Starr Must Examine the Viagra Threat

Robert Scheer is a Times contributing editor. E-mail:

It is imperative that Kenneth Starr extend his Whitewater investigation to include the Viagra conspiracy, which is threatening to tear apart the moral fabric of this country. Otherwise, the sex drive that Starr finds so disturbing in Clinton will become the national norm.

The news that Pfizer Inc. has developed a little blue pill that can make men potent must be treated with alarm by all right-thinking people. The infusion of a bit of nitric oxide as a muscle relaxant to increase the flow of blood to an appendage of the body may sound innocuous, but it’s not to those who stand in ever vigilant guard over the declining moral virtues of this once great country. Certainly the lesson of the White House scandals is that potent males are a menace to modern civilization.

This is a conspiracy worthy of the attention of millions in tax-deductible dollars paid to private investigators in the Whitewater probe by the omnipresent Richard Mellon Scaife foundations. And whatever they turn up should form the basis of Starr’s investigation. What evil forces lie behind this plot to increase the potency of American males? Hasn’t the male sex drive caused enough trouble without the assistance of drugs? Did Pfizer get loans from Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan?

Or is it Chinese money that is underwriting this subversive campaign? Ever since sex replaced communism as the main threat to national security, Americans who love this country have been on guard against male potency. Concerns about the Asian bailout, child welfare and adequate medical care have been shoved aside in order for the nation to focus fully on the war on sex.


The good news is that an estimated 30 million American males are naturally impotent, providing an indispensable leadership cadre for a strong America. The bad news, alleged in that groundbreaking “60 Minutes” exclusive interview with Kathleen Willey, is that President Clinton is capable of being aroused. No longer can we safely assume that our top leaders are impervious to the dreaded scourge of sexual excitement.

The problem isn’t new. We’ve had potent presidents before. But we were lulled into a false sense of security by the once liberal media. For example, John F. Kennedy was a truly dangerous president, given what we now know of his active libido, but the public was kept unaware of this perfidious threat at the time.

Indeed, judging by our current high moral standards, it is amazing that this country managed to climb out of the Great Depression and win World War II with a philanderer like Franklin Roosevelt at the helm, not to mention the rumored bisexual escapades of his first lady. But what can you expect from a country whose founding fathers were most typically philanderers? Don’t even get me started on that randy Jefferson fellow.

Fortunately, in recent years we, as a people, came to our senses. The answer was to elect older, and to put it politely, more settled men. One out of three men over 60 is safely impotent, suggesting they are better suited for high office. No one ever thought to accuse Richard Nixon or Ronald Reagan of endangering the presidency through extramarital liaisons. (Yes, some scurrilous rumors were placed against George Bush, but the media quite logically dismissed them as absurd.)


But the reign of men in their sunset years could not last. The baby boomers have insisted on electing one of their own and the disastrous consequence of that decision to entrust the fate of this nation to a man still capable of sexual excitement has proved disastrous. Now, thanks to the diligent Starr investigation, we know just how unsettling an experience it would be for this nation to ever again select a president who is potent.

Clearly, future presidential candidates will be expected to provide medical proof that sexual interest is a distant memory. However, given the Viagra conspiracy, can we ever know for sure that a candidate who appears spent will remain inert in that trustworthy condition? What male would resist the temptation to thrill once again to the youthful desires now made possible by a $7 pill?

Of course, the alternative would be to select a woman as president. As the Starr investigation has confirmed, no woman ever initiates, welcomes or enjoys sexual contact. Women, it must therefore be assumed, are blessed with innate impotence.

But now we learn that Pfizer intends to explore the effectiveness of Viagra as a stimulant to the sexual appetites of women as well. Have they no shame? If both men and women are made sexually potent, where will our next generation of leaders come from?