Over the years, many authors have done important work shining bright lights on various aspects of Hillary Clinton, her past, her motives, her values, and her character. Barbara Olson and Bob Tyrrell are particularly noteworthy in this area. What Bay Buchanan has done is carry their reasoning forward to produce one thing I haven't seen enough of so far: a fairly convincing analysis of Hillary's years in the US Senate and her re-emergence as a moderate centrist (the "extreme makeover" of Buchanan's title).
Like I think many people, I had always assumed Hillary's alleged "move to the center" was a carefully-crafted ruse, part of her decades-old quest for power. That may be true as far as it goes, but Buchanan here paints a much more subtle scenario -- and one that raises more troubling questions about Hillary as a person. Hillary Clinton, Buchanan argues, "has no vision" (p. 15). While she is a master of details and a skillful mirror of others' ideas and rhetoric, she fundamentally lacks the ability to draw her own decisions, trust her own judgment, or show any real leadership. This is why, Buchanan says, Hillary has veered wildly from one "guru" or "expert" or "trusted advisor" to another over the years. Buchanan notes that HRC herself has commented "it's hard to stay where you are" in politics (p. 127) ... unless, of course, you're a person who has some core beliefs.
Hillary Clinton may once have been what I assumed she still was: what Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn described as a "Christian social romantic." But not, Buchanan says, any more. "[T]he idealism that once had a proud claim on her heart seems all but gone. The same is true of the many causes that once defined her. They have been replaced, for the most part, by a single, all-important one: herself" (p. 79).
All that remains, it seems, are her personal quest for power (driven, the author says, by HRC's belief that others are as badly in need of guidance as she herself is, and that therefore we must all be marshaled by government "experts" who know what's best for us) and her knee-jerk habit of responding to any criticism or opposition with heavy-handed political pressure or venomous personal attack.
As Hillary continues her ascent "on wings of deceit" (p. 201), her defenders will no doubt find it easier to ignore Bay Buchanan's critique or launch personal attacks than to convince us that the insights in this book are fundamentally unsound. But as the author notes, even many of Hillary's erstwhile supporters on the Left have lost patience with her. Bay Buchanan makes some observations that definitely deserve rational discussion and debate. Too bad that's so unlikely to happen these days.
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About the reviewer
Andrew S. Rogers (Cascadian)
Mostly, I'm a moderately prolific Amazon.com reviewer who's giving Lunch a try as another venue for my reviews.
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