Washington, DC - Sandy Berger, President Clinton's National Security Advisor, continues to be battered by bad news following the discovery of his removal of classified documents from the National Archives.
At a press conference this morning, Joe Lockhart, President Clinton's press secretary, who is serving as Berger's spokesman during this donnybrook, cited some of the many other issues Mr. Berger is facing. "First of all, Mr. Berger does not like being referred to as the ‘Sandburglar', that is just not acceptable," said Lockhart "Especially, when you consider everything else going on in his life."
Mr. Lockhart then preceded to lay out the troubles plaguing the embattled former National Security Advisor. "Yesterday, Mr. Berger's dog, Bubbles, ran away. Bubbles has been a part of the Berger household for seven years and his absence is very, very difficult for the family. Mr. Berger's housekeeper also inadvertently placed a red sock into a load or white laundry - this has resulting in many of his white shirts becoming pink. I don't have to tell you how annoying that is.
"Also, while working in his yard this morning, Mr. Berger bent over to pick up a spade and tore his pants. This exposed his underpants to the gaggle of reporters milling around his home. Did I mention he locked his keys in the car?" Lockhart's litany went on for nearly forty minutes and highlighted a highly dubious series of misfortunes.
In addition to the examples cited above, Mr. Berger also learned that his homeowner's insurance premium would be increasing, that his local grocer was out of stock of his favorite Lean Cuisine frozen entrees, that his subscription to Reader's Digest had lapsed and that he would not be receiving a pet monkey, as requested, for his birthday.
"That goll-durned monkey is all Sandy's been talking about lately," said a friend who asked that his name not be used. "I don't know what's gotten into him, but since Reagan's death, he's been going on about how badly he wants a pet chimp. It's obviously connected to the whole Bedtime for Bonzo thing but damn if I can figure out why."
Actress Betty White, a noted animal activist and the author of "Pet Love" had some thoughts on Mr. Berger and his obsession with monkeys. "The primates are so close to humans in so many ways that they are seen as surrogate selves for people in times of trouble. For many, they come to represent the self in its most primitive state - the self in an almost idyllic state. I think that for Sandy, it may be that the death of President Reagan touched something deep, deep in his soul. I believe that all of this nonsense with these silly documents is a symptom of a deeper disease. The cure my friends is simple, get the man his monkey."
When asked for his thoughts on the press conference, Marlin Fitzwater, press secretary for Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush, shook his head. "I think this is a pretty crazy strategy. I understand that Sandy would like to deflect attention from his current problems, but this list seems to be a bit much. The only credible rationale I can think of is that Sandy is trying to lay the grounds for a potential insanity defense if it gets to that point."
Several prominent Washington-area attorneys contacted for background felt that an insanity defense would be a risky approach for Mr. Berger to take. "In some ways," said one attorney that asked her name not be used, "his actions tell that story louder than Mr. Lockhart's words. While his actions may seem crazy though, I think they will be seen as craven by most people."
Accosted outside a Denny's restaurant in suburban Maryland by several reporters who had been shadowing him, Mr. Berger was pressed for response and reactions to the day's developments. "Aaaagh, ooog, ooog, ooog," shouted Mr. Berger, with bits of pancake flying, partially chewed, from his mouth, "Urk, ooo, ooo, ahhahhah."
"Whatever else may be happening," laughed Mr. Lockhart when told of Mr. Berger's behavior, "it is good to see that Sandy has not lost his sense of humor."