Clinton v. Purdum (And Everyone Else)

Bill Clinton has become an embarrassment to his party, friends, and family, with his tone-deaf angry tirades and bizarre rhetorical missteps and also his habit of globe-trotting with scummy over-sexed billionaires. But if you tell him this, he becomes quite angry! Todd Purdum, who, despite being married to a former Clinton staffer, has written a number of negative things about Clinton over the years, is now the target of a raging tirade by the former president. All because he insinuated some untoward things using dozens of unnamed anonymous sources in Vanity Fair! Now Purdum has responded (clip attached). So. What did the article do wrong? And what did Clinton get wrong? And, uh, what the hell happened to the guy?

As Jack Shafer points out, Purdum's reliance on unnamed sources is annoying and troubling. BUT! Besides a paragraph or two insinuating without proof that Clinton has been sexing a number of ladies across the world, most of the damning material in the story is from the public record and disputed by no one.

Like Clinton's habit of hanging out with Steve Bing and Ron Burkle! Bing's paternity problems are matters of undisputed fact, even if the details (who sued whom?) remain sketchy. Burkle's love of 19-year-olds seems to be undeniable.

And then there's the weird business dealings. The billions of dollars he's made from Burkle for doing god-knows-what. The scummy donors to his foundation and library. Jeffrey Epstein. Misuse of his pension. This stuff is, once again, beyond the realm of smears and allegation. It's all fact.

Basically the "allegations" that annoy Clinton so much are the ones attributed to Clinton aides and former staffers-that he's angry all the time, that he doesn't control his language anymore, that since his heart surgery he hasn't been the same. And Clinton's bizarre rant against Purdum demonstrates that all those points have merit.

Also the "intervention" thing, which Purdum defends by saying that the aforementioned anonymous Clinton staffers are the ones worried about Bill's maybe-cheating. Which, you know, is at least plausible, even if it is the most "tawdry" part of the story. A man is judged by the company he keeps. And also by the well-documented extra-marital affairs he's been forced to admit to under oath in the past.

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