Bill Clinton: The American Presidents Series: The 42nd President, 1993-2001
President Clinton is known to be knowledgeable in almost every subject in the world. He has probably delivered addresses that would be longer in pages than this very slim volume. Also, about one-tenth of the book is devoted to the Lewinsky scandal. It would have been more interesting to learn about Clinton and his philosophical approach to the presidency. But it is of necessity that we focus on his failings because, under Bill Clinton, the partisan divide and the meanness of politics emerged more vitriolic and personal than it had been in previous presidencies. I learned for the first time that Linda Tripp had been demoted and transferred to the Pentagon where Lewinsky was also sent. That coincidence almost took down Clinton in impeachment.
What is fascinating about this book is the up-close look at politics and how one must become strategic in order to shield oneself against partisan onslaughts. For example, in this book we learn that the NRA “took out” twenty Democrats because of their votes on the assault weapons ban–politics divorced from the will of the people. I’m sure there is much more to be said about this complicated president.
Michael Tomasky • Arthur M. Schlesinger, Editor • Sean Wilentz, Editor