If you've been suffering nostalgia for a recent period in American history where the economy was great, tech innovation was largely welcomed with a series of Gee Whiz! smiles, the world was mostly at peace…and the country's leading evangelical preacher promoted a hilariously insane "documentary" that accused the president of the United States of serial murder, I've got good news for you!
With apologies to George Costanza, the '90s are back, baby!
That's almost certainly bad news for Hillary Clinton, who would like to forget that decade, but it's kind of great news for just about everybody else.
For journalists, it gives us endless reasons to sift through "The Decade of the Penis" for all sorts of barely buried treasure. For Clinton's opponents (in both parties), it's an opportunity to bite into her Galactus-sized lead in the 2016 election. For Fox News, VH-1, and other cable TV peddlers of nostalgia, well, the possibilities are endless.
Former Clinton "War Room" strategist and boy wonder George Stephanopoulos is in hot water for failing to disclose the piles of cash he gave to The Clinton Foundation while grilling critics about his former bosses.
A few months ago, we learned that Monica Lewinsky's semen-stained blue dress makes an appearance in Bill Clinton's official portrait at the National Gallery. Interviewed while painting a belly dancer of all things, artist Nelson Shanks copped to laying what is surely one of the greatest Easter Eggs in the history of American art. As he told Philly.com:
The reality is he's probably the most famous liar of all time. He and his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting.
If you look at the left-hand side of it there's a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.
And so the Clintons hate the portrait.
So much depends on that blue dress, glazed with evidence. It was the physical evidence that forced events even as the Clinton White House was going whole hog on a "nuts and sluts" defense by which it would attack Lewinsky and other women accusing the president of improprieties as candidates for the Giggle Academy.
The latest '90s reanimation is in the barely human form of Sidney Blumenthal, who calls to mind Lord Palpatine, Golem Gollum, and other such characters whose rottenness ultimately overtakes and deforms whatever humanity they once might have possessed.
Back in the day, Blumenthal was a respected (read: well-connected and establishment) journalist attached to outlets such as The New Republic, where he got his start. Despite a twee exterior and generally prissy demeanor that made Tony Randall seem like the Brawny Paper Towel pitchman in comparison, Blumenthal's nastiness and willingness to fling shit like a howler monkey in heat earned him the sobriquet "Sid Vicious," because, well, you know there's really not much difference between a New Republic and New Yorker kind of guy and the junk-addicted, homicidal bassist for the Sex Pistols, amirite.
Blumenthal tossed in his journalism cred to work for the Clinton White House in roles ranging from what the Wall Street Journal calls "political Svengali to opposition hit man." He was there for the worst times in the Clinton White House and his apparent role in the "nuts-and-sluts" strategy and more led to a phenomenally acrimonious public break with his one-time best buddy, Christopher Hitchens.
Blumenthal is in the news now for shady dealings regarding Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation, and Libya, where he seems to have been working both sides of the street when it came to the U.S. intervention and later plans for business development.
As The New York Times reports, Blumenthal remained a trusted adviser to Clinton when she was secretary of state, despite not really knowing what the hell he was talking about.
Mr. Blumenthal sent Mrs. Clinton at least 25 memos about Libya in 2011 and 2012, many describing elaborate intrigues among various foreign governments and rebel factions.
Mrs. Clinton circulated them, frequently forwarding them to Jake Sullivan, her well-regarded deputy chief of staff, and requesting that he distribute them to other State Department officials. Mr. Sullivan often sent the memos to senior officials in Libya, including the ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 attacks in Benghazi.
In many cases, Mr. Sullivan would paste the text from the memos into an email and tell the other State Department officials that they had come from an anonymous "contact" of Mrs. Clinton.
Some of Mr. Blumenthal's memos urged Mrs. Clinton to consider rumors that other American diplomats knew at the time to be false. Not infrequently, Mrs. Clinton's subordinates replied to the memos with polite skepticism.
And now, Blumenthal is a humanoid semen-stained blue dress, rematerializing into public view and opening not simply whole new cans of worms but vast new territories that are just cans of worms all the way down. This is all to the detriment of Hillary Clinton's reputation and political future. If past performance is any indication, it won't ruin her chances, but it will greatly complicate things.
Mr. Blumenthal was on the payroll of the Clinton Foundation at the same time he was being paid by groups helping Mrs. Clinton's presidential run, at the same time he was advising a U.S. business seeking Libyan contracts, at the same time he was secretly advising Secretary of State Clinton about Libya. Every top American diplomat apparently needs a good man Friday who no one else knows about….
The news raises questions about whether Mr. Blumenthal's work with Mrs. Clinton at State in any way benefited his private dealings, or how any of it fit into his work for the foundation. Mr. Blumenthal isn't talking, and Mrs. Clinton's emails are still conveniently being vetted for future release by the State Department (at least the ones she didn't erase).
The good ol' Bill Clinton presidency! Talk about the return of the repressed! By the end of his presidency, it was clear that Bill Clinton was like something out of a gothic novel by Faulkner, but who expected it snare a former Goldwater girl from Illinois. But there it is. Hillary's past—both from the 20th century and the 21st—keeps bubbling back up to the surface, like some sort of old corpse that just goddamn refuses to stay weighted down at the bottom of the lake! It's enough to make a person feel sympathy for her, if only she hadn't been implicated in all this for so long.
Check out Camille Paglia's epic rant about Hillary from March 19: