If George W. Bush had gone to law school and later flunked the bar exam, you can imagine that fact would have become a virtual part of his name in the MSM, as in "George Bush, who failed the bar exam, today criticized a law that . . ."
But it came as news to me when Carl Bernstein mentioned on this morning's "Today" that Hillary flunked the Washington, DC bar exam back in the '70s. OK, I'm not the most knowledegable guy, and the fact of Hillary's failure is not news -- after years of hiding the embarrassment, she revealed it, en passant, in her ghostwritten 2003 "autobiography." Note: according to that book, during the same period Hillary took and passed the Arkansas bar exam. The pass rate in Arkansas was considerably higher than in DC.
I have to imagine that Hillary's failure comes as news to a good number of people. How does it jibe with Clinton's image as The World's Smartest Woman? And what does it say about the MSM that this fact has not been widely disseminated?
In any case, that revelation was far from the only unflattering thing that Bernstein had to say when speaking with Matt Lauer this morning to promote his new Hillary biography, A Woman in Charge. Let's preface this by mentioning that Bernstein is anything but a conservative hit man. The son of two parents with Communist Party affiliations, as he wrote about in this book, Bernstein is of course best known as Bob Woodward's WaPo Watergate investigation colleague. More recently, Bernstein has called for a Senate investigation of the Bush administration, and in the course of the interview this morning referred to the Bush presidency as a "disaster."
Among Bernstein's other comments today:
- "This is a woman who has led a camouflaged life, and continues to."
- Hillary's childhood was in "an abusive family situation. Her father humiliated and abused her mother. Her mother had a horror of a childhood."
- "Bill Clinton's closest advisers, like Lloyd Bentsen and Donna Shalala, were adamantly opposed" to Hillary becoming head of the healthcare initiative.
- At one point "Today" displayed a graphic with a quotation from the book: "As Hillary has continued to speak from the protective shell of her own making, and packaged herself for the widest possible consumption, she has misrepresented not just facts but often her essential self."
- "I think that she has developed an inauthenticity that is perhaps her greatest political problem. . . Partly because of her self-invented biographical details, she does come off as inauthentic.
- "There's not a sex act mentioned in the book. What is important is Hillary savaging the women that he was with. Forgiving Bill Clinton repeatedly through their married life, but not forgiving the women, which raises a very interesting question about her feminism.
- Bernstein speaks of Hillary's "rather disingenuous explanation of her vote on the war."
All in all, an unflattering portrait of Hillary, sketched by a man with no apparent axe to grind. And keep that flunking factoid in mind next time you hear Hillary condescend to President Bush or others.
Contact Mark, who somehow managed to pass the New York bar exam, at email@example.com