An Affair To Remember?

And so it begins: This week, Congress launches a formal inquiry into whether or not President Clinton should be impeached or punished in some as yet undefined way.

It will be a while before we know what Congress intends to do, but already we can begin to see the outlines of what may be in store for the characters in this drama, a drama that has managed in one way or another to diminish all who have been touched by it.

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Maybe the president will be impeached, maybe he won't, but he must wonder if he'll ever be remembered now as anything more than the central figure in a dirty joke. When you spent your whole life trying to become president, that must be the hard part.

Monica Lewinsky, the sad kid who fell in love with a married man, will get her place in history, too, alongside the famous courtesans and wronged women of the past. Perhaps she'll write a paragraph as the one who never slept with her lover.

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr's friends say he dreamed of being appointed to the Supreme Court. But as the man who brought meaning to the phrase your tax dollars at work, no doubt that will not happen.

The lawyers on the other side must now come to the realization that they will never be paid all that they are owed.

And then there's Linda Tripp. Before she fades into history, my guess is you'll see her face at a lot of Halloween parties.

Written by Bob Schieffer