Bill Clinton’s book, “My Life,” is set for a June release – probably to steal some thunder from John Kerry. Clinton’s sales tactic is self-serving and underhanded – in other words, everyone saw it coming.
Bill, the genial half of the Dynamic Duo of untruths, half-truths, semi-truths and kinda-sorta-truths, parses words with a diamond-cutting laser and micrometer – or, in a pinch, a hacksaw and yardstick. This means that this book will be so long that Tom Clancy will get thickness envy.
Since I don’t feel like waiting until June to push around more gloss than the forklift driver at a CoverGirl warehouse, I thought I’d write my review now, without having read the book – taking a few liberties along the way. We’ll see how many of them turn out to be correct.
“My Life,” by Bill Clinton
Foreword by Kofi Annan and Jimmy Carter
“You go first, Jimmy.”
“Thanks, Kofi, but I insist, you go first.”
“That’s very nice of you, but I defer to you, Mr. President.”
“No, really Mr. Secretary, you go first.”
“Should I have it voted on in general session, Jimmy?”
“Only if I can mediate the round-table discussion to form a fact-finding committee to negotiate a proper ‘foreword’ for the book.”
Chapter 1 – “‘Hope’ Springs Eternal’: Small town, big dreams”
In the first chapter, we learn all about the youth of the boy who would be president. Minor surprises abound, such as that “I feel your pain” was actually coined by Bill Clinton as a boy, using the phrase to comfort his half brother, Roger, who was in agony after tripping over the hitch on the house.
We find out that, as a kid, Bill would spend hours practicing the changing of emotions on a dime – teaching himself to quickly vacillate between tears and laughter by simultaneously plucking out nose hairs while watching “Three Stooges” shorts.
Chapter 2 – “ROTC, find out what it means to me”
Creative excuses and Bill Clinton go together like Little Rock fireplace mantles and bowling trophies, and chapter two is a great reminder of that. Clinton addresses the famous letter he wrote to an ROTC commander in which he claimed to “loathe the military.” Clinton, of course, has an explanation for the entire matter, saying he actually wrote, “love the military”, but the ink ran because he was crying, “Due to, of course, the fact that I love the military so much.”
Chapter 3 – “You don’t bring me Flowers anymore”
Clinton fans have been hoping for a frank discussion of the early years of Bill’s marriage to Hillary, and chapter three doesn’t disappoint. The book meanders into admissions of adultery in the ’70s and ’80s, telling how Clinton subsequently had to break off relationships with several women so he could save what was so dear to him. This is the touching and emotional journey of a man who rediscovered his true love, and gave up, for a short time, his philandering ways to save that which provided his life with true meaning – his presidential ambitions.
Chapter 4 – “With friends like these, you don’t need an enemies list”
This chapter is bound to cause some heated emotions among family and friends, as Clinton divulges secrets of several former associates and others. Among them, how Susan McDougal once asked the Clintons to send a cake with a file in it to her prison cell, so Hillary delivered a chocolate mousse torte with McDougal’s FBI folder inside.
Chapter 5 – “If only I were there …”
There are 145 pages devoted to telling readers that 9-11 wouldn’t have happened if Bill hadn’t left the White House. Clinton writes that during his tenure as president, his administration thwarted at least 15 terrorist plots, including plans to bomb the Holland Tunnel, a plot to blow up a flight from Los Angeles to the Philippines, a plan to kill the pope, and, perhaps most shockingly, put down a threatened comeback by the Bay City Rollers.
In addition, Clinton impressively spins the futile lobbing of millions of dollars worth of cruise missiles into Afghanistan and the Sudan in 1998 not as a failure to get bin Laden, but as the economic coup of “doubling the GNP of those nations.”
Chapter 6 – Take that sentence and make it your woman!
For decades, Clinton has proven that he is the Uri Geller of verbiage, and words are spoons. Those with a sincere appreciation of the pliability of the English language will love chapter six, because it discusses not only how to redefine “is” (“Third person singular present indicative of the verb ‘be’, and highly effective two-lettered legal stall tactic,” according to the book), but also “are,” “in,” “on,” “or,” “if” and “adultery.”
The remaining 37 chapters deal in policy, health care, global warming, how to take 173 strokes during 18 holes at Luana Hills and still somehow finish five under par, and tips for women on how to get stuck-under-the-desk gum out of their hair.