Several media outlets have eagerly picked up the political gossip coming out of a New York magazine story on Hillary Clinton and her possible 2016 run. The article itself is a fawning profile of the former of Secretary of State and her husband. According to writer Joe Hagan, Bill and Hillary are "the most celebrated political marriage in American history." (Apparently, couples like John and Abigail Adams don't qualify.)
Although it wasn't until paragraph 40 of the nearly 6000 word article that Hagan seriously discussed the terrorist attack in Benghazi, he heaped cotton candy-style praise on the 42nd president: "Bill Clinton is also a legendary politician, a brilliant tactician who won two presidential elections and reigned over the most prosperous years in America in recent memory." The journalist seriously suggested that "some" think " he single-handedly won Obama reelection with his extraordinary takedown of Mitt Romney at the Democratic National Convention last year."
Hagan credulously highlighted:
"We get to be at home together a lot more now than we used to in the last few years," says Hillary Clinton. "We have a great time; we laugh at our dogs; we watch stupid movies; we take long walks; we go for a swim.
"You know," she says, "just ordinary, everyday pleasures."
Regarding the State Department-created separation, he spun:
By chance, their paths crossed in Bogota, where they had dinner together—then, owing to their massive entourages, returned to their respective hotels. "Love conquers all except logistics," says an aide.
The article contains cringe-inducing lines such as "There’s a weightlessness about Hillary Clinton these days. She’s in midair, launched from the State Department toward … what?"
Hagan swept aside hints of controversy, declaring:
At State, she was the head of a smoothly running 70,000-person institution, and fully her own woman, whose marriage to a former president was, when it was mentioned, purely an asset. And now that she’s left State, Clintonworld is being refashioned along new lines, rationalized and harmonized.
The New York writer allowed only a hint of negativity when touting the greatness of Bill Clinton:
At the same time, Hillary used her tenure at State for a more intimate purpose: to shift the balance of power in the most celebrated political marriage in American history. Bill Clinton was an overwhelming force in Hillary’s 2008 campaign, instrumental in vouching for Mark Penn, the strategist whose idea it was for Hillary to cling to her war vote on Iraq and to sell her as an iron-sided insider whose experience outweighed the need to project mere humanity. Bill also freelanced his own negative attacks, some of which backfired. Because his staff was not coordinating with Hillary’s, her staff came to regard him as a wild card who couldn’t be managed.
According to Hagan, Benghazi is nothing more than the latest example of the vast-right-wing conspiracy:
Benghazi will be the go-to bludgeon for Republicans if and when Clinton tries using her experience at State to run for president. It is a reminder that Clinton, despite the cool, centrist façade she has developed in the past four years, is only a misstep away from being a target of partisan rage once again.
Regardless of the facts, Republicans are liable to use Benghazi as a wedge to pry back her stately exterior, goading her into an outburst, once again revealing the polarizing figure who saw vast right-wing conspiracies and tried ginning up government health care against the political tides of Newt Gingrich.
In contrast, Hagan, when he was at the Texas Monthly, dug into decades-old dirt about George W. Bush's National Guard record.
New York magazine has a circulation of over 400,000. But it has a larger influence. The Hagan puff piece was picked up by ABC, CBS and MSNBC.