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Jewish World Review / August 14, 1998 / 22 Menachem-Av, 5758

Paul Greenberg

Paul Greenberg Department of deja vu

NOW THAT THE AMERICAN ARMADA has left the neighborhood, Iraq's Saddam Hussein has reneged on his oh-so-solemn agreement to allow the United Nations to inspect his hiding places for toxic weapons and the missiles with which to deliver them.

Is anybody surprised?

I have the strangest sensation that all this has happened before, maybe because it has. This is what comes of not fixing a problem right the first time.

It's not clear whether we're back in the roaring '20s or the demoralizing '70s, or some other period of aimless drift, but the nondescript '90s have a familiar, and ominous, feel. As if we've seen this before. And it's both unsettling and boring. A fellow with mental problems I once knew put it this way: `` It gets boring not having peace of mind all the time.''

The recognition grows that, behind this president's formidable electoral skills and remarkable ability to turn sentiment on and off, a great country is being led by someone whose only great skill is at twisting and turning. Bill Clinton's ways bring to mind not Jefferson or Franklin Roosevelt, his own party's icons, but Harding and Nixon. (Who says he's partisan?) I keep looking for flappers and flasks to make a comeback any day.

If Ron Ziegler suddenly reappears to tell us all how Richard Nixon would have handled this latest embarrassment at the White House -- it lacks sufficient dignity to call it a crisis -- it'll be time to scream. Not that it would do any good. Sometimes it feels as if the news was on a continuous loop. It's as if the story won't stop going round and round till we learn the moral.


8/12/98: The French would understand
8/10/98: A fable: The Rat in the Corner
8/07/98: Welcome to the roaring 90s
8/06/98: No surprises dept. -- promotion denied
8/03/98: Quotes of and for the week: take your pick
7/29/98: A subpoena for the president:
so what else is new?
7/27/98: Forget about Bubba, it's time to investigate Reno
7/23/98: Ghosts on the roof, 1998
7/21/98: The new elegance
7/16/98: In defense of manners
7/13/98: Another day, another delay: what's missing from the scandal news
7/9/98:The language-wars continue
7/7/98:The new Detente
7/2/98: Bubba in Beijing: history does occur twice
6/30/98: Hurry back, Mr. President -- to freedom
6/24/98: When Clinton follows Quayle's lead
6/22/98: Independence Day, 2002
6/18/98: Adventures in poli-speke

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate