got to a blow job. Any questions?”
Jonah begins this weeks column:
If you think American politics have gotten nastier, crueler and more symbolic over the last 20 years, blame Ted Kennedy.
Actually, no. Let’s look at…Jonah Goldberg:
Did you think the Clinton scandal was about the fate of the presidency, the fury of the press, the shape of democracy? Actually it’s about Jonah Goldberg’s career plans.
Jonah, agent fatale Lucianne Goldberg’s 29-year-old son, entered the national stage when he listened to the Linda Tripp tapes with his mom. His 6,000-word opus on the subsequent media siege of his mother’s New York apartment was cut to an amusing — but trim — 900-word item that ran in the New Yorker’s Talk of the Town section.
A lesser man’s 15 minutes of fame might have ended there, but Jonah Goldberg was just revving up.
He took to the air: “Nightline,” “Larry King Live,” “Today” to start; soon thereafter “Hardball,” “Crossfire,” “Politically Incorrect,” “Equal Time,” “Good Morning America” and “The NBC Nightly News.” A debate in Slate and a contributing editorship at the conservative National Review followed. This month Goldberg began work on a full-length book about the Clinton affair and his personal involvement with it. The project, Goldberg says, may be a little “‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ type thing about stories peripheral to the scandal.” Movie deals may follow the final book deal, he says.
Most people might find such activity would provide a sufficient outlet for the thoughts, insights and feelings of a bit player in the constitutional crisis that now faces the country. But not Goldberg, who recently quit his job to devote himself full-time to his Lewinsky-related activities.
Goldberg, who is vice-president of his mother’s company, the Goldberg Literary Agency, makes no attempt to conceal his peripheral role in the scandal. “The fun part is my irrelevance,” he says. He characterizes his ascent in purely capitalist terms. “I had information to barter,” he explains, referring to the fact that he actually heard the Tripp tapes. “And when you have information to barter you become a clearinghouse for other information. People want to trade. At one point I had 12 reporters around the country calling me up, cultivating me as a source.” As a result, Goldberg says he’s made some friends.
I should point out that the above article was written back in 1998, the book still isn’t out and Jonah is still irrelevant.