Tuesday, September 06, 2016

“No One Left To Lie To”– Book Review



Recently, I read “No One Left To Lie To:  The Triangulations Of William Jefferson Clinton” by Christopher Hitchens. 


After two terms of President Bill Clinton, in what shape is the nation and the Democratic party?


The book is made up of seven chapters, plus a Preface and Afterward, as well as a Foreward that was done by presidential biographer Douglas Brinkley specifically for the twelfth edition.  The chapters, in order, are:  Triangulation; Chameleon In Black and White; The Policy Coup; A Question Of Character; Clinton’s War Crimes; Is There A Rapist In The Oval Office?; and The Shadow Of A Con Man. 

Originally published in 1999, Hitchens began working on this book as President Clinton’s second term was nearing its end, shortly after the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke and around the time of the impeachment proceedings.  Hitchens uses the book as a way to not only reflect on the many scandals that touched Clinton’s presidency but also to look at his history of repeated behavior that foretold what he would do once he became the most powerful man in the country, if not the world.

Ultimately, Hitchens concludes that Clinton has left a legacy that neither the former President nor The Democratic Party can point to with any degree of pride.  For example, Hitchens cites The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), which basically sold the homosexual community down the river, angering many of the Liberals who supported him (not to mention the gays themselves).  DOMA alone is believed to have significantly delayed marriage equality in The United States. 

Whenever scandal threatened to draw negative attention his way, “Slick Willy” would invoke tactics similar to those seen in the movie “Wag The Dog” by bombing a country for no apparent reason, whether they deserved it or not; this would distract the press and the public substantially in the hope that by the time the “war” coverage was no longer on the front page of the newspapers or the lead story of the evening news, the scandal that precipitated it would have long since died down and the source of the hubbub will be a distant memory.   


The title “No One Left To Lie To” was not an original thought by author and journalist Christopher Hitchens; it was actually borrowed from someone whom he heard on the news.  In an airport waiting to board a plane, Hitchens was watching television when David Schippers was being interviewed; Schippers was the chief investigative counsel for the House Judiciary Committee at the time Clinton’s scandals had reached their peak.  In his analysis of the besieged President, Schipper said of Clinton, “He lied to the people, he lied to the Cabinet, he lied to his top aides and now he’s lied under oath to the Congress of The United States.  There’s no one left to lie to”.   

The subtitle of the book is “The Triangulations Of William Jefferson Clinton”.  Triangulations, as explained by Hitchens, were those acts by Clinton where he made promises to the Liberals and Democrats while delivering actions to the Conservatives and Republicans for the purpose of holding on to political power.  The author poses the reasonable question, “Why is Clinton not hated by the Left and not loved by the Right?”.  The result of this was that not only did Clinton in fact hold on to his power, but also, he dragged the Democratic party further to the political Right than the party itself wanted.  The pain of such Clinton acts as NAFTA, for example, are still being felt by Americans to this day. 

This is a short book and an easy read – one you can get through rather quickly.  Especially pleasurable is Hitchens’ typically meticulous research and rapier wit.  Hitchens, an avowed Socialist, was much further to the left than Clinton himself, so this is in no way a hit-job by someone with Conservative leanings.  In the last weeks before this year’s presidential elections, it is also a vital book to read.  Even if you choose not to read the entire work, you should at the very least read its final chapter which details similar misdeeds by Clinton’s wife.  Did one teach the other or are they two people with similar talents who found each other?  In any event, it is worthwhile to check out before deciding for whom to cast your vote in November. 

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