Frontpage Interview’s guest today is R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., the founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator, a contributing editor to the New York Sun, and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. He is the author of the new book The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President's Life After the White House.
FP: R. Emmett Tyrrell, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
Tyrrell: Glad to be with you.
FP: What inspired you to write this book?
Tyrrell: The rogue himself. He is one of the most preposterous figures in American political history. Read the book, from my crashing of his 60th birthday party—that would be Chapter I—to his endless girl hopping—that would be every chapter in the book—to his scheming to get back in the White House, he makes amusing and instructive copy.
FP: Without giving too much away, can you tell us a little bit about how you crashed Clinton’s 60th birthday party?
Tyrrell: You would not expect a crack investigative journalist to reveal his secrets in sleuthery, would you? I can tell you that I was "under the radar" all evening. I managed to get myself seated with Bill's top aides--though I kept my distance from Hillary. His aides had no idea who I was. I actually felt sorry for Clinton when I heard how derisive they are about their boss. After all he was the President of the United States. I did find myself in the VIP line and had my picture taken with him. Gad, he looked aged. He really has to take up my lifestyle. You ought to lay hands on the picture of the two of us in Toronto. I think you would agree he needs to start playing handball and pumping iron, taking a salubrious nip and actually lighting a cigar from time to time.
FP: Could anyone get into this event?
Tyrell: No, you had to be a heavy donor—the most extravagant donors got to have their picture taken with the Great Man. You see, Clinton will have his photo taken with any and everyone if the price is right.
FP: Illuminate for us a few of the ingredients that make Bill Clinton a tortured man in his retirement.
Tyrrell: He senses that he has failed as a President—there are many examples of this in the book. Hence you see his angry outbursts in the book. But he also, being a sociopath, cannot perceive that he has done anything wrong. Hence his denunciations of prosecutors and his two hundred pardons and commutations to felons. I list them in the book. It is an astounding list of scoundrels, but Clinton lacks the probity to recognize this.
FP: In what ways is Clinton a sociopath? Is Hillary one as well?
Tyrell: Well, neither knows right from wrong. They lie when they don't have to and tell whoppers when a little white lie would be perfectly adequate. That gets them into trouble. As I report in the book no first couple ever attracted so many prosecutors, cops, criminal lawyers. At one point they had the entire Supreme Court engaged, and the Senate and the United States House of Representatives, the FBI, the Justice Department, who knows, possibly even the CIA and Russian intelligence? You will recall that I report that the “phone sex” between Lewinsky and Clinton were al taped by foreign intelligence agencies and might be released at any point, a particularly dramatic point might be during Hillary’s run for the White House..
FP: It appears that Bill Clinton is a person that finds it difficult to be alone. Can you talk a bit about that?
Tyrrell: He loves performing before an audience. Consequently I report on his long hours staying up late into the night jabbering. If he were to go to sleep he would lose his audience. I believe I am the first to report on how really wretched his health has become. He has burned the candle at both ends and it has left him a wreck. Again recall the Clinton I encountered at his birthday party. That is not a healthy man. As I tried to tell him, recreational sex is even more perilous than tobacco.
FP: If someone were to ask you what kind of marriage Bill and Hillary have, what would you say?
Tyrrell: Well in the book I call it a typical European playboy's marriage. He is the mischief maker. She is the bossy mother figure. It is very much like the marriage of President Warren Harding—and both were golfers and pursuers of the fair sex. They called Mrs. Harding “Duchess.” I call Hillary “Bruno.” She is a bit rougher around the edges as I report in the book. She actually heaved a book at the head of a CIA driver—it’s in the book.
FP: For our readers, can you give us a few more sentences about Harding’s marriage?
Tyrrell: Yes, I can. I fancy myself a "presidential historian" as Michael Beschloss is called. Warren Harding was a ladies' man. He loved to sit around with his cronies and play cards and golf. He was very charismatic, very popular with the lumpen proletariat. Mrs. Harding (the Duchess) was very bossy, stout in the hips, and given to tirades against Warren, though I doubt she threw things at Warren as Hillary did at Bill. Times have changed. As you will see in the book not only does Bruno throw things at the Secret Service, she also beans Bill from time to time. From my Secret Service sources—and I do have such sources as you can see in the book—I print dates on which Bill actually experienced assault and battery at Hillary’s hands—she has a good throwing arm.
FP: Clinton has often referred to the poverty he grew up in. What kind of poverty was it?
Tyrrell: As you know from reading the book, he did not grow up in poverty. After his mother married Roger Clinton the family was very well off. He has been admitting as much in recent years.
FP: As you show in your book, Clinton has a burning need to remain a player but at the same tine he can’t upstage Hillary because she is the one that needs to become the next president. So how does he find a balance – or does he?
Tyrrell: It is very tricky. He has not found a balance and in fact the Clinton campaign lives in constant fear of another problem: bimbo eruptions from the bimbos he has been picking up with in retirement.
FP: So Hillary really doesn’t care about Bill sleeping with other women in terms of caring as a jealous wife? She only cares in terms of how it will hurt her political career?
Tyrrell: Actually I think she is a romantic, or was a romantic. But she understood early on that Bill would be running around. She first discovered this during their courtship. It’s all in the book. She has made a deal with him. The next time he makes headlines with his amours...splitsky, and worse!
FP: Can you tell us a bit about what Hillary has engaged in vis-à-vis her husband's former girlfriends?
Tyrrell: She has a constant patrol of informants on his trail. As I report this was going on even when he was in the White House, and as I report some of the guys are pretty tough customers, at least those who have escaped jail.
FP: What makes Bill Clinton tick? Hillary?
Tyrell: This is the most important theme of the book. Both are 1960s lefties. They are narcissists. Self-love propels them through life and often amusingly so. A major theme is that the 1960s generation was the most momentous of the twentieth century. The left-wing of that generation has been competing with those of su who are from the right-wing of the 1960s generation for decades. I talk about how the two sides have variously taken over the politics of the country. Now in 2008 we shall see the last great battle of this intragenerational war. It is going to be a tremendous battle. It already is.
FP: So who do you think will run in 2008? Will it be a catastrophe for America if Hillary becomes president?
Tyrell: She may not get the nomination. As I predict in the book, a younger generation is rising up to challenge her. If she does she will lose to either McCain or Giuliani and she knows it. Her garrulous aides revealed that to me in Toronto. They should be fired.
FP: R. Emmett Tyrell, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.
Tyrell: Thank you and happy days.
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