In this week's New Yorker, Walter Isaacson gives us a sneering, contemptuous review of the recent books by Sidney Blumenthal and Hillary Clinton, in which, among other things, he compares Blumenthal to Buddy the dog and says of Hillary that there is a "perception of phoniness that dogs her." In one paragraph of Isaacson's review, we learn what a paranoid nutjob Blumenthal is:
Suddenly the tone turns conspiratorial. A legion of enemies small and large, from Arkansas lowlifes to the independent counsel Kenneth Starr, are woven into a tangled web of buffoons who share the same sinister motives and tactics. And many in the press are portrayed either as willing dupes or as craven co-conspirators.
Odd, then, that a paragraph later Isaacson tells us,
On the day that the Monica Lewinsky story broke, Blumenthal called [David] Brock, who had already been expiating his guilt by leaking to Blumenthal the maneuvers of the most ardent Clinton-haters. Brock proceeded to detail the collusion among Kenneth Starr’s office, journalists at Newsweek, Lewinsky’s turncoat confessor Linda Tripp, the merry mischief-maker Lucianne Goldberg, the Internet gossip Matt Drudge, and a motley if not vast right-wing conspiracy that included a collection of freelance investigators and legal “elves” funded by the conservative millionaire Richard Mellon Scaife.
So wait -- Isaacson acknowledges that there was "a legion of enemies small and large" arrayed against Clinton, a legion that included Kenneth Starr, and there were those in the press who were "co-conspirators"? So why, when Blumenthal says precisely this, does Isaacson sneer that "the tone turns conspiratorial"?
Isaacson says of Hillary Clinton's book, "most of her anger ... is directed at the enemies she claims sought to destroy [Bill Clinton's] Presidency." Excuse me: "she claims"? Is Isaacson actually prepared to argue that there may not have been enemies of Bill Clinton who sought to destroy his presidency? Is he saying that this an assertion that can be disputed?
Elsewhere in The New Yorker, there's a short review of Ann Coulter's Treason. The worst the anonymous reviewer can say about this book that charges every liberal and Democrat of the past half century with disloyalty to country is that the book is "strangely lopsided" and that Coulter lacks "any real acumen as a political commentator." Far better, I guess, to save the real venom for Sidney Blumenthal and Hillary Clinton, who worked with a president who was attacked by capable enemies for eight years, and who have the unmitigated gall to find this disturbing.