Todd Purdum, whom you’ve probably never heard of, wrote a piece about Sarah Palin declaring her a moose-devouring narcissistic beast of the id. Saying anything bad about a Republican woman, of course, makes the person who says it a mean, nasty sexist and probably a giant gay, because liberal gay men hate women.
Todd Purdum, whom you’ve now heard of, wrote a piece about Bill Clinton declaring him (wait for it) an attention-devouring narcissistic beast of the id. Because he’s a peach. Just a great guy.
Bill Kristol has gotten totally pissy about the Palin article, mainly because Steve Schmidt got to run the McCain campaign into the ground, and Bill Kristol only almost got to do that. This has sparked a family feud within the ranks of the old McCain campaign, which is largely provoked by Unka Bill showing up drunk and ranting about how his pinko nephew is a “communiss”. A sample:
Here’s a highlight of Purdum’s reporting: “More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders–’a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy’–and thought it fit her perfectly.”
Is there any real chance that “several” Alaskans independently told Purdum that they had consulted the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders? I don’t believe it for a moment. I’ve (for better or worse) moved in pretty well-educated circles in my life, and I’ve gone decades without “several” people telling me they had consulted the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
Kristol, however, had a chance to reply to Purdum’s article on Clinton last year, which was basically about how Clinton had bought a moped and was traveling around with Hot Springs’ worst youth gang, peeking on the girls’ soccer team after Hillary Clinton wasn’t President. This was Kristol’s response:
HUME: And that doesn’t even include the unkind things that Mr. Clinton had to say about Todd Purdum, the “Vanity Fair” correspondent who wrote an unflattering piece in the forthcoming issue about Bill Clinton. He referred to him, I think, among other things, as a quote, “scumbag.” So the question arises, this is a man who was noted, justly so, for the perfect choice of words, for always being able to frame the issues deftly and with an incredibly light political touch. What has happened to the big dog?
KONDRACKE: Well, I mean, there is speculation in the Purdum article in “Vanity Fair” that his heart surgery had some neurological effect, and that he is off his rocker a little bit, that his temper is worse, that he is not firing on all cylinders.
HUME: That is pure speculation.
KONDRACKE: It is pure speculation, but there have been other people about whom that has been said as well in similar circumstances. What has happened? Who knows? He has made mistake after mistake after mistake in this campaign. He has not been the usual deft Bill Clinton. And you could, if you wanted to speculate, you could say he has a political death wish for his wife. That’s been speculated, too.
HUME: But what effect, then, on Barack Obama has he made of the prospect of having her as a running mate and potentially as his vice president–Bill?
KRISTOL: It has to be a little worrisome. I personally loved this. I think it would be great to have a Bill Clinton–this is much more lively then you’re typical spouse of the defeated candidate. I don’t know. I think it’s the biggest drawback of putting Hillary on the Clinton ticket, honestly. They are not certain if they can control him for those two months. If she becomes vice president, having him sitting there in the vice president’s mansion could be a problem. Though I suppose he could be appointed to replace her as Senator from New York. And then he would be in the Senate and out of her hair and out of his hair. Maybe McCain will win and spare us all these scenarios.
So, as you can see, Kristol is reacting to Vanity Fair’s allegations deep psychological issues with prominent politicians purely out of principle, and in no way out of pissy internecine grudges from a failed presidential campaign.