Skip to comments.Hillary Clinton's defeat fuels divorce rumours
Posted on 06/14/2008 7:24:28 PM PDT by COUNTrecount
Rumours have been rife that the Clintons' marriage may be on the rocks. From Washington, Tim Shipman dissects the dynamics of the power-hungry duo's complex relationship.
Hillary Clinton is licking her wounds, relaxing at an undisclosed location with her husband, Bill, and daughter, Chelsea, doubtless pondering the causes of her failure to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
Yet as the New York senator considers her future in American public life, there are new claims that she is also considering the future of her marriage. The First Post, an irreverent online news magazine, last week alleged that some of those around Mrs Clinton believe that her failure to beat Barack Obama has weakened the cement in her marriage.
The argument goes like this: Mrs Clinton stood by her man despite his serial philandering in exchange for his support for her own political ambitions. Now that the 42nd president is himself partly blamed for her losing the nomination with his often-incendiary public comments, their relationship will go the same way as her candidacy.
Article continuesadvertisement The First Post quoted a source close to Mrs Clinton's staff saying: "Why on earth would she stay with him now? It's over. The feeling is that she can do better in the Senate without him, and better if she wants to take another shot at the White House in 2012."
Likewise, commentary on the state of the Clinton marriage has seeped into the normally squeamish mainstream American media.
A devastating portrait of Mr Clinton in this month's edition of Vanity Fair, for instance, claims that Mrs Clinton's staff have grown concerned that, since leaving the White House, Mr Clinton has continued to enjoy the company of women other than his wife, as well as the friendship of billionaire Ron Burkle whose private jet is dubbed "Air F*** One". Mr Clinton dismissed the author, Todd Purdum, as a "scumbag", while the actress Gina Gershon threatened to sue the magazine for implying that she had an improper relationship with the former president.
In another blow for the Clintons, Gennifer Flowers, the lounge singer who claims to have had a 12-year affair with Mr Clinton, last week joined forces with Paula Jones, whose sexual harassment case against the president settled out of court uncovered the evidence of his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The two women have released Two Chicks Chatting (www.genniferandpaula.com), a series of internet chats that include light-hearted discussion of the presidential privates, and more serious reflections on their experiences under fire from the Clinton attack machine.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Miss Flowers lends her voice to the claims that Mr Clinton was to blame for Mrs Clinton's primary defeat, and says she should ditch her husband if she wants to be president in four years' time.
"Although there's a lot of support for Hillary, many people in this country can't forget the disgrace that they brought to the White House," she says. "Hillary would have done better without him in tow.
"Should she dump him now? Yes, absolutely. She should have dumped him when he seduced a 21-year-old intern. She should have thrown his clothes on the White House lawn and said: 'Get the hell out!'
"It's still possible for her to get the vice-presidential nomination," Miss Flowers continues. "If she gets it and Barack Obama does not do a good job then she would run in four years."
Despite the failure of opposition research teams to find evidence of recent infidelity by Mr Clinton, Miss Flowers expresses continuing doubts. "If anybody doubts that he's still womanising, they are delusional. Bill is going to go out and seek sex and passion anywhere he can find it, because he isn't getting it at home."
This is not the first time that the prospect of divorce has loomed over the Clinton marriage. In his biography of Mrs Clinton, published last year, the Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein revealed that Mr Clinton considered ditching his wife for Marilyn Jo Jenkins, a company executive, on the eve of becoming president.
Then, in 1990, Mrs Clinton herself toyed with the idea of leaving but told friends: "There are worse things than infidelity."
Earlier this year, the American gossip magazine Globe claimed that the couple had a secret divorce pact that would end the marriage if her ambition to become president failed.
And certainly Mrs Clinton's political ambitions were put on hold only by her marriage. Another biography claims that the couple made a "secret plan" when they were in Arkansas to win two terms in the White House for each of them.
In some ways, Mr Clinton's behaviour and political patronage damaged his wife's bid. Mrs Clinton won female voters in spades, but she was denounced by some feminists for standing by her man and then riding on his political coat tails. But the facts don't entirely support the political critique of Mr Clinton. In the places where he campaigned in Pennsylvania and Ohio, Mrs Clinton did much better than in those where he did not.
Many who know the couple well say that politics is not a substitute for romance in the Clinton marriage, rather it is the basis of a quixotic emotional bond.
Mrs Clinton's mother, Dorothy Rodham, once said that together they become "a third kind of entity", what the American press has long called "Billary". John Harris, the editor-in-chief of Politico, wrote last week: "What holds them together? Is it love, or political ambition? The question itself, with its either/or frame, misses the point. In years reporting on the Clinton story, I rarely encountered anyone who spent time around the couple who was not certain that their attraction was both genuine and powerful. The reason it is so powerful is a shared commitment to politics and public life."
Sally Bedell Smith, the author of a joint biography on their relationship, For Love of Politics, agrees. "Politics may seem an odd foundation for a marriage, but for the Clintons it has served as the defining factor not only of their careers but also of their friendships, their dinner-table conversations, intellectual interests and, to outsiders at least, their emotional lives," she says.
Miss Flowers believes that there is an almost sexual intensity to their quest for power. "They are a team. That's all they have together," she says. "They don't have a traditional marriage in which they have passion and the traditional kind of love.
"Politics is what they get off on. This is what turns them on to each other. She would like that to be different, but it's not. He is turned on by her in this way."
Even if the marriage were simply a case of political expediency, evidence abounds that the Clintons' political ambitions are not dead, merely dormant. Mrs Clinton has not released the delegates she won during the primaries to Barack Obama, leaving open the prospect that she could step in if he were to stumble.
Last week, The New York Times revealed the existence of a hit list of political enemies who failed to stand by Mrs Clinton, being kept, presumably, for future use. The fear that this generates prevents even those who support the Clintons from speaking publicly about their relationship without fear of recriminations.
But a Democratic consultant, who worked in the Clinton White House, told The Sunday Telegraph that he doubted that they would divorce. "Nobody knows, of course, except them. It's an inner circle of two," he says. "My own view is that he won't leave her because he has always had what he wanted, a confidante and supporter who was prepared to put up with his behaviour.
"And Hillary made the decision years ago to stand by him. She's just lost a nomination, she's not going to make it worse by losing a marriage as well. That would be another public defeat."
Another Democrat who worked on Mr Clinton's successful presidential election campaigns says: "She's a fighter, in politics and at home."
The twist may be that since her husband has damaged his reputation with his attacks on Mr Obama in a bid to help her politically, it now falls to Mrs Clinton to rescue him. As Carl Bernstein said last week: "The most important thing in Hillary Clinton's life is her marriage. Bill Clinton was wounded in this campaign, and one of the things that I am told by Hillary's friends and close associates is that what she's looking for is a role for Bill in the Obama campaign, that he needs some real rehabilitation."
Indeed, the Obama camp hopes to affect a reconciliation with Mr Clinton and eventually an endorsement.
Gennifer Flowers agrees that divorce is unlikely. "They're not done yet," she says. "I don't think we're finished with Hillary. He can't dump her and she can't dump him because they both know where the skeletons are buried on each other."
And that, if not conventional love, is why most people believe that the Clinton psychodrama has a good while to run yet.
Will they, won't they? Some argue that Bill Clinton's incendiary public comments have driven Hillary to consider divorce.
A single woman for president? Hmm ...
I think it is time to stop the lying and break up the sham marriage Hillary!
I wouldn’t say exactly single, she still has Huma to keep her warm.
No... she is going to marry the silk pony.
Oh my God! I always assumed they were the most happiest married couple in America!!! /s
“Hillary Clinton is licking her wounds, relaxing at an undisclosed location with her husband, Bill, and daughter, Chelsea,”
More like she’s not with Bill and Chelsea and someone else is licking her wounds.
So, if a man is the POTUS and he and his wife divorces...she still gets the house?
Never. They would lose immunity to testify under oath against one another.
So long as spouses can’t be made to testify against each other these two will remain married.
IMO, they’re busy shooting clandestine arrows at Obama and arm twisting the superdelegates. It ain’t over yet.
Who says she’ll be single? Maybe she’ll tie the knot with Janet Reno.
(Ok, having gotten that immature reply out of my system, lol, I’m really tired of rumors.)
And she can now marry Huma in California!
And give up her Secret Service protection? Hell, no.
And then there’s that.
If John McCain wins the election, Hillary won’t yet divorce Bill...she’ll see if she can pull it together for a run in 2012. (Interesting that 2012 is the year the Mayan calendar runs out...)
Never gonna happen folks. These two will continue to live as if they are not married but will not divorce for one major reason. So long as they stay married, they cannot be forced to testify against each other.
A better question: WHO CARES!?
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