Please sit down, I have something shocking to tell you. In fact, best make sure you have a glass of water nearby. Okay, here goes. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s marriage may be some sort of … arrangement.
Wait, why haven’t you passed out? Why are you giving me a look that says “you don’t have any firsthand proof of this?” and “who gives a shit?” Clearly you need to waste, er, I mean, spend an hour and forty minutes of your time watching Clinton, Inc., in which a number of bottom-feeders with personal agendas will bombard you with specious allegations. Once you’ve finished it you’ll see the truth! (Twist ending: that truth will remain a mix of “no proof” and “who gives a shit?” but let’s appease the filmmakers for at least a few minutes more).
Clinton, Inc. ramps up to some bonafide sky-is-falling predictions about the doom that will befall this nation should a corrupt woman like Hillary Rodham Clinton make it to the Oval Office. But it starts with a chapter on something oh-so-relevant to that issue: her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky from 20 years ago. Once the movie has reminded you that, yes, this couple suffered a tremendous public humiliation, it starts in with its psychoanalysis.
Bill Clinton’s mother, you see, was a “loose woman,” and he may have even been a love child, not the son of a man who died before the future president was born. Images of the late Virginia Clinton Kelley taken in rural Arkansas are juxtaposed with sultry David Sanborn-esque saxophone to imply “cheap bimbo from a detective sim that comes on CD-Rom”. In other words, Clinton, Inc.’s director, Bill Baber, can’t even slander a dead woman without coming off like an idiot.
Clinton’s grandmother, who partially raised him, was all-business, and that explains his need for the nose-in-the-books Hillary Rodham, but also his continual skirt-chasing. The barrage of talking heads who take pot-shots at the Clintons include former Clinton associate turned GOP bulldog Dick Morris and relationship expert/Fox News consultant Karen Ruskin. As this rogues gallery blabs, a number of striking phrases jump out, even if they tend to contradict one another. First we hear that Bill is the feminine part of the team and Hillary is the masculine one, but later Bill is described as a total alpha male.
Beneath the clucked tongues, however, there’s not much being hurled the Clintons’ way that is all that terrible. The shocking revelation is that, through it all, this pair has stood by one another and aided the other’s interests. The worst accusation is that as a present for not divorcing Bill during the Lewinsky scandal, Bill aided in getting Hillary elected as a senator in New York. Forget that, you know, maybe the voters thought that this well-connected and intelligent woman might actually do a good job in the position.
The vicious attacks are mixed with backhanded compliments, among them an admission Bill Clinton is very likable. But Hillary is not. She is cold, as made evident by a newsbite in which she, as secretary of state, rebuked someone for asking what her husband’s opinion of something was. (I can’t imagine anyone watching the clip and not shouting “you go!”, but that’s me.)
It isn’t until over an hour into the film that first mention is made about the charitable Clinton Foundation and the queasy feeling many have about donors’ access to then-Secretary Clinton. It and the private speaking fees at large corporations are, indeed, legitimate concerns. Ask your closest Bernie Bro. But this late in a ludicrous (and, importantly, boring) movie and any attempt to make a point from this is squandered. The film reverts back to more insinuations (did Hillary leak news of Rudy Giuliani’s affair with Judith Nathan? Was Bill sleeping with Denise Rich?) that the accusations ultimately become white noise.
Clinton, Inc. wants to terrify you with the thought that the Clinton name is becoming a dynasty, with young Chelsea Clinton waiting to pick up the baton. I look at the accomplishments of Hillary Clinton and weigh them against the other major players on the field right now and wonder how this can be considered a bad thing.
This article was written by Jordan Hoffman, for theguardian.com on Friday 30th September 2016 14.03 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010