On Friday afternoon, Joe Conason removed his lips from Bill Clinton’s ass long enough to answer questions from his fans on Facebook about his newly released book, Man of the World: The Further Endeavors of Bill Clinton. I pictured old Joe, sleeves pushed up while happily perched behind his computer, bombarded with questions from an eager audience.
Alas, he did not generate anything like the passion that the Beatles did at Shea Stadium in 1965. All told, only eight people turned out, excluding the present writer. Most asked friendly questions or just wanted to comment about Donald Trump, or the “Big Orange Conman,” as one person cleverly described him.
One person asked how cooperative Clinton was with the book project and had he “expect[ed] a hagiography?”
It turns out Bill was “very cooperative” — he granted Joe more than a dozen recorded interviews and let him tag along “three times to Africa as well as to the Mideast, Europe, and various places in the US.”
Of course, Bill had “no control over the content.” But I guess that wasn’t much of a risk given that Joe has been writing favorably about the Clintons for roughly a quarter century and his previous books have included “It Can Happen Here: Authoritarian Peril in the Age of Bush,” “Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth,” “The Raw Deal: How the Bush Republicans Plan to Destroy Social Security and the Legacy of the New Deal,” and “The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton.”
Note to young, aspiring journalists: If you want access to the people you write about, Conason’s patented brand of sucking up will work.
I tried confronting Joe about Bill’s long-time comfy relationship with the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who donated money to the Clinton Foundation and claims to have provided seed money to the Clinton Global Initiative. Not surprisingly, Epstein is largely excised from Conason’s book.
“Clinton didn’t know about Epstein’s sexual misconduct until it was exposed by Florida law enforcement authorities years later,” he replied. “At least I haven’t seen any evidence that he did.”
It’s doubtful he looked very hard. And when Bill and Jeffrey spent all that time traveling together on the “Lolita Express,” Epstein’s private jet, they probably just talked about the weather and ignored all the young women on board.