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TAKE THREE / Three Views of the Southland | PATT MORRISON

How Bush's Pork Saved Clinton's Bacon

January 30, 1998|PATT MORRISON

Therapist: Good morning, Mr. President . . . gentlemen. Now, if you Secret Service men are planning to stay in here during this session, I'll have to charge double. And if you think an L.A. haircut is expensive, wait till you get the bill from an L.A. therapist. Just a little sally to break the ice. Now Mr. President--

President Clinton: Please, call me Bill.

Therapist: All right . . . Bill. Let me shut this door. Fine. If you'll just lie down there, relax and get comfortable, maybe we can start to come to some understanding of what's going on here with all this.

Clinton: I appreciate that. You know, I've shared the pain of the American people so often and so deeply in these past five years, it'll be a different experience for me to share my own pain with a professional such as yourself.

Therapist: Yes, well. Perhaps a good place for us to start is for you to tell me about the genesis of your, shall we say, sexual attitudes.

Clinton: My friends think it's the JFK thing. You know, I met President Kennedy once, at Boys Nation. Have you seen that picture? I have it here in my wallet if you'd like to--oh, you have? Anyway, they think I've always had this need to do JFK one better--better economy, better foreign policy. I even honeymooned in Acapulco, like he did. And so they think I must subconsciously want to rack up the kind of sex life he had.

Therapist: And what do you think?

Clinton: I believe I'm way ahead of him on the economy and foreign policy, but where I think I can really trump him is if I can bring Cuba back into the fold.

Therapist: I mean about sexual competition.

Clinton: Oh. Hard to say. I mean, Marilyn Monroe is dead.

*

Therapist: Let's work on this Lewinsky matter. If you do have to go to court, do you think you could tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

President: You mean all three?

Therapist (sighing): Let's try another tack, shall we? Let's consider the possibility of your being in denial on some of this. For instance, the hairsplitting about marijuana. Now, given what you've told me about your sexual behavior, how is it you felt you could credibly deny a relationship with Gennifer Flowers?

President: Now, why don't people understand that? She said we had a 12-year affair, and that was flat-out untrue. It lasted just a shade over 10 1/2 years.

*

Therapist: What about your father's relationships with women?

President: This always comes out sounding like some country-Western song--my real father marrying and divorcing all these women and then getting killed in a car wreck three months before I was born, and my stepdaddy drinking and running around on my mom all the time.

Therapist: And that makes you the adult child of an alcoholic. I'm sure you've heard of that pattern, that syndrome: The child grows up wanting to please everybody. If I can use a Republican phrase, sir, is that why you don't just say "no" to all these women?

Clinton: Now that could be. You want to be nice, give people what they want, not hurt anybody's feelings. It's just the way I am. It doesn't really mean anything--just being obliging. Like going down a rope line, shaking hands. It takes so little to make people happy. Well, I don't mean little in that way, doc. . . .

Therapist: So to you, it's rather like shaking hands. I see.

*

Therapist: What if you confined this urge to simply fantasizing--treat it like a kind of mental hobby. Who would this extend to?

Clinton: Hoo, boy, let's see. Lady NBA referees. The four-to-midnight girl at the McDonald's drive-up window. Women in underwear ads in the Sunday papers. Donna Shalala. The cast of--say, that picture on your desk, who is that?

Therapist: That's my wife.

Clinton: Boy, she's really something.

Therapist: Uh, thank you. I think so too.

Clinton: See what I mean? I cannot help myself. If there were a 12-step program, I'd be there--you know, where they stand up and say, my name is Bill, and I'm a sexaholic or whatever you'd call it. And let me tell you, doctor, I could name names in this town of men who'd be there too if they were honest with--

Therapist: Now we may be onto something here. Mr. President, do you remember in 1990, President Bush signing that disabilities rights bill?

Clinton: Of course, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and my administration has been especially vigorous about enforcing the--

Therapist: Many nonphysical conditions can qualify for protection: personality disorders, depression. If I believe your sexual addiction to be a disability, that means you're entitled to job protection. You can't be fired. You can't be forced to quit.

Clinton (opening the door and summoning an agent): Steve, call Bob Bennett. Have McCurry set up a press conference. Doctor, if this works I'll invite you to the next state dinner. And be sure to bring your wife, hear?

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