Friday, November 2, 2007

Book Review

Her Way
By Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta Jr.

Once again I found a book I felt I should read, after all Hillary may become the next President of the U.S. This is not her biography, in fact neither she nor her staff would co-operate with the writers. In spite of this handicap, it appeared to me that they tried to be factual and shared the good with the bad. It follows her from a young girl to 2007. She has the ability to attract supporters for her staff and other groups who are intensely loyal and dedicated to her.
Her first challenge as first lady was to get a bill passed to provide medical care for all Americans. She strove hard but in the end accomplished nothing. The lobbying power of the industry prevailed.
The one common denominator is her driving ambition to reach the highest possible level of achievement which for her will be to become President of the U.S. The writers make a strong case that there was a pact or plan that Bill and Hillary worked toward and that was for both of them to be two term presidents. Bill got his and now she is close to realizing her dream as well. When the Monica Lewinski affair could no longer be denied she stood by him when it was expected that a divorce was a natural consequence of his marital infidelity. To leave at that time would have ended any hope of achieving this lofty goal so she stuck it out.
The book recalls all of the turmoil that they went through as Kenneth Starr the independent council and his group pursued the Clintons on various and sundry issues including their Whitewater investment, Madison Guaranty Bank and her Rose law firm. Other issues were the death of Vince Foster, the women who claimed Bill had made advances to them including Paula Jones and Kathleen Fisher. Starr’s final report included 110,000 words. After spending millions they were never found guilty of any impropriety except for lying about his relationship with Monica. The report stated that there was a record of the president’s “abundant and calculating lies” under oath, obstruction of justice, and an abuse of power that “may constitute grounds for impeachment.” The Republican controlled Congress did all they could to accomplish this but in the end failed.
I detected a pattern in her voting record as U.S. Senator of N.Y. In my opinion after reading I believe she votes more to protect her image than concern for whatever issue is being addressed. A case in point was her vote to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq. She felt that a no vote would be interpreted as being soft on military matters.
I searched carefully to find some information about the role Bill and Hillary played during John Kerry’s bid for the White House. There was nothing. I remember during that year that Bill was recovering from some illness and she naturally would take the time to be with him. Whenever they did make a speech I noted that they seldom mentioned Kerry by name, instead they would talk about democratic values. I was upset with them as I was actively involved with the Democratic Party as we worked to remove President Bush from office. Their personal ambition contributed to Kerry’s defeat to the detriment of us all. Where might we be now if Kerry had won? I was not a big fan of him but as I jokingly said at the time, I would vote for Mickey Mouse if he was on the ticket. We felt that we could persuade him to move in what we considered to be the right direction.
Today as we all know she is receiving record contributions from citizens and also from Corporate America, the same corporations that destroyed her first efforts to provide health care for all of our citizens.
I don’t really recommend reading this book. If you are an active thinker and have followed Washington issues for a long time, then you will find very little that you don’t already know. It was good as a refresher but reliving some of the past was tedious. It was hard for me to concentrate.

Jack B. Walters
3961 N. Hillwood Circle
Tucson, AZ 85750
(520) 722-2958
November 2, 2007

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