Like gaping motorists driving slowly past a car accident, it’s been a little disturbing to see so much blood in the waters that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are swimming in during their race to the Democratic presidential nomination.
Let’s see if we can sum up what transpired over just a few days: David Geffen, a Hollywood movie mogul and political leftie who used to be in the “Billary” circle of friends and money-raisers, has abandoned the Clintons and is now on the Barack bandwagon. It’s not entirely clear why the feisty little movie guy turned on the Clintons – evidently, there were some presidential pardons he had expected from President Clinton for some buddies of his that never materialized.
A number of Hollywood types are on record as saying that not only does one not want to be David Geffen’s friend, you sure don’t want to become his enemy. He is said to be one of those creepy, power-crazed billionaires who doesn’t like not getting his way.
Not only did he slam the Clintons by embracing the Illinois senator, but at a fundraiser for Obama recently, he poured gasoline on the fire by saying, “Everybody in politics lies (but the Clintons) do it with such ease it’s troubling.” He went on to tell Maureen Dowd of the New York Times that Bill Clinton is still having trouble keeping his pants zipped up around flirty women and that Hillary’s candidacy is a train wreck.
It doesn’t take a political policy wonk to imagine what kind of shrieking and gnashing of teeth took place in the Hillary-for-President camp. It’s highly unlikely that Madame Hillary smiled politely and said something like, “Oh, that darn David Geffen, he’s such a rascal” when she heard his slams. No, a more likely scenario involved plenty of obscenities being hurled and a few lamps hitting some walls.
There are a few undeniable truths in life: fish swim, birds fly, and a Clinton goes right for the jugular. The irony of the rap against David Geffen, that he is a much-despised, vindictive person, is that in the political world that also describes Hillary Clinton.
So it didn’t take long for her to come out swinging.
She dispatched Howard Wolfson, the longtime Clinton spin master, to demand that Sen. Obama denounce Geffen and – get this – fire him from the campaign and give back the money that was raised at the Obama fundraiser.
When reporters descended upon Obama to ask him about the flap, he looked positively stunned. Clearly, he was being schooled in the art of slash and burn politics, Clinton-style. However, his response was measured, classy, and entirely appropriate: this is between the Clintons and David Geffen.
Game, set, match for Sen. Obama.