Dishing with Lucianne Goldberg, The Den Mother of The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread

When Lucianne Goldberg, the Vikingesque New York literary agent turned Clinton nemesis turned web hostess extraordinaire, chortled, early in the Clinton administration, that a White House secretary was willing to come forward to reveal the secret sex life of the leader of the free world, the future editor of TWQ rolled her eyes in disbelief. She lived to recognize a simple truth: When Luci speaks, you'd better listen. Lucianne is an expert on the foibles of the human heart. Remember how she got Monica Lewinsky to keep that semen-stained Gap dress in its-er-pristine condition? Lewinsky was on the verge of sending the outfit to the evidence-destroying cleaners before a party. Canny Luci told Linda Tripp, said secretary, to inform image conscious Lewinsky that the historic frock made her look fat. That meant that it was saved for Ken Starr-and for posterity.

Versed in the art of public relations, scandals, and life in general, Lucianne spoke to TWQ Editor Charlotte Hays by phone from her elegant apartment on New York's Upper West Side.

TWQ: Are you watching Hillary? Is she going to run for president?

GOLDBERG: There was a very well-reasoned piece in the Washington Times this morning that laid it out step by step. She has the Clinton money machine, and she's going to have to strike by 2004 or the window of opportunity will slam shut. Because if she doesn't move in 2004 she's going to have to run for the Senate in 2006 and she may have to run against Rudy Giuliani, and God save her. It ain't going to be prostate cancer time this time. She'll lose, and there goes everything down the drain, because she must run for president as a senator. I say she'll run. I think she can take the nomination away from Al Gore because it's her money machine. Gore just borrowed it for his campaign and screwed it up.

TWQ: Will she carry the women's vote?

GOLDBERG: No. It's one thing to cut her a lot of slack when her husband is cheating on her and when she's first lady. It's another to think of her as president of this country. As much as women like to applaud other women and celebrate their victories, they don't want them to win that big.

TWQ: You don't think that Senator Daschle will run?

GOLDBERG: No. We wouldn't be able to see him, he's so tiny. It's very hard to run with a four-foot soapbox under your arm.

TWQ: Congressman Richard Gephardt?

GOLDBERG: Oh, God. I don't know. Gephardt, moan, groan. One of the dullest white men in public life.

TWQ: After the Clintons, do you find the Bush administration boring?

GOLDBERG: Listen, after the Clinton administration, World War III would be boring. I started in politics with Kennedy, and those were excruciatingly exciting days because the Kennedys were so glamorous. Though she was a bit dim, Jackie dressed beautifully, looked beautiful, and entertained like nothing we had ever seen. Then it was a vast wasteland for years and years and years and years. And then came the Clintons. We had a different kind of excitement with the Clintons. It was trailer trash excitement. Every day there was something outrageous. By that time, I was in the sort of semi-media business as an agent handling writers. And, I mean, I knew good copy. When I woke up in the morning I didn't have to read anything except the Clinton stuff, and I had a day's work done.

TWQ: How do you rate the Bush administration at this point?

GOLDBERG: Well, I'm really not one to judge because I have been very pro-Bush from the beginning. I will tell you very frankly, setting his politics aside, that what sold me on him as a person is that during the campaign he talked about Jesus. I thought, this man's been in AA. Now, he's never admitted it, but he had the language of AA down. Anyone who has been that far down that he needed to go to AA, and was saved by AA, has got to be a good man. I liked it that he was religious. I liked it that he was a believer. No drunk gives up that stuff because they hate it. To give up something you love for a higher calling is magnificent. I thought, that's the guy we've got to have.

TWQ: I would subscribe to the idea that Bush gave up demon rum without a twelve-step program. I want to ask you about some women in the news. Is Martha Stewart handling her problems the same way a man would?

GOLDBERG: No, she's not. She's handling them like somebody who's scared. This is a paradox. Here's a woman who through sheer grit has created a billion dollar empire. She's taught middle-class women about taste, the clueless ones like myself. She taught them how to make things pretty. She didn't invent white-out or the hula-hoop or a better pair of sneakers. She invented style. It is miraculous that somebody clever enough to do that curls up like a slug in the garden the minute she gets in really serious, going-to-jail-type trouble. She just goes silent. She goes panicky. She has stories put out that they're going to blame this little assistant. This clueless little assistant. She's paying a fortune for public relations and it's not doing her any good.

TWQ: What should she do?

GOLDBERG: I once had to ask myself that question with about fifteen minutes before having to answer and I had half the world media waiting in the lobby of my apartment building. The story had broken on Drudge and then subsequently in the Washington Post that President Clinton had a girlfriend and that there was an agent in New York City who had explicit tapes of conversations with the girlfriend. I had to decide whether I was going to curl up in a ball, face that thundering herd, or send a spokenoid down to deal with it. And I thought, look, I'm telling the truth. I have nothing to hide. This won't be comfortable, but it won't be the most painful thing in the world. I'm going to walk down there and tell them what I know. And I ended up for almost two years of my life repeating over and over and over again what I knew because Ken Starr grabbed Linda Tripp and took her into hiding. I was never permitted to speak to her again. Most people don't know that. So I was out there by myself-thank God, with a wonderful supportive family and friends around me that cushioned some of it, but it was brutal. But, if you know you're telling the truth, you're going to be okay. Perhaps the truth for Martha Stewart is, "Look, I meant no harm, I'm on the airplane going off on vacation and I get word that this stock I own is going in the dumpster, and I called and sold it." And if Congress slaps her cheeks and says, well, that's insider trading, she just says, "So who knew? I didn't know. And if this is a big bad thing, I'll take my hits." If she says this, those guys aren't going to do anything to her, she's a girl. [Cackles]

TWQ: Our mutual friend, Joan Mower, and I were talking about how conservatives handle the media. They invest the hacks with too much power. It's sort of like a dog-if you're afraid of a dog, it bites you.

GOLDBERG: Well, I think we have a whole new breed of conservatives who do handle the media well. Of course, they're on the performance side. There's Rush Limbaugh. There's Sean Hannity. There's, God knows, Ann Coulter, who kicks butt from here to Kansas. You have David Horowitz, who is not speaking up but yelling. I do think more of an attitude of "come-and-get-me-copper" works, if you know you're right.

TWQ:Why did Kathleen Kennedy Townsend have so much trouble with her campaign for governor of Maryland?

GOLDBERG: She ran a very tiresome campaign. I think she's a tiresome person. She was born a Kennedy, but she's a Kennedy woman. And the Kennedy women just don't have the flash and flare that the Kennedy men do. They're sort of like cardinals-the males are all scarlet and beautiful, and the females are little brown hens. I think that's the case here. She reminds me a lot of Ethel when she talks. And Ethel was not the beauty of the Kennedy clan. Kathleen ran a lackluster campaign and she doesn't engage people. I think it's personality more than anything.

TWQ: What's the secret of Ann Coulter? She says anything and gets by with it.

GOLDBERG: Skinny and blond. [Laughter] Skinny, blond, and smart-and she laughs a lot. Laughter is a great, great accessory, but when you've got long blond hair to flip while you're doing it, you're way ahead of the game.

TWQ: How about Janet Reno's unsuccessful race to be governor of Florida?

GOLDBERG: Poor old Janet Reno. I wonder if she's doing Eskimo rolls in that kayak. She claims she could do that. [Laughter] I never believed it. I was glad to see her soundly trounced. She'll still have her red pickup truck, and life will go on. It's over, Janet. Go home.

TWQ: Do you feel sorry for Monica?

GOLDBERG: Yeah, I see her around town a lot and I see the reactions that she gets from the world. She desperately wants attention. She craves it. But, yeah, I do feel sorry for Monica because I don't think she gets the kind of attention she always wanted. She gets a salacious kind of attention. But she'll find some nice dentist and marry him, and she'll be okay.

TWQ: Do you think Bush advisor Karen Hughes did the right thing in going back to Texas?

GOLDBERG: Absolutely. Family first no matter what. Because, boy, in the end, that's all there is.

TWQ: Do you like Maureen Dowd's column at the New York Times?

GOLDBERG: I think she is wasting what once was a great talent. Well, I can't say great, but something has happened to Maureen. She's crossed that great divide between being a Pulitzer prize-winner and a hack. There's no need to read her anymore. She's not going to tell me anything that won't make me angry.

TWQ: I read every morning. What's the key to this successful website? Who are your fans?

GOLDBERG: People who want the news in a hurry. I only put up a tiny percentage of the stories that are posted on the site. People across the country pick articles themselves, and they put them up. It's all done by like-minded people. They come to the site because they wanted to be with like-minded people. We are several pages deep, but I can run my eye down the front page and get an idea of whether it's lively or not and whether there are articles that people really want to read. If there aren't, I go find them and post them up myself.

TWQ: Who's your favorite male political columnist?

GOLDBERG: Michael Kelly and Charles Krauthammer. Michael Kelly is kind of a fighting Irish; he doesn't take any prisoners. He just says it like it is. Krauthammer cuts through all the mess. If you want to understand an issue, all you gotta do is read one Krauthammer column on the subject, and you've got it.

TWQ: What's your favorite newspaper?

GOLDBERG: Oh, golly. The New York Post. I like its attitude. I like its in- your-face attitude. It gives you just enough of the news. It has a sense of humor. It's feisty. It's honest, and you can read it in ten minutes. It doesn't mess up your day.

TWQ: Who's your favorite female columnist?

GOLDBERG: Oh golly. Um...There's a girl named Michelle Malkin. Young, bright, smart. There's another one named Kathleen Parker. They're bright. They're funny. They're tough- minded. I like the young ones. I like the ones who have fight in them, have a good vocabulary, and a good sense of humor.

TWQ: Where do you stand on Iraq?

GOLDBERG: Oh, I think we should go pave it. Blow it off the face of the earth. Just boom, boom, boom. Kill people, break things, get it over with. Take a long weekend and finish the job.

TWQ: Linda Tripp. Do you really think she was motivated by idealism? Wasn't it the desire to publish a book?

GOLDBERG: Everybody knows she first came to me because she wanted to publish a book. But I do know that when she came to me, when she knew about Monica, she was truly in shock, almost Victorian shock. And, yes, I do think she did it out of idealism. She had been in the first Bush White House. She was seeing, day after day, what the Clintons did to the White House and she was just horrified.

TWQ: My tape just ran out.

GOLDBERG: And I have two Cornish game hens that are calling my name to be cooked for dinner.

[found the story in this thread at]

enjoyed it?

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2002


Yes. I'll bet that she's fun to talk with face-to-face -- she seems to have a lot energy and wit.

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2002

She is what we call a "character." She is tall and overweight (about my size) and smokes and doesn't give a damn. She is also ruthless, lol! Did you know she used to be a police officer some lives ago? And she produced Jonah Goldberg, who is the editor of the National Review online. You would be impressed if you knew who read her site regularly--household names. I do not think she was being quite honest about Anne Coulter! (Coulter once wrote something bitchy about Jonah.)

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2002

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