There is no escaping Ed Klein’s much-buzzed-about book on Hillary Clinton. It’s being sold at my local Safeway grocery story, for Pete’s sake, at the checkout aisle, atop the Altoids and Reese’s Peanut Butter sticks.
I have neither the time nor the inclination to wade through this rehash (maybe the book would have been more appropriately stocked in the canned products aisle next to the corned beef). But John Podhoretz performed the public service for us, and minces no words:
This is one of the most sordid volumes I’ve ever waded through. Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated. And 200 pages into it, I wanted someone to drive stakes through my eyes so I wouldn’t have to suffer through another word.
Though Klein suggests in his subtitle that he has written a study of a power-hungry politician — “What She Knew, When She Knew It, And How Far She’ll Go to Become President” — he’s produced something quite different. An unduly celebratory biography is called a “hagiography.” Klein’s book is a “hate-eography.”
Leave it on the shelf.
Update: USA Today highlights more criticism from the right. Also this observation, which I think is right:
“The book seems so over the top that I don’t think it’s going to be taken terribly seriously,” said Charlie Cook, editor of the Cook Political Report. “The Hillary bashers will still be bashing Hillary, and the defenders will still be defending, but I don’t see how this changes anything.”
Tony Blankley liked the book.
Myrna Blyth weighs in.
Jim Geraghty sez:
I can’t believe some loons thought Kathryn was too tough on Klein in her interview. [Kathryn Lopez’s interview is here.] The guy is throwing around poorly-sourced crap. If you’re going to throw around nitroglycerin like the rape tale, you had better have some darn solid evidence. No matter what anybody thinks of her parents, Chelsea Clinton deserves better.
I can’t believe anyone compared this book to “Unfit for Command” – the Swifties had dozens of witnesses, and odd contradictions in Kerry’s stories over the years, and Christmas in Cambodia, and Kerry’s testimony before the Senate, and a veritable mountain of evidence compared to Klein’s stuff. Kitty Kelley is the better comparison.
Folks, there are plenty of arguments against Hillary Clinton, her policies, her views, her proposals, and her philosophies. This stuff ain’t it. Nobody on the right, left, or center ought to stoop to this level.
Update: Klein backs off the rape smear.