THE TONY SOPRANO APPROACH TO CLINTON-HATRED.

Putting aside Andrew Sullivan's bizarre attempts to write Hillary Clinton out of feminism, the furious anti-Clinton manifesto he published today has a distinctly mafioso-like tone to it. After hundreds of words in which he warns darkly about the "constant beat of marital-political intrigue that we endured in the 1990s," bemoans "the depth of Bill Clinton's needs and compulsions and Hillary Clinton's life-long enabling of them," and calls them "a co-dependent, scandal-drawn power-couple with almost no accountability within their marriage, let alone outside it," he ends with, "I just want this on the record, ok? If you want to pick them again, do so with your eyes open."

In other words: Do you want to relive the political environment of the 90s? If so, vote Clinton. Because this is what it'll be like. This post, that I just wrote, here on my blog.

Of course, the political environment of the 90s was, in no small part the creation of a scandal-obsessed media. Was Clinton any more sexually compulsive than JFK, or Bob Livingston, or the thrice-married Newt Gingrich, or the thrice-married Rudy Giuliani? Hell, was the Clinton's relationship any more, or any less, fraught than the stange filial dramas between George W. Bush and his father? Of course not. The media just lost its mind for eight years, went crazy with class hatred and status envy and groupthink and scandal-mongering (remember Whitewater? Where the investigation found, after $25 million in costs, no wrongdoing?). The Clintons had their problems then and they have them now. An apparent willingness to bomb Iran strikes me as an issue. But they weren't the ones Sally Quinn was writing about, or that Andrew Sullivan is lambasting. Those problems are the ones the media created for them.

What Sullivan is demonstrating here is that, if Clinton is elected, he will do his steady best to bring that back. He will use his platform, his dozens of posts a day, his megaphone into the elite, to bring back the constant psychosexual speculation, the bizarre paranoia about the "true" nature of their marriage, the constant questioning of Hillary's feminist credentials, etc, etc. Phrased another way, Sullivan is saying, "nice press corps you have here. Shame if something should happen to it." That's the deal he, and some others in the media, are offering: Don't vote for Clinton, and we won't descend into hysterical Clinton-hatred again. As he writes at the end of his post, "I just want this on the record, ok?" And so it is.

--Ezra Klein

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