Nobody won this week, unless you take into account the last living being named in this column. That's the official word. Have the instant historians been hasty?
All agree Gray Davis lost. Though now they say that was to be expected. He's always been a loser. He's never groped nor ever been groped. He shouldn't have been where he was in the first place, though with his physique it was easy to slip through the cracks. Good riddance to someone who made libs and Dems look bad. Not even Barbara Boxer tried to date him. The city of Richmond better watch out: a few remaining loyalists are expected to call for a statue of our last Confederately named public servant to be put up among the lost causes on Monument Row.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an even bigger loser. His movie career is kaput. Instead of gropable costars on rowdy movie sets he'll be spending his next years in the company of John Burton, Cruz Bustamante, Jim Brulte, and Gerry Parsky. His TV show will be called "Ost Wing." In his spare time he'll be a Scoutmaster. He'll often appear at Sacramento Rotary Club luncheons. He'll probably go into the winery bed and breakfast business. Eventually he'll be asked (though not by Sacramento Kings' fans) to pardon Kobe Bryant?
That could be of interest to another epic loser, the prototypical groper Bill Clinton who until the last week of Recall 2003 thought he was home free. But that was before the conservatively biased mainstream press that made his presidency so problematic decided to drop its big one on Arnold, probing into the actor's personal indecencies going back to at least 1975. If Arnold was fair game, Bill was dead meat. Juanita Broaddrick is back in his life and is destined to remain so until for the first time in his life he does the manly thing and faces matters squarely.
That's some Democratic Party if its top figure goes into hiding in the final days of a critical election. Can you imagine how bad Gray Davis had to feel on election night to know he'd been abandoned by his key ally and would-be savior and then realize that the only national Democrat in his corner was Jesse Jackson, who normally appears uninvited only at funerals?
Notice no one is blaming Ms. Hillary for staying away from Gray. Her motives were more complicated. Going one on one with Maria Shriver wouldn't have been as easy as exchanging a kissing with Mrs. Arafat. Public displays of genuine affection do not come easily to the Republican-raised New York senatress, who has yet to stroke her husband the way Ms. Shriver does hers.
But there was another upsetting problem in Ms. Hillary's life. Her good friends and supporters in the Beijing government were releasing the Chinese edition of her fabulous book, Living History, in bowdlerized form, so that innocent Oriental ears would not catch wind of Ms. Hillary's salty language, her description of lamp throwing as a liberating activity, or the profuse thanks she includes in her noteworthy acknowledgments to Johnny Chung, Charlie Trie and their controllers in the Chinese military and intelligence services. As a defender of free (so to speak) speech, Ms. Hillary found consolation in the Beijing authorities' decision to allow her remarks about The American Spectator as a "right-wing propaganda publication" to remain intact in the Chinese edition (though if re-translated to English probably would include "running dog extremist vermin" somewhere in the phrase).
Not all news is fit to print. The Washington Post earlier this week adoringly profiled the sexiest woman no one's ever seen. That would be CIA agent Valerie Plame, the purported wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson who's made it his life's mission to destroy the religious right, neoconservatives, and Karl Rove, not necessarily in that order. It's all fine and good to see the Post's reporters, Richard Leiby and Dana Priest, restore spying as an honorable and exciting profession. But why their sudden secrecy and suppression of evidence? At one point they write: "When [Plame and Wilson] met, in 1997, Wilson held a security clearance as political adviser to the general in charge of the U.S. Armed Forces European Command." Who might that general have been? Wesley Clark? They never tell us. How come? Is this protected information too? Is Wilson still working for Clark?
The conspiracy thickens, at least until our most winning loser makes the scene. Where others sat he stood up and testified to his largeness of soul, a trait inherited from his French forebear Pascal. "There are two ways to have lower prescription drug costs," he said yesterday in debate. "One is, you could hire Rush Limbaugh's housekeeper." The other is you can honor him as our Enemy of the Week. We've always liked John Kerry. Every time he attempts a soundbite it stands up and bites him back.
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