Media mavens resolve to make predictions

Media mavens resolve to make predictions

Barnes: "Since Eve, in the Garden of Eden, no woman has had such an impact on society, inadvertently, as Monica Lewinsky. She changed what all of us talk about, at least for all of 1998, a lot of talk about sex. She forever changed the way the Clinton Administration will be seen. She ruined the legacy of the President." (FNC, 1/2) "Most Defining Political Moment" "Worst Lie"

A new year always inspires the media to produce awards and recaps for the year gone by, and predictions for the one ahead. ABC's Nightline led the way with its usual group of crystal-ball analysts. Like most other news shows, Nightline focused on what will happen to Bill Clinton.

  • GOP strategist Mary Matalin: "He's not going anywhere."
  • Ex-New York Post editor Jerry Nachman: "I think he's going to resign."
  • Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page: "Clinton will survive without censure."
  • What happens in the 2000 presidential campaign?
  • Matalin: "Al Gore is going to put Hillary Clinton on his ticket."
  • Nachman: "I think I'm going to have to go with Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Albert Gore."
  • Page: "George Bush and Al Gore." (Nightline, ABC, 12/30)
Whipping His Way to #1

William Schneider of CNN and National Journal offered his Top 10 Political Plays of '98:

10. Jesse "The Body" Ventura's win in Minnesota
9. Paula Jones' settlement
8. Monica Lewinsky's immunity deal
7. Democrat Gray Davis' victory as California governor
6. The Republican Senate's nixing of tobacco legislation, health maintenance organization reform, and campaign finance reform
5. Hustler's Larry Flynt's paying for "dirt on politicians," and hitting "pay dirt."
4. The Democrats' successes in the '98 elections
3. The Bush brothers' victories in Texas and Florida
2. "The sanctification of Hillary"
1. House Majority Whip Tom D. DeLay, R-Texas. Said Schneider: "He impeached the President. Quite a play. The political play of the year." (Inside Politics, 1/1)

Best of the 'Boys'

The Fox News Channel's Beltway Boys, Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke, had their own year-end awards.

  • "Forgotten but Not Gone" Award: House Majority Leader Richard K. Armey, R-Texas
  • "Gone and Forgotten" Award: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
  • "Truth-Teller of the Year" Award: Former U.N. Arms Inspector Scott Ritter
  • "Makeover of the Year" Award: Hillary Rodham Clinton
  • "Phoenix" Award: Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr
  • "Winner of the Year": House Majority Whip Tom D. DeLay, R-Texas
  • "Loser of the Year": President Clinton
  • "Person of the Year": Monica Lewinsky.

Best of the Group'

From the McLaughlin Group:

"Biggest Winner of the Year:"

  • Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page: "Barbara Walters. She got the exclusive Monica interview."
  • MSNBC political analyst Lawrence O'Donnell: "Saddam Hussein, who has continued to defy the mightiest military power on earth and pay no price."
  • John McLaughlin: "Dual award. Former President George Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush, proud parents of the Fabulous Bush Boys."
  • Pat Buchanan: " 'I'm only going to say this once. I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.' "
  • Newsweek's Eleanor Clift: "President Clinton's televised grand jury testimony, which allowed Americans to see, in its entirety, a man being asked questions nobody should be asked and shouldn't be expected to answer."
  • Page: "That depends on what your definition of 'is' is. . . . Bill Clinton's ['98] State of the Union address, which turned around the polls."
  • McLaughlin: "The Clinton stain on the Lewinsky blue dress. The stain changed the course of history in this sick saga."
  • Buchanan: "The worst lie is, 'All I can recall is that at one point she brought me some pizza.' "
  • Clift: "Linda Tripp telling Monica Lewinsky: 'This is just between you and me. And by the way, that blue dress makes you look fat. And don't dry-clean it.' "
  • Page: "I think it was when Monica said, 'What's that double clicking I keep hearing?' And Linda's saying, 'Oh, I was just chewing gum.' "
  • McLaughlin: "Hillary Clinton's description to White House aide Sidney Blumenthal, describing her husband's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, namely that the President was simply, quote, 'Ministering to a troubled young person.' Minister Clinton in the White House." (McLaughlin Group, 12/26)
Best of the 'Gang'

CNN's Capital Gang also had some year-end awards, including one for "The Most Valuable Performer for the Year 1998:"

  • Chicago Sun-Times' Bob Novak: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill.
  • Humorist Mark Russell: Vernon Jordan and Ambassador Bill Richardson, who "ran the most aggressive jobs program since the Great Society"
  • Time's Margaret Carlson: George Mitchell
  • The Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt: Former Lewinsky attorney Bill Ginsburg
  • CNN's Mark Shields: Hillary Clinton (12/26)
Philosophy 101

Other pressies and pundits also couldn't stop musing about the Clinton scandal:

  • Columnist Art Buchwald: "I believe this country has gone completely berserk. When I'm watching television, and Dan Rather says to me, 'In 15 minutes, we will have a vote on the impeachment of the President of the United States, the first one since Andrew Johnson,' and they go to a Jets game, that's crazy." (Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields, CNN, 12/26)
  • Newsweek's Howard Fineman, on 1998: "A year I'd rather forget but never will, and I think the country would just as soon forget, but never will." (Hardball With Chris Matthews, CNBC, 1/1)
  • The Weekly Standard's David Tell: "I think the President is cosmically irredeemable, in historical terms, and I also think that after the most unsettling year in a quarter-century, Washington is so exhausted that the chances of anything dramatic happening in domestic policy are next to nil." (Special Report, FNC, 1/1)
  • Historian Douglas Brinkley: "It seems to me that it's been a long play, an American passion play, and it kind of petered out in December when they finally put the 'I' on Bill Clinton's chest. Meaning the Republicans got their hunt . . . and all this Senate trial seems to be is some way to kind of wrap it all up where it doesn't embarrass the Republicans or the Democrats any more than the whole affair already has." (The Crier Report, FNC, 12/30)
  • GOP pollster Kellyanne Fitzpatrick: "Like 1968, 1998 is the year that separates past from future. There are many things that history will look back on in this year that really made it a transitional time for this country." (Hardball, CNBC, 1/1)
Gibson in Charge

President Clinton's critics have a new hot seat on TV. MSNBC's John Gibson, a longtime host of the all-news channel's day-shift shows, has moved to prime time to host White House in Crisis. In his first shows of the year, Gibson mercilessly grilled two of Clinton's harshest foes: House Judiciary Committee members Christopher B. Cannon, R-Utah, and Bob Barr, R-Ga. Such guests usually get a friendlier reception from all-news TV hosts, who tend to give Clinton supporters the roughest treatment.

"We'll be sitting somebody in the hot seat every night and saying, 'Here's the difficult question for you,' " Gibson told The Hotline. He said he doesn't know whether the President should stay on, but added that he does have a problem with Republican tactics such as "using secret evidence of the President's sex life" to sway lawmakers against him. House Majority Whip Tom D. DeLay, R-Texas, has said the secret files could win votes in the Senate. Gibson contended: "I don't think anybody should be removing a President with maneuvers like that."


"Forget the Y2K problem for the millennium just now. Are you ready for the fast-spreading Campaign 2000 bug?"-Dan Rather (CBS Evening News, 1/4)

"I am considering it seriously, yes."-Elizabeth Dole on running for President (This Morning, CBS, 1/5)

"If they vote me in, I guess I'd have to."-Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura on whether he would serve if elected President (Associated Press, 1/5)

"I think most serious candidates would defer to her because on several issues she has shown more political knowledge and courage than any first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt."-Rev. Al Sharpton on speculation that Hillary Rodham Clinton would run for the U.S. Senate from New York in 2000 (New York Post, 1/5)

"This thing's going to be a piece of cake!"-Jerry Brown, in his inaugural speech as mayor of Oakland, Calif. (Reuters, 1/5)