Ka-ching! and the sound of hair tearing For conservatives who argue that whatever sells the most copies is the most credible, yesterday was their literary Waterloo. Hillary Rodham Clinton's memoir had them lining up outside the stores in the early morning dark, waiting for her autograph; by day's end they had sold about 200,000 copies and her publisher announced that another 300,000 would be added to the initial print run of 1 million. You can almost hear the hair being torn from heads all over town, from News Corp on Sixth Avenue to the National Review's townhouse in Murray Hill to the Wall Street Journal office downtown (where they're trying hard not to mention that woman).
It's not a pretty sound.
The consternation on the right is especially amusing because they don't seem to realize that their demonization of Hillary (and her husband, of course) is what made this possible. It was they who transformed her into the Democratic La Pasionaria, the woman who stood up against the "vast right-wing conspiracy" and lived to tell the tale. Now they're bursting with sour grapes. Over at NRO, the spawn of Linda Tripp's agent reeks with whiny attitude:
"Hillary's book will be dropping on the best-seller list within 2 weeks and be off entirely in less than a month, if not sooner. Once the media boomlet is over, no one will feel the need to read the thing and there will be no 'it's a great read' word-of-mouth."
And another NRO blogger offers a conspiracy theory: "On my favorite TV show ... an author, shows up for a book signing to find a long line in front of the bookstore, paid for by his publisher. Is it difficult to imagine that someone did the same for HRC?"
The New York Times doesn't seem terribly pleased either, to judge from its snarky editorial today. The editorialist doesn't quite seem to have caught up with the news about Whitewater, "Travelgate" and those lost and found billing records: With all due respect to Howell Raines and Joseph Lelyveld, the former first lady was exonerated by two independent counsels and an exhaustive investigation by the Resolution Trust Corporation. Actually, as Sidney Blumenthal reports in "The Clinton Wars," all of those probes could have been wrapped by "1996 or 1997" at the latest. And you don't have to take Sid's word for that fact. As I note in today's New York Observer, he heard it directly from Starr's hand-picked ethics counselor Sam Dash. More on that to come later.
[8:42 a.m. PDT, June 11, 2003]