Amy Chozick's New York Times Magazine look at the constellation of political stars orbiting Hillary Clinton is essentially a Clinton-family Rolodex. But the index and ranking and orbits are only temporary: The Clinton Universe is an unstable one.
Below, we've crafted a guide to every bold-face name in the article, in order of proximity to the possibly-running-for-president star — as it stands of today. Or, as it stands as of when Chozick wrote the article. Or, as it stood for some brief instant at some point in time.
The universe is self-aware of its instability. The jostling and jockeying Chozick depicts is largely between those comfortably nestled close to the planet and the streaking meteors trying to enter her orbit. (The analogies here are irresistible.) The Ready For Hillary PAC is described as a "make-work program" by the old Clinton hands, a way to give the whippersnappers something inoffensive to do for a few years. Even during her time at the State Department, Clinton dispatched staffers to fend off those who wanted to get close to the 2016 campaign (which was still years away). "Was every day going to be the outside claqueurs coming in and asking, ‘What’s going on?’ and wanting to be a part of everything?," Thomas Nides worried in taking a position with Clinton. Not every day, it seems, though that struggle is now happening in earnest.
By the way, Chozick herself doesn't use the galaxy analogy, though the article is peppered with little diagrams of floating heads circling sub-planets. She defers to long-time aide James Carville (who is in Orbit 2, under our taxonomy) for the descriptor.
Carville has compared the Clinton world, perhaps not so originally, to an onion (it’s safest, he has said, to exist in the third or fourth layer), while other Clinton staff members, past and present, have an endless litany of other metaphors to make sense of it.
So look at the list below — a snapshot of the scene that, as Heisenberg would warn, will itself necessarily shift positions — as an orbit or as a decreasingly pungent flake of onion.
- Bill Clinton. Husband of Clinton
- Chelsea Clinton. Daughter of Clinton
- Huma Abedin. Long-time aide to Clinton
- Donna Brazile. Long-time Clinton aide
- James Carville. Long-time aide and pundit
- Nick Merrill. Clinton's press secretary; member of "Nickilippe" with Reines
- Philippe Reines. Clinton's "principal gatekeeper"; former staffer for Chelsea
- Melanne Verveer. Clinton's White House Chief of Staff under Bill
- Doug Band. Long-time aide to Bill; involved with the Clinton Global Initiative; forgot he "lives downstairs" in the Clinton's virtual home
- Eric Braverman. CEO of the Clinton Foundation
- Geoffrey Garin. Replaced Penn in 2008 as chief strategist for Clinton
- Harold Ickes. Former White House aide; former "director of sanitation"; too loyal to write a memoir
- Ann Lewis. Former White House aide
- Jim Messina. Obama campaign manager who "courted" Bill Clinton; works with Priorities USA PAC fundraising for Hillary
- Marc Mezvinsky. Chelsea's husband
- Cheryl Mills. Long-time adviser who joined Clinton at the State Department
- Thomas Nides. Deputy secretary of state under Clinton; vice chairman of Morgan Stanley
- Craig T. Smith. Former White House aide; signifier that "the old buddy system is still alive and well"
- Patti Solis Doyle. Ousted 2008 campaign manager for Clinton
- Ted Widmer. Former speechwriter for Bill
- Kamyl Bazbaz. Press secretary to Chelsea; worked for Clinton in 2008
- Paul Begala. Former Clinton staffer; pundit
- Jeremy Bird. Ground strategist for Obama campaigns
- Bill de Blasio. Mayor of New York City; former Clinton staffer
- Al Gore. Former vice president of the United States who "called in remotely" to a 1992 campaign reunion
- Vernon Jordan. Former Clinton staffer
- Bruce Lindsey. Former CEO of the Clinton Foundation; long-time staffer for Bill
- Bari Lurie. Chief of staff to Chelsea
- Dee Dee Myers. Press secretary to Bill
- Barack Obama. President of the United States
- Adam Parkhomenko. Former staffer for Solis Doyle; founder of Ready For Hillary
- John Podesta. Former Clinton staffer; adviser to Obama
- Steve Ricchetti. Deputy chief of staff to Bill; aide to Biden
- Mitch Stewart. Ground strategist for Obama campaigns
- Sean Sweeney. Founder of Priorities USA
- Anthony Weiner. Husband of Abedin; lecher
- Buffy Wicks. Obama operative who's "signed on" to Priorities USA
- David Axelrod. Long-time Obama aide who Bill "never forgave"
- Michael Kors. Fashion designer; host of "God's Love We Deliver" benefit Clinton attended
- Mark Penn. Strategist who had a "disastrous run" with Hillary in 2008
- David Plouffe. 2008 campaign manager for Obama
- Todd Purdum. Husband of Myers; former Times reporter
- Harvey Weinstein. Hollywood-type; fundraiser; attendee at "Beverly Hills galas" with Clinton
- Anna Wintour. Obama bundler; attended Kors event
- Max Brantley. Editor of The Arkansas Times who's known Clinton for decades
- Steve Elmendorf. Deputy campaign manager for John Kerry in 2004
- Jeffrey Katzenberg. Hollywood-type; fundraiser; attendee at "Beverly Hills galas" with Clinton
- Angela Merkel. Chancellor of Germany; "close, personal friend" of Clinton
- Richard Plepler. Hollywood-type; fundraiser; attendee at "Beverly Hills galas" with Clinton
- Oscar de la Renta. Fashion designer; host to the Clintons in the Dominican Republic
- Beyonce Knowles-Carter. "What's happening now," per Brazile
- Barbra Streisand. Archaic singer that Clinton is not like, per Brazile
- Betsey Wright. Disgraced "mastermind" of Bill's rise in Arkansas
- Clint Eastwood. Starred in Space Cowboys, to which Reines compard two older Clinton loyalists
- Uday Hussein. One of the sons of Saddam Hussein after whom Reines named a cat
- Tim Miller. Conservative PAC staffer; worried about Clinton's hair-do
- Arnold Palmer. Golfer; person for whom a refreshing drink that Reines enjoys is named
- Ronald Reagan. Former president who is more revered by his party than is Bill by his