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Current Wisdom

EVER ON THE LOOKOUT FOR CURRENT WISDOM, I, this past summer, secreted a copy of Terry McAuliffe’s memoir: What A Party!: My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals, into the reading room of Gold’s Gym in Naples, Florida, with the hope of coming across an entry suitable for presentation in this famed department of AmSpec. The memoirist did not disappoint. On page 58 he wrote that in past issues this magazine of the Arts published articles “alleging” that Boy Clinton “ordered the murder of political opponents….” I entered the entire paragraph in our May issue, as you will doubtless recall.

Moreover on May 10 I sent Mr. McAuliffe a letter of inquiry that elicited the following delightful correspondence, demonstrating as it does that Bill Clinton is not the only Clintonista who inveterately lies and dissembles even when the DNA is against him.

May 10, 2007

Dear Mr. McAuliffe:

In your memoir you state that we published articles “alleging that [Clinton] ordered the murder of political opponents….” I have not been able to find such articles.

Could you give me the citations?


R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
Editor in Chief

No Response From McAuliffe

Purely by chance, I encountered Mr. McAuliffe in the Green Room of MSNBC while he was joshing with a comely makeup woman. Gingerly I reminded him of my May 10 inquiry, leavening any possible tension by imparting to him a hilarious exchange between Lady Duff Cooper and Charles de Gaulle in the late 1940s. A little name dropping never hurts with a boulevardier like McAuliffe, and though I doubt he recognized Lady Cooper, I am almost certain he was familiar with de Gaulle’s name. At any rate, he promised to get back to me after consulting with his “writer.” I followed up with the following:

July 3, 2007

Dear Mr. McAuliffe:

How very pleasant visiting with you in the Green Room. I hope you will not forget General de Gaulle’s drollery. I attach a copy of my original letter to you. I fear your “writer” has misled you. You’ll note what I have questioned you about is a direct quotation. You might ask the “writer” to provide the article or articles he is referring to.

All good wishes,

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
Editor in Chief

July 11, 2007

Dear Mr. Tyrrell:

It was good to see you recently in the MSNBC green room. I’m sure we’ll be seeing much more of each other in the coming months. I wanted to thank you for your interest in my book, “What A Party.” I’m delighted that it has done so well and sparked many conversations. I thought I should mention that in your letters from May 10 and July 3, 2007, you appear to have erroneously quoted a passage from my book. Here’s the exact and only passage in reference to the American Spectator and it is from page 58:

“…something called The American Spectator, which took under-the-table money from an ultraconservative named Richard Mellon Scaife and used it to send reporters out to do just enough digging to give the Tyrrell/McAuliffe Letters veneer of truth to wild, unfounded charges.”

And that should answer your question.

Terry McAuliffe

August 17, 2007

Dear Terry McAuliffe:

Thank you for your good letter of July 11, which arrived while I was visiting the handball alleys in the west of Ireland. The present American national champion is Irish and the game has deep roots there. Contrary to your July 11 letter, I did not “erroneously” quote your reference to The American Spectator on page 58 of your book. The very next sentence in this book, after the sentence fragment that you quote in your letter, clearly reads “That was how they cooked up the nonsense they put out against Clinton, alleging that he’d ordered the murder of political opponents….” I understand that you did not write your book, but can you read it?


R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
Editor in Chief

August 27, 2007

Dear Bob:

I am happy to hear that you had a good trip to my homeland of Ireland [actually Terry was born here in America—Ed.]. I fear, though, that you may have had too much Irish whiskey while you were there [Projection!].

In reference to your letter of August 17, I assure you that I was FULLY involved in the writing of my New York Times and Washington Post best-selling book at every level for fifteen months. I am, therefore, fully aware of the actual meaning of the paragraph on page 58 that you seem to be so hung up on since I saw you in the green room of MSNBC several months ago [actually only two months ago]. All I can ask is whether you are familiar with the concept of a paragraph. I would have assumed that was the case, but your bizarre correspondence makes me wonder.

To recap what the nuns back at St. Ann’s taught me: You organize sentences in one paragraph based on an overall theme. On page 58, the first full paragraph starts with a sentence referring to “a whole new level of desperation” for Republicans, and goes on to discuss “a whole network of conservative publications.” The following sentence refers to that network in saying “that was how they cooked up the nonsense.” If I can be blunt, you really need to keep your ego in check. You continue to think that the above reference is pointing its finger straight at the American Spectator. That is simply not the case. The sentences in question refer to the whole vast right-wing conspiracy [clinical paranoia] of many publications.

I have said all I can on this issue. I hope you have a nice end to the summer and may I suggest you really enjoy yourself by listening to all fifteen hours of my book on CD. Your life will never be the same once you hear my voice booming in your car and home. As an added bonus, your good friend Senator Hillary Clinton reads the book’s foreword!


Terence R. McAuliffe

October 19, 2007

Dear Terry:

Thank you for your thoughtful letter of August 27. I have taken your advice and familiarized myself “with the concept of a paragraph.” I have also reviewed the uses of the personal pronoun and the concept of a pronoun’s antecedent. From the way you line up the pronouns following their antecedent, “The American Spectator,” it certainly seems to me that you are saying it was the Spectator that was “alleging that he’d [President Bill Clinton] ordered the murder of political opponents….” But I shall take you at your word in your very friendly August 27 letter that, as you say on page 58,“a whole network of conservative publications” published articles “alleging” that your boss “ordered” murders.

Thus I return to my initial request. Could you give me the citations from National Review, Policy Review, and The American Spectator [these being the publications he mentioned]? I have not been able to find any charges of murder in any of these magazines.

Yours faithfully,

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.
Editor in Chief

Thus Far, Silence

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