ST. PAUL, Minnesota, Aug. 12, 1999 -- The whole manufactured hoo-ha over the Hillary Clinton piece in Tina Brown's new magazine is a perfect example, as if the last seven years in toto weren't example
enough, of what noted Arkansas reporter Gene Lyons has called "The Clinton Rules".
Here's how "The Clinton Rules" work:
Any time either Hill or Bill, or anyone remotely associated with them, opens their mouths, the press has carte blanche to lie spectacularly about what they said. (Or they reprint the lies and spin that is blast-faxed to them courtesy of Jim Nicholson and the RNC.) The press has been doing it to the Clintons and their associates since Day One.
They do it to Al Gore concerning the Internet, his farm boyhood, and so on. They put words in people's mouths--such as Gore's famous "brag" about being a model for the "Oliver"
character in Love Story. (There are two problems with the press' reportage of that last:
Gore never bragged about it, his hometown paper did--and the story happens to be true, as Love Story author Erich Segal has stated on numerous occasions.)
The Clinton Rules press corollary is that any political foes of the Clintons--heck, make that the whole blasted GOP- -never suffer the sort of "coverage," much less the constant Baloney
Blast-Fax Barrages, that is inflicted on the current occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
One need look no further than the very selfsame issue of Talk for proof of this.
You'd never know this from reading Maureen Dowd or listening to Cokie Roberts, but there was another political article in Talk magazine: in fact, it's so important that it shares cover space with Hillary
and Gwyneth Paltrow.
I refer, of course, to GOP kahuna Tucker Carlson's piece on George W. Bush, the man who would be President.
In all the reams of commentary on this first issue of Talk, as of this writing (08/11/99) I have so far encounted just one (1) piece, in the New York Daily News, that mentions the Bush article.
I strongly suspect that this is because the Talk article, even though it is crafted by a top Republican spinmeister, shows the Shrub to be so woefully unsuited for the Presidency that he makes Dan Quayle
(And Quayle is the man whom GOP strategist Kevin Phillips has called Daddy Bush's anti-impeachment insurance: No one would dare deep-six George Herbert Walker Bush over his Iran-Contra role if it meant that Danny would have gotten his hands on the launch codes.)
Here are some particulary interesting "fun facts:"
- Bush drops the F-Bomb, our favorite four-letter word, three times in on-the-record conversation in the first three pages.
Read that last sentence over again.
Now, try to imagine what the press would do if Hillary or Bill so much as said "dammit" in public.
A staffer is also quoted on Shrub's unthinkingly Cartmanesque potty-mouth, saying that "he used to say f*** a lot more before this all started".
(No wonder they never let Shrub out unsupervised: He needs more minding than Reagan.)
This is reminiscent of the April 9, 1999, Salon article wherein was printed his response to a question asked him by David Fink, associate editor for the Hartford Courant, at the 1988 Republican
Convention. Fink asked him (on-the-record, mind you) what he and his father talked about when they were together.
Young Shrub's one-word answer: "Pu**y," brought to mind both the stories of Shrub's alleged extramarital excursions and his Poppy's singularly odd relationship with Jennifer Fitzgerald. (Check out http://www.salon.com/news/feature/1999/04/09/bush/index1.html and you'll what I mean.)
I take it this is what the GOP refers to when they talk about a "return to values".
Not content with showing off his potty mouth, BabyBush also shows us that he can hold a mean-sprited grudge well after the subject of his famous temper has departed this life for the next. Get a
load of the Talk article passage concerning Karla Faye Tucker, the woman even Pat Robertson didn't want him to kill:
- Bush's brand of forthright tough-guy populism can be appealing, and it has played well in Texas. Yet occasionally there are flashes of meanness visible beneath it..... Bush mentions Karla Faye
Tucker, a double murderer who was executed in Texas last year.
In the weeks before the execution, Bush says, Bianca Jagger and a number of other protesters came to Austin to demand clemency for Tucker. "Did you meet with any of them?" [Carlson asks].
- Bush whips his head around and stares at me.
"No, I didn't meet with any of them," he snaps, as though I've just asked the dumbest, most offensive question ever posed. "I didn't meet with Larry King either when he came down for it. I watched his interview with [Tucker], though. He asked her real difficult questions, like "'What would you say to Governor Bush?'"
- "What was her answer?" [Carlson wonders].
- "Please," Bush whimpers, his lips pursed in mock desperation, "don't kill me."
This coldblooded comment shocked even Tucker Carlson.
Turns out, as Mr. Carlson points out later, that the Larry King-Karla Faye Tucker exchange Bush recounted never did happen (shades of Ronald Reagan!), but that Ms. Tucker did, during her interview with
King, "...imply that Bush was succumbing to election-year pressure from pro-death penalty voters. Apparently Bush never forgot it. He has a long memory for slights.
"Which is part of the problem with Bush's presentation of himself as a man so "comfortable in my soul" that he hardly cares whether he wins or loses. Anyone who has reached the Zen-master
level of self-acceptance he describes would be unaffected by ordinary criticism. It's still pretty easy to get a rise out of Bush."
Now remember, those passages were written as part of an article designed to be flattering to BushBaby.
And this is after Shrub has gone through a grueling charm-school and foreign-affairs training course courtesy of the RNC. (I shudder to think what he was like before they set to work polishing his image.)
There's lots more--including the whole riff about Shrub making a virtue out of indifference to the wishes of the people (as opposed to that awful, "poll-driven" William Jefferson Clinton), and
in fact being supremely indifferent as to whether he actually wins the Presidency (the "Zen-master" bit to which Tucker Carlson refers), which is surprising in view of the gargantuan sums that
his minders have raised in order to do just that.
But I think you get the picture. And it isn't a pretty one for the GOP, if they're pinning their hopes on this loser.
The Aug. 11 Washington Post features George Will's scathing comments on the Talk article and what it reveals about Dummya - I mean Dubya.
Wonder if the rest of the media will follow suit, or if the "Cone of Silence" the media throws over GOP indiscretions will still hold, more or less?