Vanity Fair drops its biting profile of Bill Clinton just as the Clinton family dynasty hits its nadir. But it’s still well worth the read, filled with blind quotes and scenes of Clinton’s high-flying life, consorting with billionaire playboys (called “bachelors”) and their barely-legal entourages, summaries of Bill’s recent adventures in capitalism, and his trips on a private airplane nicknamed “Air [Deleted] One.” (The deleted word rhymes with a name for common waterfowl.)
Author Todd Purdum comes to this conclusion:
But for a politician with so many admirers, allies, acquaintances, faithful retainers, and hangers-on, Clinton remains a profoundly solitary man, associates say, without any real peers, intellectual equals, or genuine friends with whom he can share the sweetest things in life. (The one who has always come closest, for better and worse, for richer and poorer, is simply too busy these days.) So he spends his time veering between feeling sorry for himself and working to help others, between doing good and giving his enemies fresh ammunition, between vindicating his legacy and vitiating it. “So much of modern culture is characterized by stories of self-indulgence and self-destruction,” Clinton writes near the end of Giving, from which he earned $6.3 million and gave away $1 million (or 16 percent) to charity.
Purdum suggests replacing the words “modern culture” with “my life.”
Far more extraordinary than the piece, however, is the 2,481 word rebuttal by Clinton’s office. The critique is divided into three sections by roman numerals, with countless sub-bullet points, and mostly offers unrelated attacks on Purdum and Vanity Fair. It is a masterpiece of muscular misdirection, which includes this extraordinary line:
Most revealing is one simple fact: President Clinton has helped save the lives of more than 1,300,000 people in his post-presidency, and Vanity Fair couldn’t find time to talk to even one of them for comment.
Don’t miss the subtext: To attack Bill Clinton is to attack the plight of millions suffering around the world.
To which we can all add, this guy is one of a kind.