As a web-based publication, our mission is to offer readers timely news and opinion about Hillary and today’s political scene, to entertain when we can, and to discuss the issues and causes that are important to Hillary and other progressive thinkers.
We started out in 1992 as a print publication amid much fanfare from the traditional media. Writing a regular publication about a first lady was something of a novelty in those days.
Writing for HCQ was spectacular fun! Along with our regular harassment of the First Lady’s press office, we did numerous interviews with journalists and pundits who covered or wrote about the White House on a regular basis. Many — including Frank Rich of the New York Times and of Suzanne Fields of the Washington Times — quoted HCQ in their own stories.
Some of our more memorable moments: a late evening phone call from the White House pressuring us not to publish a story about the famous “lamp tossing” incident (we ultimately decided to run the story), several phone calls from the nefarious “Two Larrys” — Larry Nickols (who has been mentored by the Wall Street Journal) and Larry Case — both of whom tried to entice us to publish slander about the First Lady’s “love affairs” in Little Rock (which we decided not to publish), and an incredible interview after the 1994 elections with Hardball’s Chris Matthews, who said more to HCQ about Hillary and Bill Clinton than he ever intended.
As media buffs, we also confess to other guilty pleasures in doing HCQ: appearances on the Today show and a dozen other TV news programs, more than 150 radio interviews from New York to Tokyo, hundreds of news clips and feature stories. . .and countless fascinating conversations with journalists and political junkies from D.C. to Melbourne.
The downside of publishing HCQ was our on-going “love-hate” relationship with the First Lady herself. Editors are supposed to take a single point of view about their subject matter and stick to it. That was impossible with Hillary. Sometimes she infuriated us with her partisan stubbornness, other times she seemed righteously aligned with the angels. Editorially we pulled no punches and criticized the First Lady when we thought she deserved it. No doubt, some readers got confused.
Our worst moment: publishing the satiric “Hillary’s Shocking Drug Diary” (available on this site). Although we believed it was clearly tongue-in-cheek, our suspicious American press corps was inclined to take it seriously. The result was a phone call from an angry White House, which in turn had gotten calls from wire service reporters wondering “what the hell this was about.” It took a personal visit to the bureau chief at the AP office in Concord and phone calls to AP and Reuters reporters in Washington to kill the story. Very scary!
We also learned something about the vagaries of publishing. At one point we were selling nearly 10,000 copies of HCQ. . . not bad for a newsletter published out of a small office in Concord, New Hampshire. By late 1994, however, after the Gingrich revolution, after the Whitewater mudslinging, after the failure of national health care reform, interest in the First Lady waned tremendously.
It wasn’t for financial reasons that we stopped publishing the print version of HCQ, however. In fact, both our newsstand and subscription circulation remained viable until the very end. Looking at the political scene “up close and personal,” the idealism that we started with turned to disillusionment, with the Clintons specifically, and with American national politics generally. Ultimately, we sagged under the cynicism and mean-spiritedness that we witnessed on both sides of the political aisle. It took another two years before we recovered emotionally from our “investment” in a place called Hope.
Thanks to our publishing experience, we have a new realism about the political process.
Given all that, publishing the Hillary Clinton Quarterly remains one of the most exciting and challenging things we’ve ever done. Back in 1996 we were invited to publish an Internet version of HCQ. We were one of the first publications of any kind to make the transition to the Web. Happily, the Internet has given us an opportunity to make available many of our original feature articles, as well as add new material about Hillary.
By creating new editorial material, managing this web site, responding to your letters and queries, and maintaining our links to news stories about Hillary, we can continue our mission of “Keeping up with Hillary.”
My co-editor, Rake Morgan, and I hope you enjoy your visit to the online version of the Hillary Clinton Quarterly.
Editor & Publisher