Todd Purdum's long inquiry into the various questionable aspects of Bill Clinton's post-presidency in Vanity Fair shows how wrong Hillary Clinton is to claim that she (unlike Barack Obama) had been "vetted."
But to me, the most outrageous part of the article is this response to Purdum from Clinton spokesman Jay Carson, who suggests Democrats should refrain from criticizing Clinton to "protect a strong brand for the party":
The sensitivity among Clinton’s staff to these questions is such that, after I posed some queries about Clinton’s relationship with Burkle and Co., a spokesman, Jay Carson, e-mailed me this comment: “The ills of the Democratic Party can be seen perfectly in the willingness of fellow Democrats to say bad things about President Clinton. If you ask any Republican about Reagan they will say he still makes the sun rise in the morning, but if you ask Democrats about their only two-term president in 80 years, a man who took the party from the wilderness of loserdom to the White House and created the strongest economy in American history, they’d rather be quoted saying what a reporter wants to hear than protect a strong brand for the party. Repubicans look at this behavior and laugh at us.”
He's not an ethically challenged ex-president, he's a "strong brand"! Memo to Carson: It does not enhance Clinton's brand to have his staff refer to him as such.
The larger lesson here is how both sides of the debate have adopted the tactics and strategies of corporate PR. In that sense, Carson's statement is reminiscent of the famous Andrew Card quote about the rollout of the campaign for war in Iraq: "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." For more, see All the President's Spin.
(Note: Clinton's staff later distributed a long memo attacking the article.)
Update 6/3 9:09 AM: A reader points out that Bill Clinton was not the "only two-term [Democratic] president in 80 years." Carson meant to write 60 years, presumably.
Also, via Mickey Kaus, Mayhill Fowler at Huffington Post asked Clinton about the Purdum article and received a long harangue about how Purdum is a "scumbag" for which Carson later apologized (link includes audio). That's not exactly presidential behavior -- what happened to protecting the brand?