Pat Answers

Schroeder made headlines again two years ago, when she decided twelve terms were enough. She got out while the getting was good. "I would be in a straitjacket if I were there," she says of today's Congress.

Schroeder is now president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers, which is why she's got books on the brain. Copyright issues. Intellectual-property issues. And legal issues--such as those raised by Lewinsky's reading lists.

"What are they going to do next?" asks Schroeder. "Go to Victoria's Secret to see if she wore underwear?"

Although Starr hasn't revealed what he's looking for, presumably he's not out to prove that Lewinsky has very pedestrian tastes (the treacly The Notebook is reportedly among her choices), or even an oral fixation (Nicholas Baker's Vox, nominally about phone sex but really about the power of an author's hip reputation). Last week a judge declined to quash the subpoenas but also ruled that Starr can't see those records without first proving a "compelling need."

That's a win for Schroeder's group. For now.
Political pundits keep wondering where the "feminists" are on the Clinton scandals--but Schroeder's experience at the Abzug service shows exactly where. They're all over the map, just like everyone else. They don't speak with one voice. In fact, Schroeder doesn't speak much about this at all, despite hundreds of entreaties from reporters. When Schroeder last week tossed off one of those throwaway quips about whether Clinton's aides should have asked him if he was a sex addict, the media reported it "totally distorted and out of context," she says.

So today, when reporters and talk-show hosts call, she doesn't always answer. But then, she no longer has to answer to them, to us. Remember?

Still, after the Lewinsky saga went public in January, Schroeder added a hasty postscript: "Reporters, TV producers and friends from all over the country were asking the same question: 'What do you think?' The truth is, I didn't know what to think...And then I realized: I don't have the answer right now."

Pure Schroeder, for once without a Pat answer.

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