About once a year I review a book in this column that ought to be required reading for people who care about politics. Edward Klein's "The Truth About Hillary" is such a book. The pre-publication leak about the book -- that Bill Clinton had allegedly talked about raping his wife -- was off-putting for me. I don't usually waste my time reading salacious scandal books from the Left or the Right. But I was advised to take a look at this book, which I read last weekend.
It was worth my time. This is not a scandal book intended merely to gratify the reader's salacious interests. Instead, Mr. Klein has written a serious political and psychological biography of the most likely next Democratic nominee for president -- and thus, quite plausibly, I fear, the next president of the United States.
Although this is a heavily researched book that includes amongst its sources almost a hundred people who are or were personally close to Mrs. Clinton, this is not a peek through a keyhole. Instead, it is a peek -- and more than a peek -- into the mind of Hillary. And, whether you like or hate Hillary, the inside of her mind is a fascinating place in which to rove about. Hillary haters will certainly find further evidence to support their sentiment. Principled liberals, I suspect, will be deeply disconcerted by what they will find out about her mind in this book.
But for people who like their presidents ruthless, expedient and very smart (in a dangerous time, those are not all bad features), the portrait Mr. Klein paints may well not be seen as negative. In fact, as the author notes, Mrs. Clinton has more than a little in common with Richard Nixon.
One of the more interesting anecdotes recounted in the book describes the time President and Mrs. Clinton met with President Nixon. It was March 1993, the first time Nixon had been invited back to the White House since he departed in 1974:
"The elevator door opened, and the first person Nixon saw when he stepped off was Hillary Clinton. 'Your health care reform legislation in 1973-74 was so good that we are using it as a blueprint for our own package,' Hillary said. This struck Nixon as an incredibly strange, wonkish greeting from the First Lady. But then Hillary managed to top even that by adding: "Had you survived in office, you would have been light years ahead of your time." "Had I survived in office! Nixon later remembered thinking. Maybe I could have if she hadn't been working to impeach me."
The anecdote continued with Nixon's recollection that he had thought that Bill Clinton was too nice to provide world leadership:
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.