A fascinating literary drama has provided a typical dramatic — and bathetic — backdrop for the end of the Missus Clinton campaign, one that concerns a depiction of the excess-to-grind of Mister Clinton.
Todd Purdum…er, excuse me, Todd S. Purdum, of New York Times note, husband of former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, wrote a profile in Vanity Fair of the post-Presidency of Bill Clinton. The ex-prez expressed sharp disapproval. Jack Shafer in Slate quickly jumped on Clinton for his solipsistic slipshod slapdash slippery slap at the article. R. Emmett Tyrrell followed up with a column in these pages showing that a) Purdum was right, b) Purdum was essentially plagiarizing from Tyrrell’s book, which had made the same points and substantiated them, c) Clinton was predictable in both the bad character that was the subject and the bad character of his objection.
It occurs to me that one more log should be added to this fire. Namely, that Clinton in his response noted that since his term in office he has saved the lives of 1,300,000 people and the reporter has some nerve reviewing his work in this period without interviewing a single one of those people.
Now here is a statement that should elicit our profound marvel. This man, one person, a single human being, despite illness, despite lack of official status, despite unforgiving critics on all sides, despite a sordid history of philandering, despite a humiliating albatross of impeachment, despite a pathetic record of disbarment, was able to single-handedly save — count ’em! — one million and three hundred thousand people, all while not dating Gina Gershon, because that is a total lie and he is a paragon of fidelity.
How did this startling career of lifesaving escape our notice?
YOU KNOW WHAT? I don’t care if he is a Democrat or a Republican, a leftist or a rightist, if you bring me a person who saved one million and three hundred thousand people, I will fight for him or his wife or any relative he chooses to become President for life. Our obligation to recognize and encourage true kindness far exceeds political concerns. If I had the opportunity to save one hundred and thirty people from death, 1/10,000th of the score imputed to Clinton, I would have to put down my work indefinitely to secure this remarkable outcome.
Indeed Todd Purdum could well be criticized for ignoring 130,000 lives saved, or even 13,000, or even 1,300. In fact, all of us should be ashamed if we are not according proper honor to a person who has shown such dedication to human life.
Where are these survivors? It should not be necessary for Clinton to do his own dirty work and call Purdum “tawdry.” He should leave it to this natural army of spokespeople, all the grateful beneficiaries of his largesse, people who owe their very existence to this man of bountiful heart and boundless soul. There was a famous Jewish teacher in Warsaw who had taught thousands of kids between 1870 and 1920 or so. When he died, every living student carried a torch in a spectacular, dazzling display of fealty at his funeral. Something like this should be arranged for Bill Clinton, a march through the streets of our nation’s capital as the multitudes proclaim the nobility of their savior. How red would Todd Purdum’s face be then?
All this adds up to one salient point. These huge philanthropic foundations that claim to be solving all the world’s problems mostly dump boatloads of money in all the wrong places. P. J. O’Rourke did an excellent job summing this up two decades ago in his Enemies List that was published in this magazine. These pseudo-lifesavers are much more likely to give donations to Planned Parenthood to promote death than to help a woman feed her living child.
Ironically enough, the late Herbert Hoover, who is remembered as an unsuccessful President, actually did preserve many people’s lives managing food aid during World War One and its aftermath, saving entire populations from famine. Some argue that he saved more lives than any individual person in history. Compare that to the Clinton Foundation and its fearless fight to keep potato chips out of the public school vending machine. For Bill Clinton to attempt to insinuate himself into such company is a new level of grossness even for him.