Gary Condit’s prime time

So, after more than 100 days of saying nothing in public about his relationship with Chandra Levy, Gary Condit goes on ABC’s Prime Time with Connie Chung and proceeds to continue to say nothing. It was the verbal equivalent of silence, accompanied by a rhetorical nose thumbing to Ms. Levy, her family, the police, Condit’s constituents and anyone within earshot.

If the Modesto voters, out of stupidity or amorality, re-elect Condit after that performance, they deserve him. Moreover, they might then consider a vote on secession. He taints all of us.

He not only denied that he lied to Mrs. Levy over the nature of his relationship with her daughter, he attributed such an impression to her misunderstanding of what he told her. He even had the effrontery to use the Levy family as a shield to ward off Chung’s questions about his relationship with Ms. Levy by saying he was honoring their “specific request” that he spare everyone the truth.

For good measure, he labeled Anne Marie Smith, who says she is a former paramour, an opportunist looking for her “15 minutes of fame.”

As for that affidavit sent her requesting her written denial of a sexual relationship between them, that was not a suborning of anything — merely a bunch of lawyer-to-lawyer yada yada.

To this day, asserted Condit, he remains “puzzled” at how so many folks — from the Levys and Chandra’s Aunt Linda Zamsky to Smith and former aide Joleen McKay to the D.C. police — can get so many details wrong about how he has comported himself and what he has said.

It was an hour-long exercise in giving scoundrel a bad name. And for the first time in memory, it was the media who we were empathizing with — even in the person of someone married to Maury Povich.

As a public relations ploy, the interview was a disaster. Condit apologized for nothing, merely acknowledging that he was not exempt from the human condition, for he too had made “mistakes,” albeit unnamed, in his life.

Indeed.

It was quintessentially Clintonesque, chapter and verse. Remember Bill Clinton admitting to “60 Minutes” in 1992 that he surely had “caused pain” in his marriage. That was his “answer” to a question about his involvement with Gennifer Flowers.

Enough to make us all nostalgic for the credibility and candor of Ted Kennedy’s moving mea culpa over Chappaquiddick.

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