A couple of book-related, um, issues
Not long ago, I speculated that Ed Klein, the author of “The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She’ll Go to Become President,” (a mouthful of title, if ever there was one) might be working as a sort of secret agent for her campaign. Why else, I reasoned, would an author known for previous lefty associations accuse Hillary of having been raped by Bill?
Well, in a riveting, no-holds-barred interview by John Hawkins, Klein denies ever saying that:

John Hawkins …Can you give a quick explanation of what you were getting across there and also do you think Drudge did you a disservice with the way he handled that?
Ed Klein: The book has a scene in which I describe Bill Clinton telling a bunch of friends that he?s going back to his cottage — in Bermuda, in 1979 ? and he had been drinking and said in jest, as a joke, ?I?m going back to my cottage to rape my wife.? They all laughed, nobody took it seriously and nobody thought, ?God, he meant it seriously.?
He did go back to his cottage and the next day he called a friend over. The friend found the place in a kind of shambles; however, this friend whom I spoke to did not suggest to me — nor did the friend say — an actual rape had occurred.
Three months later Bill called this friend and told him that he was reading in the newspaper that his wife was pregnant and that she had the announcement without even telling him about it. That?s the point of the story.
The point of the story is that the conception of Chelsea Clinton, which would be of nobody?s business, if Hillary herself hadn?t written about it in “Living History,” was an example of how the Clintons are not an intimate couple, but are a political team ? and that?s what I meant by that whole scene.
John Hawkins: Do you think Drudge took you out of context?
Ed Klein: I think Matt Drudge, whom I admire and respect a great deal — sometimes his headlines ? he gets carried away with his headlines. I certainly think that as a result of that headline a lot of people, especially the good people on the conservative side of the fence, were initially misled by what kind of book this is.
This is a serious book about a serious subject which is Hillary Clinton?s quest for the presidency and it?s by a serious author, me; I?m a serious guy. I?m not a right wing person; I?m not a left wing person. I?m certainly not a liberal.
I?m a journalist and a biographer and this book is a character study — a character study of a woman who has a very good chance of becoming our next President and who I think would make a very bad President — and a President that we should not have in the Oval Office.

At least he admits his biases. Moreover, Klein indignantly denies being at all like the Kitty Kelley-style muckraker as he’s been portrayed, steadfastly maintaining that the Clinton spin machine is at work, and cites campaign threats to networks which dare to interview him:

John Hawkins: Is this on or off the record?
Ed Klein: It?s on the record. I thought maybe I?ve already said ? you know, I?ve spoken to so many people I can?t remember what I said 10 minutes ago ? but, you know, Hillary and the Clintons have a tried and true method of destroying their opponents. In my case what they?ve done is they identified my strongest point ? which is my reputation, my background which is solid, and my track record which is, you know, impeccable — and attacked that by trying to compare me to the tabloid Kitty Kelley type of writer — which I?m not.
By throwing a lot of mud at me, some of the mud has stuck. Then when I try to respond to them on a national level through the mainstream media they have gone to the mainstream media — meaning the TV news presidents, and executive producers of the major TV shows — and threatened them with retaliation of withholding Hillary?s appearance on those shows. So I can?t respond on those national shows.
This is, I would say, you know, from their perspective, brilliant strategy, which has even seemed to work with some of my ? I would think — potentially conservative supporters because, you know, after all, we read all this stuff about somebody in the press and you say, ?Gee, where there?s smoke, there must be fire.? But in fact, if you read my book, and it is my view, you?ll find it to be utterly responsible and not at all sleazy and a very intelligent assessment of a woman who is on the verge of becoming the next President of the United States.

What this means, of course, is that despite a damned good interview (which I think is a credit to the blogosphere), John Hawkins can kiss goodbye any chance of scoring an interview with Senator Clinton.
(Sorry to have to be the bearer of such news, John, but it happens to be what I think.)
Bloggers, be advised: talk to Ed Klein at your peril. Why, right now, by even citing the Hawkins interview I might have blown any chance I had of obtaining the long awaited “Classical Values Interview With Hillary Rodham Clinton.” (A shame, really, because we all know she’s read the Klein book herself. While that’s just speculation, sooner or later there’ll be another one of those inevitable “reading list” campaign questions, and maybe we’ll get a peek at her reading.)
Here are more details about Klein’s “blacklist blackout”:

Ed Klein: …I interviewed 96 people for this book. Of those 96 people, about half of them are on the record and about half of them are off the record.
The reason they are anonymous is because they are afraid of Hillary Clinton and I think they have good reason to ask for anonymity because Hillary can be a vicious person. For instance, because of my book, Hillary and her war machine have called every major television network in the United States and suggested to them that if they have Ed Klein on to discuss his book, they can forget about Hillary being a guest on their network.
As a result, the entire mainstream media ? NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC ? have blanked me out. This is my 5th best seller in a row. I?ve been on all of those networks for all my books up ?til this one book. I?ve been a constant guest on the Today show, the Good Morning America show, you know, the Chris Matthews show, etc. Suddenly I?m anathema and the reason I am is because the Clintons, Hillary in particular, have threatened all these mainstream media outlets. That?s a good reason in my view for the conservatives to get behind this book.

I don’t know about “getting behind” the book, but then, I don’t get behind anything just because someone tells me to get behind it. To “get behind” something because conservatives are doing so makes about as much sense as getting behind it because liberals are doing so.
Get thee behind me, all conservative and liberal Satans?
Sorry, but mere curiosity about what Klein said (and whether he’s a Kitty Kelley muckraker or Hillary agent) does not constitute “getting behind” anything.
I’m not sure whether there is such a thing as morality in the context of book buying, but the fact is, every time a human buys a book (at least in any retail outlet), digital data is recorded which tends to increase the book’s ratings. Computers being dumb, there is no way that they can record whether the buyer is buying the book out of love, hate, or a research project (paid or unpaid). So, merely totaling up the purchasers of the Klein book (say, by looking at the Amazon ratings) does not give a clear picture of Hillary’s enemies. For all I know, half of the people buying fully intend to vote for her. And some of the Hillary haters might very well hate the book but buy it anyway. I know that Amazon keeps track of the other books purchased by the same customer, because every time I buy a book on Amazon suggestions consistent with my previous purchases are thrown at me.
What this means is that Amazon has information which would be of great value to the Hillary Clinton campaign. What that means is that her ops probably have it. So it could be argued that buying such a highly charged book through Amazon is likely to drag a decent company into campaign skullduggery.
Which means that I won’t say whether I bought it at all, or where.
In the interests of fully deniable disclosure through innuendo, though, I will state that on Saturday I bought a book at an undisclosed bookstore in downtown Philadelphia, and yesterday I bought another book at another undisclosed bookstore at a local shopping center (I won’t state the name or names of either bookstore, but the first letter is “B”). And I’m pretty sure I paid cash, although I can’t swear to it. One of the books was Paul Johnson’s History of Christianity, which looks absolutely fascinating, and begins with a riveting account of the Council of Jerusalem. (Stocking up on books for a long upcoming trip BTW.)
I have to say that what happens at these bookstores makes me yearn for the illusory anonymity of Amazon! While the latter compiles digital stats, the actual bookstores, even if you pay cash, are not content to just let you pay for the book and leave. Last night I was plied with what I considered to be a series of annoying questions:

“Would you care to contribute ___ dollars to help the ______ in their campaign for ______ ?”
“Um, no,” I grunted.
Do you have our ______ Card?”
“Unh unh.”
“Would you like to have more information about advantages of having the _____ card?”
(Waves shiny slick pamphlet promising me many “advantages” — meaning one more slippery piece of trash I have to throw away.)
“NO.” (I was more firm, as I just wanted to Take. The. Book. And. Leave!)

I’m sure plenty of bloggers have complained about this before, but for God’s sake, why these mandatory interviews? Why the charitable guilt trips? Who the hell decided somewhere in some committee that every cashier has to interrogate every customer?
Experiences like that is why agoraphobes like me prefer Amazon!
I’d rather have my privacy invaded anonymously than my anonymity invaded publicly.