Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 4, 2006

ALL CLINTONS, ALL THE TIME....It's been about two weeks since The New York Times ran a 2,000-word analysis, on its front page, about the frequency with which Bill and Hillary Clinton spend evenings and weekends together. The piece pulled off a rare feat: it was as salacious as it was pointless. There was no news; it relied on petty gossip from Clinton "friends"; and it included subtle innuendo about the former president without evidence.

Nevertheless, the Clintons are the Clintons, so a variety of news outlets jumped on the story, especially MSNBC's Chris Matthews, who was nearly driven to hysteria by the report and asked his on-air guests at least 90 questions about the Clintons' marriage since the Times published the piece. David Broder wrote an odd column defending the article, and later said he was "getting killed" by negative reader response. The mess prompted Byron Calame, the Times' "public editor," to address the controversy today.

Over all, I found the article a worthwhile piece of journalism that deserved to be published in The Times. Senator Clinton's unique relationship with the former president is certain to be on many voters' minds if she pursues the presidency, and the article provided an update on where their complicated partnership stands. The focus, appropriately, was on the political calculations by the couple and their advisers, and the tone of the assessment of their personal lives was generally understated and evenhanded.

Perhaps Mr. Calame read a different article than the rest of us, because the defense seems to overlook the very problems that generated the angry response in the first place.

The Clintons' "unique relationship" will be on voters' minds? That's highly unlikely -- unless news outlets like The New York Times continue to publish front-page analyses that literally count how many weekends they're together.

Greg Sargent has the complete take-down. I'd only add that there are some high-profile Republicans who have "unique relationships" with their spouses as well. When the Times explores those marriages with a similar level of prurient interest, it will be a pleasant surprise.

Steve Benen 4:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (78)

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Comments

Frankly, I'm more concerned by the fact that Laura Bush looks like a zombie, and George Bush calls her "lump in the bed". Do we need a secret de-coder ring to figure out what's going on here?

Or how about Bush himself- Cheney moves his fingers, and Bush moves his arm- jerkily. It's lucky the teleprompter was invented, or we'd all be trying to figure out if we could see Cheney's lips moving.

One thing's for sure- Bush will never deliver half a speech with a broken teleprompter, like Clinton did during his first inaugeral address.

Posted by: serial catowner on June 4, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, here's my letter to Mr. Calame:

I am writing to request a correction, concerning your title. The newspaper identifies you as "the readers' representative," but you obviously are not: your response to the overwhelming negative response of readers to the tabloid-like piece on the Clinton marriage was to argue with the readers and tell them that their perceptions were incorrect, partisan, etc.

An actual readers' representative, as I understand it, would have represented to the paper's management and reporters the views of the readers. Instead, you seem to be the representative of the paper's management.

Could you please correct your title?

In the meantime, I expect a similar article on the marriages of other presidential candidates--otherwise, this article will be clearly revealed to be yet another installment in the on-going vendetta of the NY Times against the Clintons. Or perhaps you're unfamiliar with the notorious Whitewater coverage, since it antedates your role at the Times as management representative.

Thank you for listening.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 4, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Screw old Bill, its Hillary we want.

We want a libertarian, progressive taxation Hillary, a Hillary that says, fuck government, it won't solve your ills.

I want a Hillary that dates young men, wears her hair in a frazzle, gets a little tipsy now and then, and really, a Hillary that says, fuck, the socialists in my party are as bad as the socialists in the other party.

I want her to admit she ain't a church goer.

She has the power, do it Hillary, let it hang, you have nothing to prove, quit trying to pacify every conflicting demand with a complex government plan.

Give us what we want, the finger to every bozo, right or left, who thinks some government plan gets a check.

Posted by: Matt on June 4, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Here you have it, folks: Steve Benen just conceded that the Clinton's marriage will not be an advantage in Hilary's presidential race, should she run.

And Benen wants to make sure the media doesn't examine her marriage.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 4, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Steve...but "consider the source" as my mother used to say...this from the party that has deluded themselves into believing that the potential of gay marriages will DESTROY THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE as they want to deify it. Sadly most of them haven't heard that when you point a finger there are three pointing back at you. I think that someone out there should be surveying other members of our government as to 1. how many marriages they've had...2. the number of affaird they've had...3 how much time they spend with current spouses. Let's make a BIG CHART!

Posted by: Dancer on June 4, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Excuse me, was that article "journalism"?

Posted by: Smoky on June 4, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Please. The piece was practically written by Hillary Clinton. It shed her personal life in a positive light (no doubt more positive than it REALLY is), and now the rest of the media can conveniently ignore their marriage of convenience because the Times "already covered it". It's a puff piece. Expect more of them if Hillary tries to become the democrat candidate for president.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 4, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

More drivel from the asshole who was posting here the other night about how our troops in Iraq are standing around "twiddling their thumbs." STFU, Chikenhawk.

Posted by: Pat on June 4, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Say, isn't Dick Cheney's daughter a lesbian?

Posted by: craigie on June 4, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

"Say, isn't Dick Cheney's daughter a lesbian?"

Well, given who her father is, I should hope so!


Posted by: Matt on June 4, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sad way to start the day, I read two pieces in the NY Times, that so-called bastion of liberal media. One was the Calame response to the Clinton article. Very disappointing.

The other was this front-page, above-the-fold love letter to George Bush. The Times sent their man to Provo, Utah -- "the reddest city in the reddest of states" -- to find that there are still a few misguided souls who support our Dear Leader. Nary a bad word about the prez out there in Morman country, at least none that made it into the story. Though Utah is only one of two states that Bush still polls above 50% approval (he's up 51%-46% in the SUSA poll from May), the Times found it newsworthy to give it a high-profile story, and even though 46% of Utahans disapprove of Bush's performance, the Times wasn't able to find anybody with a negative comment about Bush. Simply unbelievable.

Posted by: JJF on June 4, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have always gotten a boner thinking about the Clintons and their sex lives, proving over and over just who the sick perverts really are...

Allow me to suggest a few prurient stories for the right-wing media to pursue:

- George W. Bush paying a 15 year-old girl to abort his love child;
- Rush Limbaugh being a closeted homosexual;
- Newt Gingrich cheating on his second wife while condemning Clinton for boinking Monica ;
or maybe;
- Bill OReilly masturbating while having phone sex with his mistress ! (Is he ambidextrous?)

Just a little food for thought.

Posted by: Fred Flintrock on June 4, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

"their complicated partnership?" WTF?

How about the truth: their thirty-year marriage.

Posted by: mg_65 on June 4, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

When even the ombudsman of NYTimes enegages in this sort of torturous justification of the indefensible tabloid journalism, one can only conclude that we are living in a vampire movie in which even the sherrif sucks.

Posted by: lib on June 4, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Dancer wrote: "this from the party that has deluded themselves into believing that the potential of gay marriages will DESTROY THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE as they want to deify it."

Yup. And in another forum where this topic came up, one of those very individuals said that it was disgusting that the Clinton's were still together after his infidelity and that "Hutchinson and Giuliani at least had the decency to divorce their wives."

Of course, had Clinton had the "decency" to divorce Hillary (or vice versa), those very same individuals would undoubtedly have been all over both of them for failing to save their marriage. And Hillary would now be routinely excoriated for failing to "stand by her man."

The mind boggles at the extent of the hypocrisy.

Posted by: PaulB on June 4, 2006 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Please. The piece was practically written by Hillary Clinton. It shed her personal life in a positive light

Puhleese Amer. Hawk, you supercilious twit, the issue for many of us in not whether of not the article is question is judged to a net plus or a minus, but that such a shallow topic was written at all, let alone given such prime real estate in the nation's paper of record.

Posted by: Keith G on June 4, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Puhleese Amer. Hawk, you supercilious twit, the issue for many of us in not whether of not the article is question is judged to a net plus or a minus, but that such a shallow topic was written at all, let alone given such prime real estate in the nation's paper of record.


I'm hard pressed to believe the party that actively solicits the votes of illegal immigrants is above gaining other votes by exploiting their personal lives.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 4, 2006 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Understated! Ha!

I assume that Healy would have to have described the delailed locations of all the positions of the Clintons' body parts during coitus in order for Mr. Calame to not have charectarized this piece as understated.

Posted by: nut on June 4, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

I am convinced Hillary's biggest donors are GOP. They are yesterday's story.

American Hawker. Ech. Phlegm and flame. Like Budweiser to a German soccer fan. Double Ecke.

Posted by: Sparko on June 4, 2006 at 6:06 PM | PERMALINK

Oh boo hoo. The only reason Hillary Clinton is a United States Senator is because she married a guy who became President. Books had been written on Eisenhower's military career and Reagan's movies by the time they ran for President; it's only natural that the foundation of Mrs. Clinton's public career should receive comparable attention.

Unless, of course, one thinks that the idea of Hillary Clinton as President is as bizarre as I do.

Posted by: Zathras on June 4, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

The Clinton's could be the poster child for what the Repubs claim they want. But they want it both ways. They want to claim a sham marriage--e.g., its for political gain; Hillary is a lesbian; etc.--and imply this is negative. Yet, if they are correct that the Clinton's have stuck it out despite challenges that would (should?) have ruined other couples, then the Clinton's perfectly fit their focus on encouraging marriage and discouraging divorce. And, they raised a pretty great daughter to boot!

Posted by: ecoboz on June 4, 2006 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm hard pressed to believe the party that actively solicits the votes of illegal immigrants is above gaining other votes by exploiting their personal lives."

Let's face it, Anti-American Chicken: you're hard-pressed to string two intelligent thoughts together in the same zip code. By the way, there are plenty of one-party systems that you and the other trolls would obviously prefer to a real democracy. I mean, the word has 'democrat' built right into it!

Posted by: Kenji on June 4, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

American Hawk: I see you are not denying that you maligned our troops in Iraq here the other night. Care to say again that they are "twiddling their thumbs?" You brave, brave conservative.

Posted by: Pat on June 4, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that an awful lot of liberals miss the point to the NYT article; if Hillary Clinton is going to be a serious candidate in 2008, then she's going to carry what many, many people from the middle to the far right are going to look at as the "Bill Baggage". Interest in how close they are now is part of the assessment of how close they'll be in the future should Sen. Clinton be a presidential candidate. For many of us, it would be no issue at all for Bill Clinton to have some degree of influence in running the country in a Hilary Clinton administration. But many centrist and conservative voters would feel differently. Seems like a legitimate topic for journalism to me.

Posted by: jdm on June 4, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Zathras:

The only reason Hillary Clinton is a United States Senator is because she married a guy who became President.

Well put.
And I agree.
It is one of the reason I am anti-Hillary.

Now explain to me exactly what "Dubya" did with his life that qualified him to be POTUS?

Was it the wiffle ball tournament he ran at Yale?

Posted by: koreyel on June 4, 2006 at 6:39 PM | PERMALINK

Let's face it, Anti-American Chicken: you're hard-pressed to string two intelligent thoughts together in the same zip code. By the way, there are plenty of one-party systems that you and the other trolls would obviously prefer to a real democracy. I mean, the word has 'democrat' built right into it!

The Democrat party has consistently solicited illegal immigrant votes for years. Busby was cought doing it on tape (which, conveniently, the liberal blogs have completely ignored). It's conservatives who want to have secure elections who are trying to rpotect democracy. Democrats will do anything to try to regain their power.


Pat: American Hawk: I see you are not denying that you maligned our troops in Iraq here the other night. Care to say again that they are "twiddling their thumbs?" You brave, brave conservative.

Wrong. I was lambasting the media, because of its consistent unbalanced portrayal of Iraq. Most of the troops in Iraq are bored, because the situation has largely calmed down. That was the meaning of "twiddling their thumbs". It's a bit like firefighters; brief moments of danger surrounded by eons of tedium and sitting around. I was criticizing Kevin for trying to remove the firefighters from a smoldering situation.

Posted by: American Hawk on June 4, 2006 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary and Bill should double date, each with their own young, energetic oral partner, buy them dinner, tell the religious right to fuck off, then just to piss off Fallwell, American "Government check" Hawk, and Frequently "mastubating" Ken, Hillary should run and win, run to the libertarian right of Bill.

Yes, that woman out to run on the platform that socialist perverts of the religious right wing welfare bums ain't gonna get no more government checks. Tell the world that Centrist Bill is a socialist idiot, and though she loves the guy, (and his girlfriends), his politics is too goddamn condescending to all the incompetent veterans and crony capitalists.

Then , just to make a point, Hillary outta kick both Pelosi and Lieberman outta the party and reform the Dems into their classic 'tax the rich', small government roots.

I think her campaign theme should be "FUCK OFF"

She would probably win.


Posted by: Matt on June 4, 2006 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK

So, some people wonder why Broder wants to believe that the Clintons personal life is the elephant in the room. I can answer that for you. Broder does not like the Clintons. Often, when a person does not like a particular politician, said person tends to root for revelations which cast said politician in a poor light, especially revelations which subtract from personal character.

This seems to be a feature of human nature which especially manifests itself unashamedly among the self-described socially conservative.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on June 4, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

Could the article about the Clintons be to provide "balance" about the problems with the Bush marriage which has alledgedly resulted in Laura moving into the Mayflower Hotel?

Posted by: blowback on June 4, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Say, isn't Dick Cheney's daughter a lesbian?"

Yes but here is some food for thought:

An independent republican study has shown that Bull-Dykes make the best possible military generals.

Anybody hear if Dick has been pushing for his daughter to lead the coalition forces in Iraq?

By the way, there is no truth to the story that Dick's daughter is being teated for male pattern baldness.

Right Hawk?

Careful with your answer son. Dick is locked at loaded and aiming at your face.


Posted by: Cruel troll killer on June 4, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Democrats will do anything to try to regain their power."

Have you ever heard the psychological term called "projection"? Oh well, if you're going to die, die bold!

Posted by: Kenji on June 4, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

I entirely agree about the virtures of the 30 year Clinton marriage and about the breaking news regarding W's behavior and marriage (see waynemadsenreport.com).

Posted by: tom on June 4, 2006 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

It's "DEMOCRATIC" Party, you moron!!!!!!

Posted by: exjeb66 on June 4, 2006 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Busby soliciting votes from undocumented immigrants? Not so: take a look at this (via Atrios). OTOH, the GOP has gone to great lengths to disenfranchise African-American voters through a variety of means: phony felony rolls (in Florida), insufficient number of voting machines (Florida and Ohio), Georgia ID scam,...

I know I shouldn't respond to American Hawk, but s/he's SUCH an idiot...

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 4, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Busby told illegals they could work on her campaign.

She doomed her own candidacy, folks.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 4, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Benen: "I'd only add that there are some high-profile Republicans who have 'unique relationships' with their spouses as well."

As reported by the San Diego Union Tribune today, alleged GOP "Family Values" congressional candidate Jim Galley of San Diego actually had a very unique relationship with two of of his spouses -- apparently at the same time!.

Such hypocrisy is the backhanded compliment that Republican vice pays to Christian virtue.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 4, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

From the link I provided above:

"From the full context of the discussion, it's clear to me that Ms. Busby was asked if one needed to prove one was a legal voter in order to "help" her campaign -- with the clear implication of volunteering to work for her,not simply vote. She replied that they do not check IDs for volunteers, and anyone was welcome to assist. And under current law, they I do not believe they are required to verify the immigration status of an unpaid volunteer.

"Whether or not that should be the case, that's the way it is under current law. And whether or not Busby should be held to a higher standard than the legal minimum is another question."

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 4, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

Cruel troll killer -- "Dick is locked at loaded and aiming at your face."

Do it, Daddy!

Posted by: Jeff Gannon on June 4, 2006 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth: "Busby told illegals they could work on her campaign."

Sorry, F.K., but merely repeating the GOP's latest mantra won't work. You also have to close your eyes and click the heels of your ruby slippers together three times.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 4, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

You also have to close your eyes and click the heels of your ruby slippers together three times.

There is no such thing as global warming...
There is no such thing as global warming...
There is no such thing as global warming...

Posted by: koreyel on June 4, 2006 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Busby told illegals they could work on her campaign.

A lot of people are sying that Bilbray killed a pimp in an alley with a shotgun, then dumped the gun in the ocean. Any truth to that? I think there should be a major investigative article to see if what people are saying about that is true. Don't you?

I don't think it is, myself. I think he buried the gun.

Posted by: Repack Rider on June 4, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

The Times defending the Hillary article is like the Associated Press defending the Solomon fantasies regarding Harry Reid. As I said to the AP in my letter:

The fact that Mr. Solomon has not only published an article that was demonstrably untrue, but has then published two more pieces of fiction masquerading as fact, and that the management of the AP has not only allowed this but defended him by publicly attacking those who have pointed out his lies, half-truths and make-them-up fantasies, demonstrates that this is no out-of-control reporter, but a man following a corporate directive from those who run Associated Press to make this "drive-by" hit on Senator Reid. So, the next time the Associated Press tells me it's Monday, I'll believe it after checking the calendar and confirming it with two independent sources, like a good reporter should."

We now know that the "free press" is not free, it is the handmaiden and the propagandist for the Republican Party. And the New York Times has now confirmed its status as the National Litter Box Liner and Official Toilet Paper Subsitute.

Posted by: TCinLA on June 4, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

What? No one's mentioned Bob and Elizabeth Dole's frequency of together-time? They're the closest analogue to the Clintons -- a successful politician whose wife also begins a high-profile political career after her husband's retirement.

C'mon, Bob Dole even appeared in ads about a drug that reverses sexual impotency, for God's sake. That's just screaming for someone to ask, well, do you?

Posted by: IOKIYAR on June 4, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK
Most of the troops in Iraq are bored, because the situation has largely calmed down. That was the meaning of "twiddling their thumbs". by: American Hawk 6:45 PM
Insurgent attacks in Iraq at highest level in 2 years The Pentagon reported yesterday that the frequency of insurgent attacks against troops and civilians is at its highest level since American commanders began tracking such figures two years ago, an ominous sign that, despite three years of combat, the US-led coalition forces haven't significantly weakened the Iraq insurgency. In its quarterly update to Congress, the Pentagon reported that from Feb. 11 to May 12, as the new Iraqi unity government was being established, insurgents staged an average of more than 600 attacks per week nationwide. From August 2005 to early February, when Iraqis elected a parliament, insurgent attacks averaged about 550 per week; at its lowest point, before the United States handed over sovereignty in the spring of 2004, the attacks averaged about 400 per week. The vast majority of the attacks -- from crude bombing attempts and shootings to more sophisticated, military-style assaults and suicide attacks -- were targeted at US-led coalition military forces, but the majority of deaths have been of civilians, who are far more vulnerable to insurgent tactics. ``Overall, average weekly attacks during this `Government Transition' period were higher than any of the previous periods," the report states. .. Posted by: Mike on June 4, 2006 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Clinton was elected President and survived impeachment with women crawling from out of and literally from under his desk. In the end all of soap opera didn't mean a hill of beans when it came to the raw politics. The next election is going to be about Competence and Iraq. Nothing else will matter. But expect the media to keep it up, the soap sells a lot of papers.

Posted by: aline on June 4, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Good post, Mike, but I imagine it will bounce off American Hawk's rock-filled skull.

Posted by: LeisureGuy on June 4, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

If anybody on this thread thinks illegal immigration is not an issue in the Busby/Bilbray campaign, raise your hand.

Busby inviting illegals to work on her campaign sends all the wrong signals at the worst possible time.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 4, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

What? No one's mentioned Bob and Elizabeth Dole's frequency of together-time? They're the closest analogue to the Clintons -- a successful politician whose wife also begins a high-profile political career after her husband's retirement.

I immediately thought of the Doles, who by all accounts see each other at Thanksgiving, Christmas and a few fundraisers, when I read this.

Posted by: shortstop on June 4, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

The Times defending the Hillary article is like the Associated Press defending the Solomon fantasies regarding Harry Reid. As I said to the AP in my letter:

The fact that Mr. Solomon has not only published an article that was demonstrably untrue, but has then published two more pieces of fiction masquerading as fact, and that the management of the AP has not only allowed this but defended him by publicly attacking those who have pointed out his lies, half-truths and make-them-up fantasies, demonstrates that this is no out-of-control reporter, but a man following a corporate directive from those who run Associated Press to make this "drive-by" hit on Senator Reid. So, the next time the Associated Press tells me it's Monday, I'll believe it after checking the calendar and confirming it with two independent sources, like a good reporter should."

We now know that the "free press" is not free, it is the handmaiden and the propagandist for the Republican Party. And the New York Times has now confirmed its status as the National Litter Box Liner and Official Toilet Paper Subsitute.

Posted by: TCinLA on June 4, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Clinton's unique relationship with the former president is certain to be on many voters' minds if she pursues the presidency, and the article provided an update on where their complicated partnership stands. The focus, appropriately, was on the political calculations by the couple and their advisers, and the tone of the assessment of their personal lives was generally understated and evenhanded.

It is probably true that Senator Clinton's unique relationship with the former president is certain to be on many voters' minds if she pursues the presidency much like Kennedy's Catholicism was on voters' minds in 1960.

But the rest of paragraph was bullshit.

What will not be on voters' minds is how often the Clinton's fuck and in which positions.

What will be on their minds in the role Bill plays in Hillary's decision making. And that seems a reasonable question to ask. The answer to that is not found by crawling through bedsheets and trashcans but by examining how Hillary performs as a Senator. How closely are her votes to what is though to be Bill's preferences. And perhaps by asking her directly about Bill's influences.

We shouldn't pretend voters will not be thinking about that, and with some justification, and we also shouldn't let the Times get away with panty sniffing.

Posted by: jerry on June 4, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Clintons' "unique relationship" will be on voters' minds? That's highly unlikely -- unless news outlets like The New York Times continue to publish front-page analyses that literally count how many weekends they're together.

You're in complete denial Kevin. Take your delicate pundit-prig blinders off and take a hard look at America. While you and some other educated Americans are following the election in papers like the New York Times, the majority of Americans will be following it in the same way they follow the rest of the nation's news - tabloid style. They will be forming their opinion on Hillary based on what they read in supermarket checkout lines, what they see on daytime TV, what they hear on Letterman and the tonight show, what they talk about at lunch with their co-workers, and what they read on the inside pages of papers like the New York Post and its ilk across the country.

Intense public curiosity about the Clintons and their marriage is a fact. You may not like this fact; you may wish we lived in a more "enlightened" age; you may think a woman has the right to run for President on her own, like a man does, without the issue of her marriage playing a big role. Blah, blah, blah. It doesn't matter what your wishes are. Lots of Americans with "enquiring minds" do care, and politicians have to go out to campaign with the public they have, not the one they might wish they had.

Do you think that if the New York Times just shuts up about the matter that will make the curiosity - and the perceptions the curiosity feeds - all go away? Get a clue!

It is my strong suspicion that the Times story was promoted by the Clinton inner circle, and almost certainly the Clintons themselves, in an effort to get out early and in front on this inevitable story. Fortunately they are smarter than you and the other commentators who have their hair on fire and boxers in a bunch over the galling effrontery and tasteless impropriety of this journalistic intrusion into the Clinton bedroom.

Millions of Americans believe, or have from time to time believed the following about the Clinton marriage: it's a phony! Their view is based on a certain body of documented facts, and also a larger body swirling and unsubstantiated rumours. But the view is out there - and it has an effect since oddly enough, for many Americans their marriage is the most important relationship in their lives, and is more important than their careers, their politics and their other more material needs. And what they think about their neighbors' marriages plays a strong role in determining what they think about their neighbors' characters.

The Clintons almost certainly understand that the common public perception is a problem for at least three simple and obvious reasons. If the perception is allowed to stand, it makes Hillary look dishonest, weak and cold. And none of those perceptions will be good for her.

1.First, the dishonesty. If Hillary Clinton's marriage is a sham, folks will reason, then she is a sham. And if they believe she is a sham, they won't trust her, or more importantly like her. I know in policy-wonk world people don't think whether a candidate is likable should be important. But for millions of Americans it is very important. It is probably the deciding factor in their votes.

2. The popular perception of the Clinton marriage also makes Hillary look weak. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of very strong wives in the country wonder why Hillary wasn't more successful in laying down the law to her serial philandering husband. They think "if it were me, I would have told that bum a long time ago that either the bimbos go, or I go." But instead the perception is that Bill walked all over her - for many years! Not a good impression for someone who is trying to get elected leader of the free world.

3. The popular view also makes her look cold. Perhaps you haven't had this experience, but I have personally heard women offer comments like the following about Hillary: "I wonder why she can't keep her man in her bed. She must not know how to treat him right."

I know, I know - I hear you. Awful sexist double standards, outrageous gender stereotypes, etc. Yep. Welcome to America. That's the country of which Hillary wants to be President. And if she wants to get elected she has to figure out how to get a whole bunch of regular Americans, who read People and watch Oprah more than they read the New York Times, to vote for her.

Posted by: Dan Kervick on June 4, 2006 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, sorry. I assumed the post was written by Kevin Drum. The criticisms in my previous comment should have been directed at Steve Benen

Posted by: Dan Kervick on June 5, 2006 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Steve. But few of those Republicans have "unique relationships" with ex-Presidents who have a history of sexual exploitation and serial rape.

Posted by: am on June 5, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

... this coming from the party that supported an actor who married the Blowjob Queen of Hollywood???

Posted by: Nads on June 5, 2006 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

A "history of serial" rape. That's quite a big leap there -- especially coming from someone widely known to be hosing his own mother! (It was in Matt Drudge.) By the way, the current president is a murderer, a torturer, and a proven liar in all things related to subverting our democracy.

But at least he hasn't had a blowjob in the past six years. (No one claims Laura is as stupid as her husband.) He has rubbed and kissed quite a few bald heads, however, on his way to pretending to ban gay marriages in an effort to save America from this deadly, pre-hurricane crisis.

Posted by: Kenji on June 5, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Remember Hilary's initial response to rumors about Bill's affair with Monica?

She blamed it all on "the vast Right Wing conspiracy."

BWHAHAHAHAHAAA !!

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on June 5, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop thinks Liddy Dole is running for President???

Posted by: One Two Three O'Clock Rock on June 5, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

'Remember Hilary's initial response to rumors about Bill's affair with Monica?

She blamed it all on "the vast Right Wing conspiracy" '

Yes, but you don't remember it, you fetid dipstick. That wasn't her response to the rumors but to the concerted effort to impeach him. And what did we get, exactly, for the $54M Starr Report? the most expensive pornography ever made. So go ahead and laugh, because the joke is on you.

Posted by: Kenji on June 5, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

The Times story helps the Clintons more than people are talking about. The sooner the Clinton issues get out, the easier the ugly republican talking points will be left to fester. More than a few women in this country won't appreciate the dishonest, cold, and weak bullshit once the chorus of bedwetting, paste-eating wingnufffs start in.

Posted by: seven p on June 5, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

The Clintons' "unique relationship" will be on voters' minds? That's highly unlikely -- unless news outlets like The New York Times continue to publish front-page analyses that literally count how many weekends they're together.

How "highly unlikely" is it if even you can't ignore it and feel compelled to write about it? No matter what side of this issue you come down on, people have an opinion on the matter. The only part of this story that is "old news" is Bill Clinton's behavior. Apparently he's still philandering, and I would argue with you about that not being the people's business.

As much as Americans claimed not to have cared about Clinton's involvement with Lewinsky (and Jones, and Flowers and Willey), they remained glued to all media reporting about it. For all that we heard about how Republicans would pay a price for forcing the country through impeachment, we Americans are the ones paying the price for Bill's infidelity. We had the last three years of his Presidency stolen from us, the years when he was supposed to be getting back the liberal agenda that he'd "triangulated" away. We had the 2000 election stolen from us, which couldn't have happened had Gore been able to run full out on the record of the Clinton-Gore administration. We've paid enough for Bill's indiscretions.

Posted by: Maeven on June 5, 2006 at 2:26 AM | PERMALINK

Has it occurred to anybody (I haven't seen anybody mention this), but it seems to me that the only lesson Bill Clinton learned from his fall from grace was to hit upon more discreet women. Women with as much to lose from an affair being disclosed as he and Hillary have to lose. Like another politician.

Posted by: Maeven on June 5, 2006 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

That is quite possible Maeven. If true, it is a lesson he would appear to have learned from George H.W. Bush among others.

Rumors of his infidelity made the rounds of the press and were printed by Mother Jones magazine among others, but never made the nightly news or the front page of any newspaper because his purported partner in infidelity wasn't talking, or maybe just because IOKIYAR.

Not reporting on these allegations would have been just fine except that they had been circulating during the periouds before his two presidential campaigns when first Gary Hart and then Bill Clinton were getting non-stop coverage of their alleged infidelities and said reporting started long before the allegations were substantiated.

Posted by: Tanj on June 5, 2006 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Oh please! For once the Military/entertainment complex are doing their job by exposing a dangerous phoney. Hitlery is a fascist in sheeps clothing.
Everything she touchs turns to shit and she should retire. So should political pet rock, Kevin Drum too, come to think of it. If we need a Vichy dem or two, don't call us - we'll call you.

Posted by: professor rat on June 5, 2006 at 3:47 AM | PERMALINK

What a moron. Let's try to at least do this in English, okay, Professor "Sheeps"?

Posted by: Kenji on June 5, 2006 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK

My mistake, the main reports of Bush Sr's alleged affair with Jennifer Fitgerald appeared in Spy magazine, not Mother Jones and there was one (but only one) front page article about the allegations in the Washington Post in the early 90s.

Posted by: Tanj on June 5, 2006 at 3:56 AM | PERMALINK

The Village Voice did a rather thorough job on it, Tanj, although their take was on the gentelman's agreement the MSM had about the affair, since it was an open secret in Washington and not actually new or newsworthy -- at least that was how they justified it. It's going to be fascinating to see what scrapes the Bushling gets himself into post-office, since the Rovian constraints will be gone.

Shooters and rent boys, perhaps?

Posted by: Kenji on June 5, 2006 at 4:40 AM | PERMALINK

Shortstop thinks Liddy Dole is running for President???

Nah. She probably wouldn't mind doing so, but as we've seen, her husband publicly stabs her in the back every time she makes a move. What a man.

Posted by: shortstop on June 5, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton has been out of office for almost 6 years and is a private citizen with no govermental role, but he goes to dinner in public with a group of people including a lady ambassador and it becomes a subject of speculation for 'journalists' like Chris Matthews.

Old man Cheney is currently in office, is no private citizen, is a man whose bizarre policies have an enormous deadly, horrid effect on the public, goes on one of his many, many remote resort "hunting" excursions overnighting secretly with a lady ambassador companion and yet there is no mention in the MSM.

You don't have to be a genius to realize there is a problem with journalistic ethics here.

Posted by: Chrissy on June 5, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

(And sorry for responding to one of Kenneth's sock puppets; I usually don't bother playing with the psychos.)

Posted by: shortstop on June 5, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

Hilary used the phrase 'vast right wing conspiracy' during an interview with Matt Lauer on the Today Show.

The interview was January 27,1998, when the first rumors of Clinton having an affair first surfaced.

She blamed the rumors on 'the vast right wing conpiracy.' This was before Clinton testified and well before anybody was talking about impeachment.

Posted by: One Two Three O'Clock Rock on June 5, 2006 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Better odds for Bush-Condi BJ or Bush gay BJ?

see waynemadsenreport.com

Posted by: tom on June 5, 2006 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

The person at the center of the NYT Clinton story is Patrick Healy, the reporter who "interviewed over 50 people", except other senators. I am familiar with Patrick Healy for many years. NYT ombudsman wrote yesterday, "At least half the paragraphs contained references to political considerations and constituted a legitimate reason for the paper's Patrick Healy to delve into the Clintons' personal relationship."
This is horseshit. Patrick Healy has been an incompetent but ambitious reporter as long as I can remember. I first noticed him in the bylines on education stories in the Boston Globe. He was the education beat reporter. There, he quickly demonstrated that he could not tell the difference between independent information and press releases, frequently quoting official press releases verbatim (without attribution).
From there, he was promoted to higher-ed beat and mercifully replaced with a more competent reporter on the general education beat. Healy continued his subservience to PR, even when doing the all-too-popular "He says, he says" on controversial issues. The man does not know the meaning of the term "investigative journalism".
The Globe soon enough promoted him to political beats from where he was sprung to the NYT. If you look at his past stories, you will find that his inability to distinguish facts from propaganda has not been relieved. Healy is a hack. Unfortunately, his beat is NY state politics, including the Clintons and Guiliani. Watch his byline for extreme hackery as the gubernatorial election approaches (he can't screw up the Senate race that much since it's a foregone conclusion).

Posted by: buck turgidson on June 5, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Just think if Healey and company examined current administration policies (to use the word loosely) with this kind attention to detail. It might almost approach something like journalism. By the way, do you think Bob Woodward has actually ever seen 'All the President's Men'? Talk about missing your own damn boat.

Re Hilary and the right-wing conspiracy, was she wrong about that as a concerted take-down, regardless of her husband's role in his own problem behaviour?

Posted by: Kenji on June 5, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

Once again journalists are conflating themselves with "the people". When Calame says the Clinton's marriage will be on people's mind therefore it is worth reporting on what he means is that it is only the beltway journalists mind and, since that mind reflects the mind of the American people (snark) naturally that means everyone else is thinking about it as well.

Posted by: Chris Andersen on June 5, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

明星,音乐,图片,写真,铃声,下载,bbs

Posted by: dfds on June 5, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

dfds nails it!

Posted by: Kenji on June 5, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The disgraceful state of the Bush marriage: On Values: Bush's secret bisexual Affair exposed !

Folks, The woman who can confirm this story is now running for Gov. of NV. here: mcconnellforgovernor.com for Leola McConnell. Yes, SHE WAS THERE. As an eye witness! Randi Rhodes broke this today on her Air America Show. Please MOVE THIS OUT THERE! With the debate on the massively hypocritical 'Marriage Amendment' to our Constitution, we nuclear hypocrisy needs to be more widely known! Cheers, VJ, ga. The sordid details: [http://bushssecretlifein84.tripod.com/]

This was with the then Mayor of Knoxville, TN., Victor Ashe, now the Amb. to Poland. It pays to know some Bushs intimately!!

Posted by: VJ on June 5, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: julines on June 7, 2006 at 12:45 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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