In one of the weirdest stories I've ever read, Matt Drudge is reporting that Ed Klein's upcoming, hatchet-job-to-end-all-hatchet-jobs alleges that Bill Clinton raped Hillary to conceive Chelsea.
Putting aside the fact that Hillary was one of the most liberated women of her generation and would be about as likely to accept forcible assault as step out of a moving plane sans-parachute, this story is still weird. After all that's been written on Bill, on Hillary, on Billary, on their relationship, on their lack of a relationship...no one has found this? I've got my doubts.
In any case, this sort of thing is one of Hillary's great strengths. Ed Klein may be strenuously objecting to the term right-winger, but so long as he's going to publish weird screeds about the Clintons, that's where he'll end up. More to the point, this all sounds hysterical, over the top, insane. It'll be inhaled by a right hungry for evidence that Clinton is as bad or worse than they believe. It, and the other allegations in the book, and the accusations to come, will be repeated, with varying levels of subtlety, until the misogyny of many of Hillary's detractors and the unheralded hate they hold for her is on full display. And, in the end, what does a story like this do? Increase female sympathy with a women watching her name get dragged through the mud in order to run for president? Make men feel uncomfortable with the whole election? There's no constituency this allegation will scare away, no facet of public life that such a charge makes Hillary unworthy for. Moreover, the right has spent so many years painting Hillary as a cold, calculating bitch with a heart of stone and a spine of steel that the story on its own makes no sense -- the prevailing sentiment is that she could rip Bill's heart out with minimal effort.
This is good. This is what Hillary wants. For the right to overreact, keep her in the news, make her sympathetic, give her more time with cameras, make her an emotional cause for women, turn men off from the whole election (who, after all, will want to swim in these currents?). Ed Klein may be crazy, he may be stupid, but he's doing no harm to anything but his own reputation. The media will ruminate about the return of Clinton -hatred, Hillary will craft a quip and smart statement to read when she's asked about the issue, and Republicans, when they enter, will have one more media minefield to navigate, because the last thing they want to do is inject themselves into a marital rumor where their opponent was the hapless victim.
Update: QandO argues that none of the folks inhabiting the rightwing blogs have jumped on this. Well, no, I wouldn't expect the Libertarianosphere to sink to this. And indeed, I don't think all Republicans would jump up and down with glee over the idea that a presidential candidate might have been raped (Incidentally -- if Bill Clinton was walking off to rape her, isn't it odd that he made a public announcement about it?). But I do expect a fair portion, the portion that keeps buying, reading, and blurbing the endless procession of anti-Hillary screeds, to grab this as well. Not quite sure what they'll do with it -- the ostensible villain, after all, isn't running for anything -- but they'll figure out something. I know, it sounds cynical. But after watching the anti-Clinton cottage industry survive for a good decade now, cynicism is a fact of life.