Part 3—The Crazy, long before Trump: Did Donna Brazile seiously contemplate replacing Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine on the Democratic ballot?
We find that hard to believe. On the brighter side, Brazile's exciting claim produced a top-of-page one, exciting report about her new book in Sunday's Washington Post.
People, that's good for sales! So was the exciting claim in Bob Woodward's new June 96 book.
No, the book didn't explicitly say that Hillary Clinton had been conducting seances right there in the White House. But that's the way the claim was quickly read by the excitable boys and excitable girls inside the Washington "press corps."
Three years later, those same children would run wild about Hillary Clinton's claim, apparently accurate, that she'd rooted for the Cubs and the Yankees when she was a child. That same year, they were also hailing the truthfulness of Gennifer Flowers, who was pimping the claim that Hillary Clinton had murdered a whole lot of people.
Three years earlier, the children were running wild about the first lady's seances. Briefly, let's revisit the craziness of those days, which came to us Long Before Trump.
At the time, CNN's Capital Gang was one of TV's most prominent platforms for the promulgation of moronic insider narrative and insult. (Fox News didn't yet exist. MSNBC was several weeks from launch.)
On June 23, 1996, the seances got frisked pretty good on Capital Gang Sunday. James Glassman, serving as moderator, kicked things off like this:
GLASSMAN (6/23/96): Good evening and welcome to Capital Gang Sunday. I am Jim Glassman, with Juan Williams of The Washington Post; syndicated columnist Mona Charen; James Warren of the Chicago Tribune; and Newsweek's Howard Fineman.The adviser came from "a psychic group!" We are going to have to say that this wasn't quite accurate, although it conveyed a thrill.
A new book by Bob Woodward reports that Hillary Rodham Clinton has engaged in a form of spiritual self help that involves imaginary conversations with the dead. The White House confirms at least two sessions with an adviser from a psychic group. Her talks were with Eleanor Roosevelt and Mahatma Ghandi, although she apparently declined to talk with Jesus Christ, saying it would be too personal.
By law, Howard Fineman was there; he knew good, solid stuff when he saw it. After Glassman's full monologue, he started the pundit discussion with a masterful joke:
GLASSMAN: So, Howard, what's going on here at the White House?It was wonderful, laugh-out-loud stuff! Starting in 1999, these same baboons would spend several years authoring lame plays on the claim that Al Gore said he invented the Internet! We liberals would sit there and take it.
FINEMAN: I'm sorry. I was just talking to Edward R. Murrow. I apologize.
Still and all, what about the exciting claim that Hillary Clinton conducted seances? To see the New York Times explain that she actually hadn't conducted seances, you can just click here. But, as Fineman and Glassman continued, they kicked their new dog around:
FINEMAN: Okay, so the White House is busy trying to explain what this is and what it is not.A secret strategy to win California! Another wonderful joke!
Jean Houston clearly has become very influential in the life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Houston suggested—according to Bob Woodward—that Hillary write the book that she wrote. She suggested that Hillary take trips to South Asia including India and to Beijing to the Womens Conference.
Now, the White House was busy explaining yesterday explaining, number one, that this was not channeling, that it was not astrology, that it was not influencing the West Wing, where Bill Clinton lives, and not—
FINEMAN: Seances! Now, when you have to say it's all those "nots," obviously you have a political problem, but I think it's a secret strategy to lock in the vote for California is what I think.
Just so you'll know, when pundits spend their time saying that Person A didn't engage in channeling or seances, they're saying she actually did. They're attacking Person A, in this case Hillary Clinton..
They aren't attacking the slippery fellow, or the slippery publishing company, who put this silly story in play. They aren't discussing the promotional materials for Woodward's book, materials which likely led with this dog to provoke these exciting discussions.
The children were enjoying a good solid laugh about the non-seances! Now, Glassman threw to James Warren. By rule of law, he had more excellent jokes:
GLASSMAN (continuing directly): Jim, what do you think?Glassman was already wonderfully rich. That's why Warren said that!
WARREN: First of all, welcome to the Elton John summer look here. Boy, I don't know.
GLASSMAN: You know, you— You've been having seances with what—your Bobby Jones, your—the golfer, your favorite golfer?
WARREN: Yeah. And you, I suspect, who would it be? It would be J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, looking for investment advice? Too much money.
In these excerpts, we've already seen the 90s-era, upper-end pundit corps engaged in their accustomed play. Warren proceeded to state the obvious, and to make a mandated play:
WARREN: I mean, she's going to obviously now be pilloried. I assume the staff writers for Leno and Letterman already have tomorrow's monologues set to go and it's going to be awful. Interesting. One of you guys mentioned it before we went on, I had missed it—as many Americans do—America's perhaps least-read syndicated column, put out by the same syndicate that puts out Mona Charen's column, but I guess Hillary Clinton, two weeks ago, knowing that this was coming down the pike, had written a column in which she sort of fessed up to this.As we noted many times, it was a standard play in that era. Pundits would routinely attribute their own behavior to Letterman and Leno. The joking, which was politically awful, was all being done Over There!
Meanwhile, that jibe about the country's "least-read column" was another jibe at the laughable first lady. In this way, Warren made himself a seer. Hillary Clinton was being "pilloried," exactly as he'd said!
Amazingly, Juan Williams eventually complained. When he did, Mona Charen blamed "the inner circle" (of the White House) for what had transpired:
WILLIAMS: Just let me quickly add, this media pornography that Bob Woodward has put out about Hillary having some seances. So what?"Media pornography," Williams said, provoking complaints from Glassman, his media handler. But even as Williams made that statement, he actually seemed to affirm the claim that Hillary Clinton staged seances!
GLASSMAN: Media pornography?
WILLIAMS: Oh, everybody picks up the paper and says, "Ooh, wee, ooh, wee, isn't this wonderful?" They call their friends and want to gossip about it, it has zero effect in terms of people's judgment on President Clinton.
GLASSMAN: Okay. "Pornography?"
CHAREN: I have to wonder why it is that people talk to Bob Woodward. You know, if Bob Woodward calls you on the phone, hang up, right? I mean the—it's very clear that people in the inner circle talked to him. And it was clear that either Bill or Hillary talked to him about his first book The Agenda, about the Clintons—The Agenda. It was clear that—he described a conversation the two of them had in bed. Who told him? Who talked to him?
GLASSMAN: But on that point, as Juan says, I mean, how damaging is this, really? And in fact, in a way, maybe it's just taking attention away from the files.
Please note—this was the opening topic on this half-hour show. Nothing else in the whole wide world was more important this day.
The sheer inanity of this discussion defines the geography of the insider pundit corps during this dimwitted era. Meanwhile, the inanity of this discussion, and many more, was paving the way toward Donald J. Trump. Have we mentioned the fact that the liberal world persistently sat there and took it?
Three years later, these boys and girls were clucking and howling about the claim that Hillary Clinton had once loved the Yankees. They had also entered their years of bogus claims about Candidate Gore, "today's man-woman" (Chris Matthews), including the utterly bogus claim that Al Gore grew up at the Ritz Carlton!
The liberal world just sat there and took this. We didn't even start our "resistance" when Donald J. Trump entered the race. We're so pitiful that we waited until he had actually won!
Meanwhile, note that statement by Charen. Today, we know the answer to the question she floated that night.
Who the heck "in the inner circle" had blabbed about the non-seances to the wonderful Woodward? Who had told him about the exercises that could, fashioned as seances, be used to pimp a book?
Today, we know the answer. The person who ran and blabbed to Woodward wasn't someone from the Clinton "inner circle" at all. It was Barbara Feinman Todd, who had been hired to serve as co-author of Hillary Clinton's 1996 book, It Takes A Village.
The history runs like this:
When Clinton's book appeared and Todd wasn't credited, the children staged a long whispering campaign about "that woman, Mrs. Clinton," and her impossible ego. In fact, as we now apparently know, Todd was dumped because she had run to Woodward, her former employer, and blabbed to him about the sessions which could be pictured as seances.
We know that because, just last year, Todd published a crackpot memoir, Just Pretend I'm Not Here, in which she boo-hooed about the very bad way that woman treated her, way back then. We strongly recommend the book as a portrait of the type of grasping climber who has always crowded into the courts of the world, seeking power and advancement in the worst possible ways.
Todd's book describes various unseemly acts she engaged in for Woodward over the years. When Brian Lamb interviewed Todd for the full hour on Q&A, he lingered on her account of the Bob Kerrey dead bird incident, perhaps as a way to let us see how crazy this person is.
We strongly recommend Todd's book, and the interview with Lamb. But The Case of the Non-Seance Seances is one example, out of so many, of The Geography of the Crazy during the Clinton/Gore years.
Also, of The Geography of the Inane and Dishonest. It sketches the geography of the many grasping people who should have been run out of town.
Some of those people still sit on TV. In some cases, they've been replaced by the next generation of graspers, climbers, hustlers and "performers."
The new generation has very bad judgment, just like the old generation. On The One True Liberal Channel, the grasping silly-bill Maddow loves to praise the old mossback Matthews, whose conduct has been so appalling down through so many long years.
Might we sketch a larger point? World history is rich with stories in which people of this grasping type have been cast out of the temple.
This hasn't happened in our world. We in the liberal rank and file are unable to see through Maddow, just as our counterparts Over There can't see through Sean Hannity.
That said, we thought of Woodward's seance tale when Brazile's "I almost replaced her" tale surfaced atop the front page of Sunday's Washington Post.
Brazile's last book, Cooking With Grease, was "an inspiring, behind-the-scenes memoir of the life and times of" Brazile herself. In this case, she may have been looking for a way to make this latest dog sell.
Do you believe her exciting claim about what she considered doing? For ourselves, we find her claim quite hard to believe. Also, we're inclined to think it's time for her (and many others) to go.
Tomorrow: Again, Goldberg'a claim about Trump