Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Gene Lyons has an end-of-the year column out describing Susan McDougal's new book, The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk. Atrios has a copy of the column here. He also recommends that everyone buy his book, Fools For Scandal. I second that recommendation. "Fools For Scandal" was the seminal book, for me at least, in laying out exactly what was going on with the whole Clinton Scandal Network. I hadn't really followed politics and the Clinton scandals closely before reading this book. I had seen several reports on Whitewater, but they always left me confused because none of them could ever seem to explain exactly what it was that the Clinton's had done wrong. It wasn't until I read Gene's book that I understood that the reason I couldn't understand the story was because there wasn't any story to understand. I came up with a simple way of describing this a few years back: the whole mess of allegations surrounding the Clinton's were confusing if and only if you assumed they must have done something wrong. If, however, you gave them the benefit of the doubt, pretty much all the scandal surrounding them clears itself up. You begin to understand that, in their case, where there's smoke there was often a smoke-making machine. Many online acquantances of mine had come to understand this very well by the time the Lewinsky scandal broke. That is why it took so long for them to even entertain the idea that, for once, he might have actually done something that he was being accused of doing. We were so used to these bogus scandals by then (remember Arlington-Gate?) that we naturly dismissed this as yet another manufactured brou-ha-ha. In the case of Clinton's immature sexual behavior, we were wrong. In pretty much everything else, we were right. Not a bad track record.

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