On Bill Clinton’s critique of the Vanity Fair piece about him

I said I’d comment after reading Bill Clinton’s 2,500 word critique of Todd Purdum’s Vanity Fair piece. I haven’t read it. Yet.

Slate’s Jack Shafer has:

“A tawdry, anonymous quote-filled attack piece,” the critique seethed, one that “repeats many past attacks on him, ignores much prior positive coverage, includes numerous errors, and ultimately breaks no new ground. It is, in short, journalism of personal destruction at its worst.”

Shafer agrees that it’s tawdry — “but can any profile of the man… [linked with all these women] …be anything but tawdry? — and he is highly critical of the “extravagant reliance on unnamed sources.” But, he says, “the Clinton critique races to irrelevancy after that.”

What the Clinton letter fails to acknowledge is that his many questionable business dealings, all gathered here, make for an eye-opener for those who haven’t followed his adventures since the final days of his administration. There’s the Marc Rich pardon and Rich’s ex-wife’s $450,000 contribution to Clinton’s library fund, not to mention all the dubious donors to the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation. There’s Clinton’s private-jet travel with investor Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on soliciting prostitution charges in Florida. Don’t forget the $3 million in consulting fees he’s collected from InfoUSA, or the $15.5 million he’s earned from playboy magnate Ron Burkle, or Burkle’s investments in the Middle East. A whole book could be written about Clinton’s relationship with the Canadian mining financier, which the New York Times broke in January and Purdum reprises.

If nothing else, Purdum’s piece makes a superb case for the means testing of presidential pensions. Between them, the Clintons have made $109 million in the past eight years. Why does this man deserve a government pension? (See this Washington Post piece for the run-down on the Clintons’ income.)

  • kritt11

    As someone who voted twice for Bill and once for Hillary, I have to admit that this is getting really old. I think the reason Obama is doing so well is that the Democrats feel the need to move beyond all of this kind of crap and start fresh. You can’t face the future if you are mired in the personal scandals of the past. I will always admire President Clinton and his wife enormously, but I just don’t see the Dems putting them back into the WH- this year or any other.

  • daveinboca

    Nothing old about the Burkle relationship and the continued refusal to reveal the donors to the Clinton Presidential Library.

    The Clinton “Schools for Scandal” will soon be issuing PhDs!

  • runasim

    I agree with you, realistically speaking, but with sadness.

    I was sure the Monica syndrome would rise again the minute Hillary announced her candicacy.

    I look at Obama’s future with great alarm. Already, it has cost him the fellowship of his church. Bill and Hillary were irrevocably changed by their turn in the limelight, and I wonder what it will do to Obama.

  • kritt11

    Runasim– I am sad as well. The many good contributions of the Clintons are being cast aside in favor of the sleazy and tawdry aspects of their years in power. Of course they are not saints but they have tried to govern from the center and reach out across the aisle. That effort earned them the rancor of first the right and now the left.

    We should not forget that Hillary has done a good job in the Senate and is well-liked by her constituents and her colleagues. Bill is so much more than poorly worded tantrums against the media and womanizing in his private life. He raised billions for worthy causes with his nonprofit group and was a very successful president, leaving office with a 70% approval rating ,and a legacy that included welfare reform and a 8 years of economic prosperity. Whatever his personal faults, he always tried to govern for the greater good.