I dread a revival of the Clintons in the White House Show. The first time around it was a genre bending affair. To borrow from Polonius, it presented tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral. Try to adapt Marx’s adage about history repeating itself to that.
Bill Clinton gave us a preview of the revival in his inimitable style last night at the Democratic National Convention (full text and video here). Clinton’s appearance followed the convention’s historic nomination of Hillary as the Dems’ candidate for president. She had officially vanquished the 74-year-old socialist from Vermont. (“Take the rag away from your face, now ain’t the time for your tears” — Bob Dylan.)
Promoting Hillary Clinton’s presidential candidacy, the Big Dog gave us Love Story with a (radical) twist, or The Paper Chase cum Saul Alinsky. The phoniness was suffocating, another bedtime story for restive children.
The “change-maker” bit made both for the theme and motif of Clinton’s speech. What an unattractive neologism. Does Hillary make change? If you gave her $500,000 for one of her $250,000 speeches, she might have made change for you, minus expenses.
Where is Larry David when you need him?
Let’s kill the revival. Even those of us who lived through the Clinton administration may have a hard time recalling how acrid the atmosphere was. One of its leading features was the element of pervasive untruth. Reading Michael Isikoff’s book Uncovering Clinton, to take just one small example, one begins to understand that everyone around the Clintons, including the journalists who covered them, understood the basics of their marital arrangement, yet remained (and remains) silent about it.
Who are we to judge?
The title of Isikoff’s book was a pun. Isikoff was the guy who uncovered the Lewinsky story as a reporter for Newsweek. When Newsweek sat on the story, Matt Drudge blasted it out there on the Drudge Report and undercut the regime of silence. Isikoff was credited with uncovering the scandal, and the title referred in part to his role exposing it.
Uncovering Clinton also referred in part to not covering Clinton. Iksikoff begins the book with an assessment of the knowledge of key players about Clinton’s behavior and their tacit cooperation with it. (I was subsequently told by a prominent reporter who “covered” Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign what he saw of Clinton’s way with women in front of others on the campaign trail that year, something I don’t believe he mentioned in his own reportage.) Although the names have changed, the Clintons’ media enablers continue their uncoverage of the Clintons to this day.
The arrangement continues, of course, along with the pervasive falsity in which it is embedded. With the campaign of Hillary Clinton, we get more of the same, in megadoses. No change will be made there. None at all.