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The most vocal critics of Bill Clinton's presidency tend to be conservatives--think, for example, of William J. Bennett'sThe Death of Outrage--but there are those on the Left who are fed up with Clinton as well. Among them is journalist Christopher Hitchens (most prominently associated withThe NationandVanity Fair), who has produced a slim but vehement volume outlining how "Clinton's private vileness meshes exactly with his brutal and opportunistic public style."No One Left to Lie Tois the story of a man who took the Democratic presidential nomination and, having achieved office, began enacting welfare reform and anticrime legislation that surpassed the ambitions of all but the most ideologically loyal Republicans--and routinely plundered the GOP platform for other policy ideas as well.

Hitchens is particularly damning on Clinton's tendency to resort to divisive racial politics when it suits his purposes, as when, in the course of the 1992 presidential campaign, he refused to lift a finger to save a mentally retarded African American from state execution so he could appear tough on crime, then shortly afterwards hijacked a Rainbow Coalition conference to criticize rap artist Sister Souljah for the benefit of the attendant press. When he needs the black vote, though, Clinton will allow himself to be trumpeted as the most racially sensitive president in American history--if not, in Toni Morrison's memorably ludicrous phrase, "our first black president." Furthermore, the man who once connived his way out of the draft has become a chief executive so willing to use military air strikes as a means of foreign policy that, in the author's view, the United States is now a "potential banana republic."

Of course, there is plenty of vitriol directed at Clinton's conduct with regard to Monica Lewinsky (the woman with whom he admitted, under duress, to having had an "inappropriate relationship" consisting of multiple incidences of oral sex) and Kathleen Willey (who alleges that the leader of the free world merely fondled her breasts and forced her to touch--albeit shielded under some layers of clothing--his tumescent penis). In Hitchens's view, however, the sexual controversies are only the most prominent aspect of Clinton's shameful character, a moral condition that must be considered in toto. The book is short, with an argument that runs only about a hundred pages, but that's still more than enough room for Hitchens to serve up a comprehensive, blistering indictment suffused throughout by his dark wit. He sums up the failure of those fixated on Clinton's adultery to fully investigate his cronyism and financial shenanigans: "It's not the lipstick traces, stupid," Hitchens warns, "it's the Revlon Connection." --Ron Hogan

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ISBN-10:  1859847366
ISBN-13:  978-1859847367
Author:  Christopher Hitchens
Publisher:  Verso
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review by . May 23, 2013
One of the problems with general snarkyness (or is that snarkiness?) is that, when it is written, it’s sometimes difficult to interpret.  I’m sure all of us have encountered such an experience on the web when we wrote something that was intended to be a bit of a joke; someone read it and misinterpreted it poorly; and we’re left trying to explain ourselves, which usually boils down to a quick aside like, “dude, I was j-o-k-i-n-g.”  Having to point out that …
review by . September 29, 2003
Chris Hitchens is not only a brilliant writer he is an incredibly honest one. You might disagree with his premise (The Missionary Position) or you might think he doesn't have enough evidence to support his final conclusion (The Trial of Henry Kissinger) but no honest reader can state that he does not come to these conclusions honestly and based on facts and his conclusions from them.This book was his first step away from the left but as he would say in it, the left stepped away from its principles …
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