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The Daily Beast Continues to Try to Squeeze as Much Gossip as They Can Out of the Obama-Hillary Relationship

November 15, 2010

Let’s be honest, it’s always good for headlines and it always grabs people’s attention- after all, I’m writing about it.

So, why am I feeding into the Daily Beast’s attempts to rehash old animosities in an attempt to increase their page views? Because the Daily Beast is the People Magazine of the political world and I feel it’s necessary to keep reminding people of that. And yes, lets all take a moment and offer up a Rest in Peace toNewsweek, which has just merged with the Daily Beast in order to a) drag Newsweek into the 21st century of social/online media and b) damage whatever brand value it had by mixing sensationalism with hard news- you know, the online version of Fox and MSNBC. As a result, the merged companies will heretofore be referred to on this blog as BeastWeek.

Also, the Daily Beast story is really just a shameless opportunity for Obama worshiper Richard Wolffe to try to pawn off his second Obama book, Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House. Because, you know, if there’s one more thing we need it’s another gripping Obama book.

Here’s a little taste:

…That Clinton would be the one to bail Obama out in his hour of need is a rich irony, indeed. She was, after all, his bitter rival in the Democratic primaries of 2008. She was the one who had to be coaxed into his Cabinet, when Obama tried to put the past behind them with his audacious “Team of Rivals” job offer. And she’s the one whose aides and supporters still have not entirely buried the bitter legacy of her defeat two years ago—the die-hard Clintonites who still dream of another shot at the White House two years hence.


For the most part, Clinton and her boss have had an effective working relationship since she signed on as secretary of State—smooth and efficient, if not warm and influential. Clinton has faithfully executed the foreign policy handed down by a highly centralized White House. Yet she has not had nearly the impact on the president’s thinking and agenda as, say Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Bush holdover.

As I write in my new book, Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House, the Clinton-Obama relationship has moved forward despite lingering resentment and suspicions among aides to both principles struggling to let go of the past...[emphasis added]

We’re all psychoanalysts now.

Ok, notice a couple of things here, which I highlighted- as far as I’m concerned the article should have ended after that first bit where he says “for the most part, Clinton and her boss have had an effective working relationship since she signed on as secretary of State—smooth and efficient, if not warm and influential...” Ok, end of story- they work well together and it’s an effective partnership- isn’t that what matters? Pretty much the entire rest of the article was rendered unnecessary after that. BeastWeek editors apparently disagreed.

Also, why is it that every single article about Secretary Clinton’s working relationship with President Obama has to compare her to a) other Cabinet members and/or b) past Secretaries of State? Did Larry Summers hang out with President Obama and was their relationship “warm and influential?” Does Tim Geithner chat up Obama over a beer after a long day at Treasury? Is Secretary Gates the most important and influential Secretary of Defense in the history of these United States? Or is it because Hillary is a woman that now it’s a requirement that the Secretary of State and President of the United States not only have an effective, productive working relationship, but also a “warm and influential” one, whatever the hell that means?

But lets keep going with Mr. Wolffe’s book promotion article:

But some of Obama and Clinton’s own aides seemed to believe that the contest was still playing out.


The evolving relationship with Clinton stands in contrast to the president’s chemistry with Defense Secretary Gates, who endeared himself to Obama early on—with a quiet, efficient, and practical demeanor that matched the president’s. “He’s Yoda,” declared one Cabinet official early on, referring to the diminutive Jedi master in the Star Wars movies.

Now, these are excerpts that I have pulled out and highlighted because I personally find them to be annoying. If you read the whole article you’ll see that there are places where Wolffe does give Secretary Clinton some props sandwiched in between the gossipy stuff. Also, apparently the new standard in political pseud-journalism is to never use named sources, ever. They are all just “aides” or “officials” or “a person close to the President.” I’m also going to totally ignore the adoring reference to Secretary Gates, the man at the head of the largest military industrial complex in the world, as “Yoda.” I don’t really think it’s fair to Yoda. I’m just saying.

One of the things the media isn’t very good at is a) self reflection and b) pop psychology. Despite being obvious to most of us, it’s apparently not obvious to the media that they are the ones that are really, really disappointed that Hillary and Obama have gotten along so well. They were really looking forward to being able to report on lingering resentments (actual ones), turf battles, personality difficulties and policy disagreements because that’s a lot more fun than reporting on, say, trying to curb the use of rape as a weapon of war in the Congo or the intricacies of getting Turkey and Armenia to sit at the same table and consider rapprochement. So instead what we are treated to is this sensationalized rehashing of the first months after the general election. Why in the world wouldn’t there be some lingering bad feelings and mistrust at that time? Why is this news more than two years on?

Perhaps the media would do well to focus on how Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama managed to set aside their differences and any lingering hard feelings and work together for the good of the country? I know that may not be as exciting a story as all this palace intrigue and it may conflict with the media’s firmly-entrenched view of Hillary Clinton as an opportunist and scene-stealer, but at the end of the day I think the story of the two of them putting the past behind them and coming together is the far more compelling one.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. PCFS permalink
    November 15, 2010 8:36 am

    ‘I think the story of the two of them putting the past behind them and coming together is the far more compelling one.”

    I so agree Stacy. Thanks for posting this annoying article from the Daily Beast.

  2. plural permalink
    November 15, 2010 8:54 am

    “The evolving relationship with Clinton stands in contrast to the president’s chemistry with Defense Secretary Gates, who endeared himself to Obama early on—with a quiet, efficient, and practical demeanor that matched the president’s.”

    So, Hillary’s manner isn’t “quiet, efficient, and practical?” Since when?

    • PYW permalink
      November 15, 2010 5:09 pm

      Exactly. Those adjectives apply to Hillary as much as to Gates. But I would expect Wolffe to minimize Hillary’s influence in the administration because he’s an Obama acolyte.

  3. rachel permalink
    November 15, 2010 9:20 am

    Oh stacy who cares about the Congo, the new start treaty, cleanstoves, middle east peace. I want to know more about how that Hillary Clinton is finally gonna stab President Obama in the back.

    Heavy sarcasam.

    • Carolyn-Rodham permalink
      November 15, 2010 10:31 am

      According to some Beast readers, “Start watching Hillary’s hips and weightlifter’s thighs. If she’s losing weight, she’s running against The One.” [comment posted to the Wolffe article].

      • rachel permalink
        November 15, 2010 11:42 am

        Oh brother are they sure it’s not sign if she changes her hairstyle again?

      • November 15, 2010 12:54 pm

        @Carolyn-You know, I told myself I was not going to read those comments over there but since you gave me a sample, naturally I went over there and read through all of them. So obviously, it’s all your fault.

        As I read them it became more and more clear to me why elections sometimes turn out the way they do and why our citizens are some of the most uninformed in the industrialized world- people just make sh*t up. There are people over there talking about Vince Foster, FOB’s, Hillary’s looks, saying she’s a carpet-bagger and on and on. You couldn’t find an actual fact over there if you’re life depended on it- it’s a bunch of conspiracy, hate-mongering nonsense.

        I’ve noticed that a lot of male commentators just don’t like women in politics who don’t conform to a certain “type.” I think Sarah Palin makes a lot of these guys a lot less uncomfortable. I mean, look at Chris Mathews- the guy had a man-crush on Obama during the election and Richard Wolffe does too. So does Jonathan Alter. They don’t even see it. And the man-crush is fine, but they shouldn’t pawn off their little crush as journalism.

  4. Carolyn-Rodham permalink
    November 15, 2010 10:06 am

    Yeah, Gates and Obama get along soooo well that Gates is leaving.

  5. Thain permalink
    November 15, 2010 11:52 am

    Some of the comments over there at the article are obnoxious of course.

    Yeah, Gates is so wonderful he can’t control the military or his people at DoD from leaking memos and painting Obama into a corner whenever they feel like they aren’t getting their way in Afghanistan. He’s a real Yoda all right. Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn’t Afghanistan actually gotten worse despite the administration and military spin that those nasty Taliban are runnin’ scared? I saw something this weekend that said it’s getting harder for the soldiers and Afghan civilians because now the insurgents are more spread out. Maybe the advice Yoda is giving Obi Wan isn’t so good after all.

    Gates should prove his worth and just use an old Jedi mind trick to make the Taliban go away.

    Oh and Stacy- “BeastWeek”- too funny!

    • November 15, 2010 1:07 pm

      @Thain, great comments on Yoda! George Lucas’s Yoda counseled that ““Fear is the path to the dark side. ” Obama is ruling on fear, as Bush did, not “hope” as he campaigned on.

      Hillary even said recently that a person could be hit by a bus when they step off the curb, and that living driven by fear is no way for Americans to live.

  6. November 15, 2010 12:55 pm

    @rachel- not to be shallow, but I have to say I was a big fan of what I call her “campaign hair.”

    • PYW permalink
      November 15, 2010 5:14 pm

      I was, too. 🙂

      But I agree with you completely about people’s caricatured and downright ridiculous perceptions of Hillary. Even after 18 years, nothing has really changed.

      And the media isn’t much better. Obama used the general media dislike of Hillary to full advantage in the primary campaign.

  7. Sharon Arthur permalink
    November 16, 2010 1:46 pm

    These idols of Obama, R. Wolfe, J. Alter etc. easily blame anything they can on Hillary. The real question is that they can’t explain why” their guy” is sinking, dithering and unable to lead. They were so sure that he was the one we were all waiting for. Guess what??? I think he could have used a whole lot of experience. He maybe philosophyical but he cannot translate that into political leadership.

  8. June 22, 2013 10:51 am

    They go well together

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