Friday, June 6, 2008

On Todd Purdham's Hatchet Job on Bill Clinton

The recent issue of Vanity Fair features a negative piece on Bill Clinton. First of all, the very fact that Purdham has written this piece as if negative commentary on Bill Clinton sheds light on Hillary Clinton's worth as a presidential candidate reflects the misogyny inherent in the piece and in the media at large.

Why is only Hillary Clinton's spouse delved into with such bilious detail? Only she has been judged as if a word or statement by her husband is ipso facto a word or statement by her, as in that debate in which Obama mentioned a statement Bill Clinton had made in order to criticize Hillary.

Here's a telling quote from the piece, after Purdham questions why Bill Clinton hasn't detailed the names of all the people who have donated to his foundation:

"Clinton is under no legal obligation to disclose such donors—or, for that matter, to disclose much of anything about his personal financial dealings. No one knows the details of the earnings—almost certainly many millions of dollars—that the first President Bush has made from his investment in the Carlyle Group, for example. Gerald Ford quietly raked in big director’s fees from companies such as American Express, and Ronald Reagan briefly scandalized late-80s Washington by taking $2 million for a single speaking trip to Japan. But their wives never ran for president."

That's the justification Purdham offers for giving Bill Clinton harsher treatment, putting his financial dealings under the microscope in a way that President Bush never has been.

Of course their wives never ran for President. Hillary Clinton is the first female presidential candidate! That doesn't explain why Bush and Ford and Reagan were not inspected under the microscope by the media in the way that this piece is excorciating Bill Clinton.

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