Just imagine if Clinton had won: As a general matter, we never discuss past booking discussions with representatives of Bryant Gumbel.
In this case, we'll make an exception. On Tuesday, November 7, 2000, we accepted a provisional booking to appear the next day, as a very-special guest star, on the CBS Early Show, co-hosted at that time by Gumbel and Jane Clayson.
The provision in question was this—we'd only appear if Candidate Gore won that day's election. If he won, we'd appear with a few friends from the good old days to describe the youthful Gore.
By Wednesday morning, the election was tied; the appearance never occurred. On Tuesday afternoon, it had been our sense that Gore was likely to win (as he probably actually did), and our thought about that went like this:
We were prepared to laugh our keisters off for maybe twenty-four hours. After that, we expected to settle in for a long-haul nightmare as the press corps' backlash occurred.
That backlash never would have stopped. It would have been full-blown AL GORE, LIAR until Gore lost re-election. Surely, everyone understands that, though everyone knows not to tell.
Within that context, we authored the deathless joke which Bill Clinton quoted in My Life—the joke Roger Simon quotes Clinton repeating on the very night it was authored, on the night in December 2000 when Candidate Gore finally conceded. The deathless joke, performed that evening at the D.C. Improv, went almost exactly like this:
"I think Gore really got the best of both worlds. Everyone knows he won the election, plus he doesn't have to serve!"
We believe you can see that evening's performance on-line, but we won't tell you where.
We were surprised, but also pleased, when the joke got a laugh that night. We repeated it later that night to the candidate who had conceded. Called from the room to take a phone call, the candidate repeated it by trans-Atlantic phone to Bill Clinton. At the end of his book about the 2000 campaign, Simon quotes Clinton repeating the joke that same night as he emerges from his private quarters on Air Force One, heading home from Europe.
"There's a great deal of truth to that joke," Gore said that evening in December 2000. A week or so later, Clinton said the exact same thing as we crawled through the reception line at a cattle-call White House Christmas party.
He repeated the joke word for word. It seemed to have rung a bell—and there it is in his book!
If Gore had been the winner in November 2000, four nightmare years would have followed. The same can be said about where we'd be if Candidate Clinton had beaten Trump by more than just the popular vote in November 2016.
In large part, these nightmares would have resulted from the screaming incompetence of our deeply self-impressed pseudo-liberal tribe. To wit:
Today, on Bill Clinton's 73rd birthday, Ed Kilgore asks how the world would be treating "first gentleman" Clinton if Hillary Clinton had won in 2016. In the relevant part of his essay, Kilgore quotes Todd Purdum writing this:
PURDUM (8/19/19): By the end of Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 campaign—in which Donald Trump went so far as to bring three women who’d accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct to a debate—the bloom was well off the rose. The following year’s revelations about sexual allegations against powerful men from Harvey Weinstein to Matt Lauer cast Clinton’s history with Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and, above all, Monica Lewinsky in a stark new light. It is a perverse reality that Trump is given a ho-hum pass by the public for repeated allegations of sexual misconduct and comments that would have convulsed the country in Clinton’s day—and that indeed did so—while Clinton’s reputation has been retroactively punished further.Thus spake Purdum—and Kilgore. In the (important) light of the #MeToo movement, Bill Clinton's "history with" those women looks quite different now.
In truth, we'd have been involved in a rolling nightmare from election day forward had Hillary Clinton won. It would have been all Benghazi, all-Emailgate all the freaking time.
Surely everyone knows this. Everybody would have played, with the GOP in the lead role. Impeachment might have happened already; there might not have been enough hours in the day to get to Bill Clinton's history, #MeToo movement or not.
That said, riddle us this—what exactly is Bill Clinton's "history with Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and, above all, Monica Lewinsky?" The history with Lewinsky is well known, thanks to the labors of Independent Counsel Javert. It involves ten acts of oral sex, plus late-night phone calls, spread out over several years.
That said, the history with the other three women is, in fact, largely unknown—and almost surely unknowable. Meanwhile, you'll note that Purdum and Kilgore have disappeared Gennifer Flowers, by whom the silly bills of the press corps swore when it helped keep tumescence alive.
Robert Ray was Kenneth Starr's successor as independent counsel. When he wrote the final report on the "Whitewater probe," he said his team had considered charging Willey with perjury, she'd lied to them much.
Such facts were aggressively kept from public view during the endless chase after Clinton and Clinton. Flowers has been disappeared several times, with no one explaining to the public why this had to be done.
(Amazingly, the New York Times brought Flowers back to life in this front-page gong-show report in October 2016. They even went with Connie Hamzy! No one in our hapless tribe stood up to say boo.)
What was Bill Clinton's actual history with Jones, Broaddrick and Willey? Did he have any history worth talking about with the ridiculous Flowers at all?
Regarding Flowers, the answer is almost surely no; she posited a torrid twelve-year love affair, but never claimed that her torrid affair with "my Bill" had been anything but consensual. (Bill Clinton copped to one brief interaction way back when, not involving intercourse.)
Regarding the three other women, we have no idea what did or didn't occur, though it seems fairly clear that nothing of any consequence happened with the truth-challenged Willey. (She too became a major hero of the lovesick boys of the mainstream press, right through the astonishing evening when a false accusation she made on Hardball almost got a journalist killed. You've never heard about that astonishing incident because the Kilgores and Purdums of the world have never wanted to break ranks with the guild. At that time, Hardball's Chris Matthews was a much more powerful player.)
At any rate, the children kept refusing to tell you such things, and our self-impressed liberal tribe is so deeply incompetent that we let their behavior go unchecked. Starting in March 1999, we even let their anger be redirected against Candidate Gore. For that treason, Candidate Bush squeaked into the White House, and was soon engaged in war against the children of Iraq. At one time, our pitiful tribe was even willing to pretend that we deeply cared about that!
The woods are lovely, dark and deep. Our liberal tribe is deeply pathetic—self-impressed, hapless, empty, sepulchral, wholly inept. Our joke appears on the last page of Simon's deathless book, "Divided We Stand: How Al Gore Beat George Bush and Lost the Presidency." It traveled from our lips to Gore's ears, and then, moments later, to Clinton's.
From there, it went to the boys and girls, doin' hard travelin' on Air Force One. If Hillary Clinton had reached the Oval, she would have been eaten alive by now.