Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Book Learning #28
The Survivor. Bill Clinton in the White House. By John F.Harris.
As I write this I am listening to Richard Nixon justify his actions.
There are few similarities between Nixon and Clinton. Self justification in the light of poor judgement and/or illegal behaviour is one of them.
That aside Harris has written an intelligent and highly readable account of the Clinton White House years. The chapters are alternated, some heavy discussion of policy such as Healthcare reform and deficit reduction and then the more engaging, personal stuff such as Clinton's relationships with his wife or senior members of his administration.
It's easy to forget how strange the first term was, the shutdown, healthcare fiasco, poor approval ratings and doubt about America's foreign policy.
When I began to read this book I had no real opinion on the junior Senator for New York, at the beginning I was discourteous in my heart towards the former First Lady. By the end of the book I was feeling much more benign, almost willing her to run and win in 2008.
I'm still unsure about Al Gore. Like many I suppose.
Wouldn't it be fun to hang out with Bill Clinton?
So much he didn't get done.
As I read this book I couldn't help but wonder, 1998, budget surplus, a less confusing world and a competent President in the White House. It changed so quickly and so irrevocably.