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The first book I read by Christopher Hitchens was 'The Missionary Position' in which he attacked Mother Theresa of Calcutta. I was impressed - I always thought there was something a bit odd about raising millions and preaching the glory of poverty but nobody else seemed to countenance the idea of pointing that out until I came across Hitchens. If I was impressed by his research and his merciless attack on a little old lady, I was totally blown away by the character assassination of Bill Clinton in Hitchens' 1999 book 'No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton'. Whilst much of the world will look back on Bill as a philandering draft dodger who may or may not have inhaled and had some strange ideas of what to do with (illegal) Cuban cigars, Hitchens soon shows us that fondling interns in the Oval Office was just the teensiest tip of the iceberg of misdemeanours which can be attributed to the 42nd president of the United States of America.
Hitchens started out as a political left winger but got a reputation for heading towards the right as he got older. Most astonishingly to his friends and admirers, he supported the war against Iraq. Mind you left-wingers heading for the right have not been unusual in the past twenty years; just ask Tony Blair and the architects of 'New Labour'. Meanwhile on the other side of the pond the man who was elected as a Democrat president was carving out a cosy little spot somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun. Traditionally we expect a Democrat leader to at least pretend to be 'nice' to people, to protect the poor and down-trodden, to treat people with at least the appearance of 'fairness'. What Hitchens reveals in his analysis of Clinton is a very undemocratic Democrat - a coldly calculating manipulator who was happy to stage any kind of extreme entertainment to distract the public from his own bad behaviour.
When faced with the media hounding him over an affair with a club singer, he approved the carrying out of the death sentence on a young man so educationally challenged that he left the pudding from his last meal 'for later'. As Ricky Ray Rector lay down thinking that the doctors were there to make him feel better, Clinton was attempting to hijack the headlines with the 'legal' murder of a young man so 'simple' that he had absolutely no idea what was happening and probably should never have even stood trial. When things were hotting up with the impeachment demands following his involvement with Monika Lewinsky, he coldly and calculatedly ordered the bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical factory in Khartoum, claiming it was making nerve gas and was funded by Bin Laden. It wasn't - but then I don't suppose that was a surprise. The evidence mysteriously disappeared; another non-surprise. Whenever the heat was on, Clinton could find someone to attack or kill to divert attention.
~Democrats? They're the nice ones aren't they?~
Welfare mothers came in for his ire and Hitchens describes how big companies who funded Clinton benefited from laws forcing the unemployed to take work whatever it paid, wherever it was, and never mind if you had a tiny baby at home and had to walk six miles to the chicken gutting factory. Surely looking after the poor and disadvantaged is what Democrats are supposed to do but not by giving them compulsory jobs with their hands up the bottoms of chickens all day long.
For a poor white boy from the wrong side of the tracks, Clinton soon forgot where he came from. His attitudes on race were sometimes very distasteful, his behaviour towards women - especially poor, pretty ones - was disgusting. And he didn't stop at sex with women he could dismiss as trailer trash if they dared to come forward. Hitchens offers evidence of three well documented cases of respectable, well-to-do Democrat supporting women whose accounts of being attacked by Clinton match up to scary degrees. Whilst the women were unwilling to press charges, their experiences establish clear patterns of behaviour. He writes of how Clinton forced his senior team members to tell lies on his behalf and how supporters spread rumours that Lewinsky was a stalker.
~Bill's Problems with the Ladies~
It's easy to look upon Clinton as the president who couldn't 'keep it zipped' and to treat him as a bit of a joke. At the time of his impeachment, supporters said he was a victim of sexual McCarthyism, choosing to turn a blind eye to the assaults on his victims and even more seriously, to the bigger sins of his administration. We all heard about the sex, but what about the corruption, the violence and the attempt to make the UN Special Committee (UNSCOM) weapons inspectors into lapdogs of the Clinton administration? Laughing at Bill's philandering kept our eyes away from far worse activities.
Finally, just when you think there can't possibly be something even more entertaining still to come, Hitchens lays into Hilary Clinton too. It's priceless - absolutely priceless, and I say that as someone who just assumed the Clintons were probably OK if you could look the other way about his skirt-chasing ways.
~Is it true? Or just biased, one-sided propaganda?~
Hitchens is not one to sensationalise and I'm confident that his sources and his research are impeccable, if only because the Clintons would no doubt have sued over anything he couldn't prove. Their enemies have a habit of disappearing in unusual circumstances so it's a brave writer who takes them on. The book is not always an easy read for a Brit since it presumes quite a lot of knowledge of American political and media figures which sometimes went over my head. I'll be honest, I wasn't paying a lot of attention to what was going on back in the 1990s. 'No One Left to Lie To' is the kind of book I know I'm going to need to read again at least once or twice in order to get the hang of everything that was going on but if I only ever read one book on Bill and Hillary, this one will do for me.
This book was supplied by the publishers, Atlantic Books and a first review appears on www.curiousbookfans.co.uk. Thanks to both Atlantic and CBF.
Author: Christopher Hitchens
Duration: 128 pages
My disdain for over complex books regarding the ins and outs of events that brazenly contradicts, leaving a jumbled mess of broken concepts with no clarity - it is one of my pet hates. Hitchens embraces irony, witticism, sharp toned intellectual might, and lastly simplifies matters that 99 percent of authors in the same genre systematically fail to do. Altogether he's closest to the term 'Orwellian' than any other modern thinker in his era.
Hitchen's premise of smearing 'red-nosed' old US presidents' reputations through the means of articles, books, caricatures, and film isn't avant-garde at all. Overall the dissident's writings get overlooked, disregarded, sent to Coventry, or worse still ignored. Incessant neglect inevitably results in career demise for the author. One of the best means to combat this occurrence for an author is to deliver a 'short sharp shock' - and be as broad-shouldered and punchy as possible. Christopher Hitchens achieves this in his book 'No One Left to Lie To' - 128 pages of views, facts and political revelations. And the supreme scholar of debate's target is: William Jefferson Clinton.
Taking the high moral ground, by listing the immoralities of US presidents and those in high office is a precarious business; especially when it's in print for decades thereafter. Not many authors can endeavour such thwart paths, and make such a compelling, legally tight account of infamous events. Monicagate during Clinton's period in the Whitehouse took the media by storm, from an unlikely source; a factory in Sudan. Any discourse with 'morality' linked to it, unequivocally spreads, imitating a forest fire. Clinton, having been caught with his pants down, the next operation is damage limitation. Getting advisers onside in Hitchens words the dupes and the apologists - and much as anything 'No One Left to Lie To' is a concise book reiterating Clinton's damnations his major moral deficiencies, his inane conduct, his media smokescreen façade. Clinton's lies are immorally laced with arsenic that overtime defrags moral standing; the same could be said about the Kennedy's in the early 1960's - but then those in power had a covert curtain whereby misdemeanors only got let out into the public domain after the term in office had subsided. Such deviances aren't that uncommon: Thomas Jefferson the third US President favoured one particular maid to do tasks - her child rumoured to be the President's.
What is it with the name 'Jefferson?' I kept thinking while engrossed with this 'brain food' book. It is as if the name gifts the right to illegitimately father children, or become a US President. Then again going by the number of Jeffersons in the US, there probably is a far greater probability that greatest may occur - perhaps a forefather ambition stirs the subconscious. In the mid 1990's it came to light William Jefferson Clinton may have fathered a child while the Governor of Arkansas - not known for his philandering at the time, this morally damaging golden bullet missed Clinton; he escaped the ridicule due to the fact the potency of the dalliance was barely warm and wasn't seen to be in America's interest. The allegations was stored in a media storm vault marked 'potential' - the charismatic Governor's career intact duly to the intellectual heads at Vanity Fair, where Hitchens sat with his journalistic comrades. For a leftist publication (Vanity Fair) I scratched my scalp thinking why the allegations of fathering an illegitimate child weren't published during Clinton's Presidential Election Campaign in1996? The answer nevertheless is uncharacteristic vague for Hitchens. I hasten a bet it would digress his case, into uncharted territories that are unlikely to ever see the light of day. The scab is left unpicked.
The incredulous political friction of Clintonism - like Blair I feel, promotes inane policies to both sides of persuasion. Blair was the most right left winger the British Administration has ever witnessed, to date. Clinton amiably swore allegiances to the Republicans, to keep them onside, however most policies prospered the Democrat voters, this toying with all forms of policy confused delegates, and there Clintonism became an affiliated to 'Triangulation' - Watered down politics, whereby concepts i.e. reforms are insipid in content. Ultimately, logic prevails that behind 'triangulation' each corner of political persuasion reaps the benefit of the idea, hereby in return inane policy gets shot through congress without any fierce opposition. Clinton's insidious Welfare Bill was one that Hitchens highlighted as being callous. Several timely dire policy damnations regarding certain social groups got the backlash from Clinton's infidelity smokescreen - to hide his dalliances he'd deploy another stomach churning policy that got the headlines. He did it for self preservation, rather than delivering his political principles. To keep power at all costs, his immorality not part of the equation. By lying on oath to his Nation; 'Monicagate' seemingly should've been his nemesis from public life. Not only via his inept morals, but due to the odious means he employed a blind faith to keep hold of power. By doing so, he engineered a manipulative façade bought by his apologists and sympathizers who has in turn aided him today. He is now the United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti brought in a year before the Haiti Earthquake of January 2010, since then he has founded the 'Clinton Bush Haiti Fund'; the residents of Haiti still live in mud huts two years on. No housing infrastructure has taken place - most are which live in extreme poverty. What do you expect from a man with such low morals? Although, 'No One Left to Lie To' was published in 1999 towards the twilight years of Clinton's power. Whereby even Clinton knew his days in the Whitehouse were numbered - Hitchen unscrupulously marred Clinton immoral - he really dug in, unremitting, emotive perhaps, twisting the knife in at 360 degrees. Making sure the silver haired wisely fox can't escape these moralistic damnations - An extra twist for good measure just to make sure that such a parasite couldn't endure another term in Office, going beyond 2001. The problem is another power hungry, gun slinging, parasite in the shape of George Bush evolved.
Silver haired fox with a beaming red nose
Yes, Hitchens has valid points that surprisingly weren't earth shattering when it comes to the public life of William Jefferson Clinton - he is still in the background like an old Uncle beaming from the sidelines. He is still popular. Not surprising from a nation spellbound on innate celebrity; I'm just wandering why 'Bill Clinton' hasn't been on 'Strictly Come Prancing' USA. The only thing is: I feel Hitchens has underestimated the term 'celebrity'; who doesn't like old silver haired foxes with red noses? A top read for any intellectual who is into American politics.
Leading American journalist Christopher Hitchens scrutinizes the features of Bill Clinton's political methods, and argues that the Clinton machine might become a model for pseudo-democracy for the coming century.