June 5, 2007

More on the new Hillary books.

The NYT has reviews of the two new Hillary books: Carl Bernstein's "A Woman in Charge" and Jeff Gersh and Don Van Natta Jr.'s "Her Way." Michiko Kakutani reviews only the Bernstein book (because the authors of the other book are or were employed by the Times), and outside reviewer Robert Dallek reviews both books. Let's look at the Dallek review first. Here's what he says about the Gersh/Van Natta:
The book’s greatest flaw is its flogging of all the Clinton scandals, not simply because they are so familiar and ultimately came to so little, but also because they give us insufficient clues to what sort of president Mrs. Clinton might be....

Should Hillary Clinton’s personal limitations — her inclination to shade the truth in the service of her ambition, what former Senator Bill Bradley called her “arrogance,” “disdain,” and “hypocrisy” — disqualify her for the presidency?

It is surely preferable to have our most upright citizens sitting in the White House, but history repeatedly shows that presidents with character flaws have not necessarily been less competent leaders, especially in times of crisis, than those with a stronger moral compass....
Oh, fine then. Character... big deal!

About the Bernstein book, Dallek says:
Mr. Bernstein is... hyperbolic about Mrs. Clinton’s influence and importance. President Bill Clinton survived “in office due principally to the actions of his wife, just as their tangled relationship,” he writes, “was central to his being impeached in the first place.”

Mr. Bernstein adds: “The impeachment of the president was a direct reflection of the choices she had made, the compromises she had accepted, however reluctantly, and the enmity engendered by their grand designs, successes and failures.”
Kakutani writes:
Mr. Bernstein’s overall take on Mrs. Clinton [is] that her “experiential openness” gave her a “capacity for personal growth and change”....

[T]his volume does not really appraise Mrs. Clinton’s record as a senator from New York and sheds no new light on her stance on the Iraq war or her current campaign for the White House....

“With the notable exception of her husband’s libidinous carelessness,” Mr. Bernstein asserts, “the most egregious errors, strategic and tactical” of [Bill Clinton's] presidency, particularly in its stumbling first year, are “traceable to Hillary,” including, in large measure, the inept staffing of the White House, the disastrous serial search for an attorney general, the Travel Office brouhaha, Whitewater and the alienation of key senators and members of Congress.
Kakutani notes that the book is really long and that Bernstein spent 8 years writing it and seems rather defensive about spending so much time on it. Are readers going to put up with this? Aside from the health care fiasco, the Clinton Era events that involve Hillary really don't need to be remembered in detail. The Gersh/Van Natta book looks like a better read, perhaps.

8 comments:

vrse said...

Nobody's commenting on your blog. Quick, say something really stupid so you can get your fan base fired up! Gotta protect that ad revenue, right?

Fen said...

Geez vrse, quit bleeding in public. Its unseemly. So your precious self-esteem got smacked down, big deal? Go choke on your thirst for vengence and envy somewhere else, there's a gaggle of Moonbat blogs in need of your hate.

but history repeatedly shows that presidents with character flaws have not necessarily been less competent leaders, especially in times of crisis, than those with a stronger moral compass

True. Churchill was a chauvanist drunk. But we would not exist if not for his leadership.

OTOH, maybe if Bill hadn't been so busy abusing interns and had instead focused more on Al Queda while they were planning 9-11...

Groping campaign volunteers, trading sex for jobs, Bill discriminating against women who refuse to blow him, Hillary attacking those who do... does America really want to go through all that again? Do we really think he can keep it zipped around the females on WH staff? And can Hillary fight the war on terror AND keep her husband under control at the same time?

One woman will step forward before the election. Her story may not even be true, but it will end any chance Hillary has.

Put your money on Obama or Biden.

Revenant said...

It sounds like Bernstein is arguing both (a) that Hillary caused most of Bill's problems and (b) that she deserves the credit for him staying in office anyway.

That's not necessarily contradictory, but it is a little strange.

Roger said...

Hillary fatigue has already set in--these trashy, unsourced, inside the beltway, pop psychological analyses arent even worth taking into the bathroom. Give the woman a break and let the American people decide. Enough already. These "book" further mark the decline of the WAPO and NYT writers into hardback tabloid authors.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Should Hillary Clinton’s personal limitations — her inclination to shade the truth in the service of her ambition, what former Senator Bill Bradley called her “arrogance,” “disdain,” and “hypocrisy” — disqualify her for the presidency?

Well that would probably eliminate 90% of the people who enter the race at any given point in history. There is a fine line between arrogance and being egocentric. Everyone is a hypocrite in some form or another and no one is immune from disdain.

The Constitution defines what qualifies someone to be President so after that it’s a matter of personal taste and political leanings. Personally I can’t stand Hillary Clinton purely because of her politics. How she dealt with Wild Bill is none of my concern and held none of my interest. To each their own and I nor anyone else needs to be the mouthpiece of how she should have dealt with him. Character only goes so far, particularly in times of crisis or heightened tensions.

To me what qualifies someone for the presidency is someone who can inspire and lead and is smart enough to know they aren’t the smartest man or woman in the world and make sure they surround themselves with people smarter than they are.

B said...

[T]his volume does not really appraise Mrs. Clinton’s record as a senator from New York and sheds no new light on her stance on the Iraq war or her current campaign for the White House....

So - that is the standard by which the books on Hillary must be judged? Not biography, but the relevance to today's news?

The New York Times - which has yet to place one (just ONE! )- negatively worded headline about Senator Clinton on it's paper or web site, while easily finding negatively worded headlines for all other potential Presidential candidates, Democrat or Republican - places Robert Dallek - a known Clinton supporter - as the preemptive strike reviewer to help stem off anything that could possibly get in the way of the Times coronation of Hillary.

I recently asked a friend (who is trying to decide between Obama and Hillary) if she could find for me one negatively worded or implied headline in the Times since Hillary announced. She took the bite and called me the following weekend to say how amazed she was to not find one. Even Obama has received at least 2 headlines that could give pause to a Times reader looking for nothing but positive Obama coverage.

But then to put Robert Dallek -
. . . oh - it's just so frustrating from the paper that most lefties like to praise as being center - right.

Brother!

I will, however, buy and read both books (something I had no plan of doing as I detest current biographies), and then post an honest review - something the New York Times is incapable of doing when it comes to matters of la femme Clinton.

Fen said...

How she dealt with Wild Bill is none of my concern and held none of my interest.

Fair. But how she would deal with Wild Bill should concern and interest you, if you think it will effect her performance as POTUS.

Bissage said...

How would she deal with him?

Delicately.

I assume he's got all kinds of blackmail on her.