By Kevin Price, National News Editor, USADC.
Former President Bill Clinton recently co-authored a book with the novel producing factory known as James Patterson. I found this interesting, because I had not read anywhere that he was working on it until a few weeks ago. However, after some research, I did discover how the idea allegedly came about.
The New York Times reports “The project came about late last year when Robert B. Barnett, a lawyer at Williams & Connolly who represents both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Patterson, had the idea of pairing them up on a novel, according to someone familiar with the project who did not want to speak publicly because the publishers were holding back details about the publication. Mr. Barnett, who also represents the Obamas, Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Laura Bush and other politicians, first approached Mr. Clinton to see if he was interested in collaborating on a novel with Mr. Patterson.”
I believe this book was done fast — and purely — for the purpose of giving the former President something to discuss other than Monica Lewinsky… It has not worked.
Note the time frame — “late last year” is when the idea came up. “Late last year” — October 2017 — is when the world, for sexual predators, came crashing down as accusations became public against famed movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Immediately, many celebrities were taken to task for their years of inappropriate behavior. The timing of all this could not be worse for Bill Clinton, as it fell just months before the 20th anniversary of his infamous relationship with Monica Lewinsky. That, the exploitation by a powerful male against a young and impressionable female. The “Clinton–Lewinsky scandal” was an American political sex scandal that involved a 49-year-old President and 22-year-old White House intern. He was literally old enough to be her father.
So in October, every powerful person that had been involved in inappropriate behavior was now on the radar screen of women who have had enough with sexual exploitation. I believe, right after the story broke on Weinstein and accusations against other powerful males grew, the Clinton team decided to write a book. I’m surprised it became public that this only came to pass late last year. I thought Clinton and his team would argue this was a long term project. I believe it was designed all along to be a distraction from the #metoo debate and nothing else. Getting James Patterson as the “co-author” (I think, ghostwriter) was smart. He now averages more than two books a month, so getting this together quickly was no problem for someone like Patterson. I believe this book was done fast — and purely — for the purpose of giving the former President something to discuss other than Monica Lewinsky.
He (Clinton) will continue to make a fortune with his new book with Patterson, even as his sexual scandal haunts him. He will be crying all the way to the bank.
It has not worked. Every interview I have seen with Clinton and Patterson has gone to the #metoo issue. One of the interviews that gained attention was one the authors did with Craig Melvin of NBC. In it, Clinton admitted he never personally apologized to Lewinsky, but was part of a generic statement he made to “everyone.” He was asked about the many who have said that he should have resigned over the incident (something Al Franken did), and he argued he should not, based on the times.
Patterson tried to help Clinton by discussing the misbehavior of former Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. It made matters worse, leaving the former President looking like a child caught with his hand in cookie jar, but trying to explain away his behavior with that of others. He also moaned about being $16 million dollars in debt — legal expenses he acquired for lying under oath (fact checkers has found his debt statement “mostly false“). Clinton sounded like a victim, when the actual victims were Monica Lewinsky, Clinton’s family, and the American people. This is chump change compared to what he has made from his presidency, being the highest earning former President, his wife and him made over $153 million in speeches alone between 2001 and 2015. They have made tens of millions more in book deals. He will continue to make a fortune with his new book with Patterson, even as his sexual scandal haunts him. He will be crying all the way to the bank.
Clinton sounded like a victim, when the actual victims were Monica Lewinsky, Clinton’s family, and the American people.
I think Clinton believed he was clever, hiding behind a book. It was certainly better than turning down interviews about calls from US Senators that he should had resigned after the scandal. Instead, his book tour has forced him to do interviews and none of these journalists are staying away from Lewinsky.
Oddly, there does not appear that other journalists see the obvious timing in the release of the book and the #metoo scandal that follows Clinton. Of course, I am only speculating. However, this appears to be vintage Clinton behavior.
Kevin Price is the National News Editor of USA Daily Chronicles. He is a nationally syndicated columnist and radio host. His program, The Price of Business is coast to coast on the Biz Talk Radio Network. He is a multi-award winning journalist and speaker. Learn more about him here.