Here’s the story:

“The Clintons are upset with the comparisons that the Weiners seem to be encouraging — that Huma is ‘standing by her man’ the way Hillary did with Bill, which is not what she in fact did,’’ said a top state Democrat…

A longtime Hillary aide and Clinton friend, Abedin’s surprisingly unequivocal support of her husband after his bombshell admission Tuesday that he engaged in salacious online sexting well after he resigned in disgrace from Congress in 2011 left the Clintons stunned, continued the source.

What an odd notion, if true. Why would the Clintons of all people, be stunned? Surely they are aware that politicians can get into political trouble for infidelities of various sorts and make promises to spouse and/or the general public that it won’t happen again, and then fail to live up to those promises, get caught, and have to face some sort of consequences? And disclaimers aside, surely they know that even the most capable of political wives can wind up performing ye olde “Stand By Your Man” routine? Although in the immortal words of Hillary herself (and by the way, for those who forget what a pretty woman Clinton was twenty years ago, this might serve as a reminder):

So, what’s the big difference? Is it that Bill’s peccadillos were more conventional in that they involved actual sex with real live people in the non-virtual world (despite his use of the legalistic definition of “sexual relations” in his Paula Jones deposition, which enabled him to later claim that what he did with Lewinsky didn’t actually fall under that heading)? Compared to Weiner, the former president was positively old-fashioned in his procilivites. Is it Weiner’s relative kinkiness that’s the problem here? Or the fact that the Weiner/Abedins are reminding people of what was hardly Bill and Hillary’s finest hour, a memory the Clintons would rather have people forget if Hillary is to run successfully in 2016?

Or is it that, for the Clintons, the lying and the standing-by were justified because the stakes were so very much higher? (Also from the NY Post):

“The Clintons are pissed off that Weiner’s campaign is saying that Huma is just like Hillary,’’ said the source. “How dare they compare Huma with Hillary? Hillary was the first lady. Hillary was a senator. She was secretary of state.”

This is a curious remark, because actually Hillary was only the first of these things when the Lewinsky story broke, and she’d only been a first lady of Arkansas when the original “standing by” occurred in 1992, back when Bill was running for his first term as president.

So maybe that’s the difference. Maybe Hillary wouldn’t have stood by for a measly mayoral first-ladyhood.

And the moral of the story? Perhaps it’s bad luck to have Bill Clinton perform your wedding, as happened just three short years ago when Weiner and Abedin tied the knot.

As for the use of the word “livid” (the headline of the Post story I’ve been discussing is “Bill and Hillary Clinton are ‘livid’ at comparisons to Weiner’s sexcapades and Huma’s forgiveness”), it has long puzzled me. When I first learned its meaning in high school—because it appears in quite a few old literary works—I was told it meant “pale” even though people often used it to signify “red.” At any rate, it was a color, not a feeling. But then I kept seeing it used to mean any of those things, and the NY Post headline about the Clintons and the Weiner/Abedins seems to be using it to mean “angry,” as far as I can tell.

Here’s the complete lowdown on the word “livid,” everything you ever wanted to know about it for those who are curious about that sort of thing. Livid is apparently a word of many colors–specifically red, white, and/or blue. How apropos! It can also be used to mean “angry,” although that’s a much more recent practice.


[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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