Today's Blogs

State of the Clinton Union

Bloggers are raging against the New York Times for its article on the Clinton marriage. They are also disappointed at Saudi Arabia for paying lip service to educational reform.

State of the Clinton union: The New York Times gives Page One play to an examination of the Clintons’ marriage. The story dissects the amount of time the Clintons share by comparing their schedules and anonymously quoting their aides and friends. The article omits any mention of sex—both marital and extra-marital—but the topic rumbles loudly in the background.

The piece draws a heaping helping of liberal indignation. “50 sources and not one of them could tell you just how often they had sex?” snarks liberal behemoth blogger Duncan Black of Atrios. He also offers his take on the marital lives of prominent Republicans.

At TAPPED, the American Prospect’s Internet outlet, there is a flurry of discussion about the piece. Matthew Yglesias wishes that the article had not danced around its real point. “Both Clintons have official spokespersons, just ask them how often Bill and Hillary have sex. … If you’re not going to ask straight-up, or even write clearly what you’re talking about, then what’s the point of all this?” Using the data in the article, Ezra Klein offers a mathematical breakdown of the Clintons’ potential sex life compared with a normal American one. Garance Franke-Ruta thinks Hilary’s staff actually should be grateful for the facts revealed in this story. “It has never previously been reported that she and Bill spend so much time together. Their carefully calculated public distance has created an impression that they prefer to keep each other at arms’ length; this story knocks that down.”

Liberal Digby at Hullabaloo wonders if it is a slow news dayand dubs the piece a “doozy.” “Substitute the names and you could be reading about the travails of Brad and Jen or Tom and Katie … ”  he writes. “I do not know if Hillary is running for president and I’m not making a case for her candidacy. I do, however, think she has the right to try to earn the nomination without this gossip-at-the-hair-salon coverage by the NY Times.” Similarly, Suburban Guerrilla’s Susie chides the Times for running the story. “The whole tone just reeked of ‘Don’t worry, ladies and gentlemen, we will be watching every single move they make and we’ll be the first to let you know if the Clenis is up to his old tricks.’ “

Hugo Schwyzer, a member of the religious left, hopes this story does not herald a return to the ‘90s-era obsession with the Clintons’ personal lives. “[W]e all have our skeletons in the closet (or dancing on the front lawn). America doesn’t need paragons of private virtue as much as it needs skilled architects of public policy. It would be swell if we could have both in one man or one woman, but if we can’t, I’ll pick the latter.”

Anti-Hillary Democrat Edward Copeland at Copeland Institute for Lower Learning finds the story irrelevant. “There are plenty of valid reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton and whatever relationship she has with the former president is certainly not one of them,” he writes.

Even some conservatives are skeptical of the piece. Over at the National Review Online’s Corner, even Kathryn Jean Lopez concedes the story is tabloidesque. “The New York Times front page has a whiff of People this morning, writing about the Clinton marriage.” Conservative Dave at The Political Dogs questions the story and its claims: “How is this news? Why is it important at all, let alone now? And are we really supposed to believe the Clintons spend their time together gardening and playing scrabble?”

Laura, the conservative behind Miscellaneous Musings, worries about Bill’s future sexual misadventures. “If we ever do have the misfortune to have the Clintons return to the White House, it’s hard to even imagine what it might be like, between Bill’s narcissism, the relatively idle time he’ll have on his hands as the ‘First Spouse,’ and his penchant for the ladies,” she writes.

Read more about the Clinton Marriage.

No Wahabbi Lite: In Sunday’s Washington Post, a director at democracy watchdog Freedom House wrote that, contrary to the claims of the Saudi government, the kingdom has not overhauled its educational system nor eliminated intolerant sentiments from its textbooks. Instead, children are taught that Jews are apes, Christians are swine, and “Jihad … is the summit of Islam.”

Blogging at Captain’s Quarters, conservative Ed Morrissey is livid. “It demonstrates that the Saudis still plan on using obfuscation and misdirection in order to avoid responsibility for creating and maintaining the Islamist hatred that has inflamed the region and killed thousands of people around the world.”

Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch faults the column for not looking closer at Islam itself for intolerance. “[T]his piece shies away from pointing out the deep Islamic roots of the material, and leads the reader to the impression that this is all something cooked up by the wicked Saudi Wahhabis, instead of a much broader problem within the Islamic umma,” he writes.

Daniel W. Drezner, University of Chicago political science professor and “small-l libertarian Republican,” while remaining dismayed at the Saudi government, wonders if such sentiments are characteristic of religious textbooks. “If one were to go to religious schools in other countries, including the United States, how much rhetoric would one find that would smack of this kind of chauvinism?”

Read more about Saudi textbooks.