“I’ve been tested. I’ve been vetted. I’ve been in the political arena in our country for 16 years. There are no surprises.” – Hillary Clinton, 12/14/07
Here we go again.
Slate just published a piece about a new book about Bill Clinton, called “The Clinton Years.” Slate reports that the book includes an “old rumor” about Bill Clinton continuing his philandering. While the Clinton campaign has done a good job of embarrassing the press, and the Obama campaign, away from mentioning these rumors, the Republicans won’t be so reticent in the fall. To paraphrase Clinton surrogate Evan Bayh, this is the kind of thing that Swift Boats are made of.
This is the first time a lot of people are hearing about this particular rumor. (Though Joe and I knew about this particular rumor a good year ago. We also know far more details about the rumor than Slate has revealed. But Joe and I chose, until now, not to report on it because, well, we still find ourselves pulling punches for Hillary’s scandals when nobody on her team pulls punches for Obama’s.) Because this rumor is new for most people, for most of you, that means this rumor, this baggage, isn’t “vetted,” to use Hillary’s vernacular. It’s not good, and if it’s true (hell, even if it isn’t true), it could doom our chances against McCain in the fall were Hillary to be the nominee. Why? Because were Hillary to somehow become our party’s nominee, the Republican 527s, and GOP state parties like Kentucky and North Carolina, would ensure that we spend the entire fall discussing who Bill Clinton is sleeping with, and whether we’re going to have more Monicas when he’s back in the White House, rather than discussing why John McCain is too old and too conservative to be president. Just imagine the jokes Republicans, and the late night shows, would make about Hillary and that 3am phone call now that this is out there.
Now, the Clinton campaign will say that it’s just horrible that anyone would dare mention rumors about Bill Clinton continuing to philander, and how horrible it is that Slate (or I) would even write about the new book (but I suspect they wouldn’t deny the rumor, for fear of inviting another “Monkey Business” a la Gary Hart). But you have to remember, Hillary was the one who said that dropping the “kitchen sink” on a fellow Democrat is totally acceptable.
Before the critical primaries in Ohio and Texas on Tuesday, her campaign had vowed to throw the “kitchen sink” at Obama to derail the momentum that had led to wins in 11 straight contests.
Hillary is the one who has said that personal scandals, and personal relationships, of fellow Democrats are fair game in this nomination battle. Hillary is the one who said that vetting these scandals now, rather than letting the Republicans vet them in the fall, is a necessity and is actually doing our party a favor, giving us a chance to see how well the potential nominee will fight back against such sleazy revelations. So, I publish this link to Slate in order to help Hillary become a better candidate, per her own request, per her own standards of conduct. So spare us the outrage from the Clinton campaign. They made their bed. Now, unfortunately, we’re going to see who’s sleeping in it.
Pages 103 and 104: Clinton and Ron Burkle, the supermarket magnate, have been buddies since 1992. Felsenthal repeats the old rumor that “Burkle and Clinton are … partners in philandering.” She also quotes an unnamed source alleging that “Burkle and Clinton spend time together doing things that Hillary would not want made public” and reports that Burkle calls his private plane “Fuck Jet.”
Actually, the The Huffington Post, and the New York Times, seemed to be alluding to something similar a while back:
The president’s relationship with Ron Burkle has been the subject of widespread speculation primarily concerning Bill Clinton’s private life. Over a year ago, Patrick Healy wrote in the New York Times:
Mr. Clinton is rarely without company in public, yet the company he keeps rarely includes his wife. Nights out find him zipping around Los Angeles with his bachelor buddy, Ronald W. Burkle, or hitting parties and fund-raisers in Manhattan.
Is it true? I have no idea. Has it been vetted? Not at all.