Thursday, May 25, 2006

Marriage Counseling

If you didn’t think that the New York Times article last weekend about the state of the Clinton’s marriage was enough of a non-story, David Broder brings it up again because this week it wasn’t a story.

The two sides of Hillary Rodham Clinton — the opposites that make her potential presidential candidacy such a gamble — came into sharp focus on Tuesday morning at the National Press Club.

For the better part of an hour, the senator from New York held forth in a disquisition on energy policy that was as overwhelming in its detail as it was ambitious in its reach.

But the buzz in the room was not about her speech — or her striking appearance in a lemon-yellow pantsuit — but about the lengthy analysis of the state of her marriage to Bill Clinton that was on the front page of that morning’s New York Times.


But for all the delicacy of the treatment, the very fact that The Times had sent a reporter out to interview 50 people about the state of the Clintons’ marriage and placed the story on the top of Page 1 was a clear signal — if any were needed — that the drama of the Clintons’ personal life would be a hot topic if she runs for president.


At the end of her talk, little time remained for questions, and the first three simply asked for clarification of points in the energy plan.

The final moment of her speech had been interrupted by a woman shouting anti-war slogans, and the fourth question gave the senator a chance to respond. She said, as she had before, that ”I regret the way the president used” the authority to make war in Iraq that she had joined in giving him, and now felt that, with a permanent Iraqi government almost complete, it is their responsibility to curb sectarian violence, end the insurrection and get about rebuilding the country.

Three times in the question-and- answer session, she referred to her husband as ”Bill,” praising him for seeing that his library in Little Rock incorporated a lot of energy-saving features.

Other than that, the elephant in the room went unmentioned.

I’ll tell you why it was unmentioned. Listen closely, Mr. Broder: Nobody with any class, tact, or character actually gives a shit about the Clintons’ marriage.

That doesn’t mean, however, that the press corps is going to let it go. After six years of absolutely no news about marital strife in the White House (and deservedly so), if Mrs. Clinton runs for president, it will start all over again — even if there’s no there there. After all, writing about stuff like budget deficits and incompetence and warrantless wiretapping is dull stuff compared to the fun they can have at the expense of someone else’s privacy.