Peggy Noonan is writing about Hollywood big boss David Geffen this week slamming Hillary and Bill Clinton. As someone who followed the Clinton operation quite closely during their eight years in the White House, I can say with certainty that Noonan has got this exactly right:
Mr. Geffen should be braced for a lot of bad personal box office–negative press, searching profiles, strained relations. We’re probably about to see if the Clinton Machine can flatten him. Little doubt it will try. John Dickerson wrote in Slate this week of Bill Clinton’s generously sharing his campaign wisdom: “Your opponent can’t talk when he has your fist in his mouth.” Among some Democratic political professionals this kind of talk is considered tough and knowing, as opposed to, say, startlingly belligerent and crude.
But the outcome of the Geffen-Clinton episode is worthy of watching because it is going to determine whether it is remembered as the moment in the 2008 campaign when it became clear you are allowed to criticize Hillary–or as the moment it became clear you are not.