Who is Bill Clinton A man whose presidency was disgraced by impeachment -- yet who remains one of the most popular presidents of our time. A man whose autobiography, My Life , was panned by critics as a self-indulgent daily diary -- but rode the bestseller lists for months. A man whose policies changed America at the close of the twentieth century -- yet whose weakness left us vulnerable to terror at the dawn of the twenty-first. No one better understands the inner Bill Clinton, that creature of endless and vexing contradiction, than Dick Morris. From the Arkansas governor's races through the planning of the triumphant 1996 reelection, Morris was Clinton's most valued political adviser. Now, in the wake of Clinton's million-selling memoir My Life , Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann, set the record straight with Because He Could , a frank and perceptive deconstruction of the story Clinton tells -- and the many more revealing stories he leaves untold.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
September 30, 2005
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Because He Could by Eileen McGann
Cracking the Clinton Code
"A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma": Sir Winston Churchill's famous phrase has become familiar shorthand for almost anything we cannot easily understand. And in modern politics no figure embodies this phenomenon better than our forty-second president, William Jefferson Clinton. So much about him is still a puzzle. Even after eight years of watching his extraordinarily visible presidency and twelve years of listening to the endless scrutiny of his personality by pundits from every segment of the political spectrum, we still can't really say that we truly understand this complex, contradictory man.
Bill Clinton is a study in opposites. Consider the facts: He was one of the most popular and successful presidents in modern history. At the same time, he was disgraced by his transgressions in office, becoming only the second president to be impeached by the House of Representatives since the creation of our republic. As the first postmodern president, he was revered as a cultural icon by his supporters, while at the same time loathed and reviled by his opponents as "illegitimate." His charisma, intellect, and charm are the core of his attractiveness, and captivate even the most skeptical observers. But his dark side -- his moodiness, temper, self-absorption, and lack of discipline -- are unappealing and make him an easy target for his critics. Even reaction to the story of his life, as he has now told it in book form, has been widely split. When he appears on television to hype its publication, the ratings go through the roof. And yet, when reviewed in print, the book has been panned, even ridiculed. This polarity itself -- in his personality and in his image -- only adds to his mystery and his celebrity. Whether they love him or hate him, the public wants to know all they can about him.
So curious are Americans about who Bill Clinton really is that his memoir, My Life, sold more than a million copies in its first weeks. In fact, among politicians, Clinton's only serious rival in the nonfiction best-seller lists has been his equally opaque wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and her autobiography, Living History.
But the two memoirs are as different as Bill and Hillary themselves. In Living History, a thoroughly self-disciplined woman carefully masks who she really is. In My Life, a very complicated and sometimes dysfunctional man inadvertently and unwittingly reveals his actual character -- at least to readers diligent enough to find him in its almost one thousand pages.
My Life is a metaphor for Bill Clinton himself. Like him, it is sometimes interesting, sometimes refreshingly open, sometimes fascinating. Just as often, however, it is incomplete, misleading, chaotic, overly detailed, superficial, and inconsistent. Still, hidden among the disorder is the remarkable story of who Bill Clinton is. And that story is very different from the one he tries to tell, and to sell. Despite the 957 pages he has exhaustively written about himself, the Bill Clinton in My Life, remains impenetrable, lurking somewhere behind the mind-numbing litany of trips, meetings, campaign stops, meals, and scandals. At first glance, his book seems to reveal little about his thinking, his motivations, or his emotions. He even manages to avoid telling us about the obvious pain and humiliation he must have suffered when he was impeached; instead he merely expresses contempt and rage.