Is there anything interesting in "My Life" by Bill Clinton? Oh, yes. Page 870.
The Clintons are in New Zealand and finally get to meet "Sir Edmund Hillary, who had explored the South Pole in the 1950s, was the first man to reach the top of Mount Everest and, most important, was the man Chelsea's mother had been named for."
Hmm. Edmund Hillary reached the top of Everest in 1953. Hillary Rodham was born in 1947, when Sir Edmund was an obscure New Zealand beekeeper and an unlikely inspiration for two young parents in the Chicago suburbs. I mentioned this in Britain's Sunday Telegraph eight years ago this very week, after this little story was trotted out the first time, but like so many curious anomalies in the Clinton record, it somehow cruises on indestructibly. By the time Sir Edmund shuffles off this mortal coil, the New York Times headline will read: "Man for Whom President Rodham Named Dies; Climbed Everest in 1947."
Mr. Clinton is certainly thinking of his legacy. The index lists more pages for "bin Laden, Osama" than "Jones, Paula," which isn't how it seemed at the time. You can't blame the poor fellow. As things stand, you'd be hard put to devise a more apt personal embodiment of the long holiday from history the U.S. took between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the fall of the World Trade Center. If geopolitics is the Super Bowl, Mr. Clinton is Janet Jackson, complete with wardrobe malfunctions.
The president…winds up with a book that reads like the world's biggest Rolodex punctuated by self-doubt.
Tina Brown was on to something when she cooed that Bill exists "vividly in the present tense and dares you to join him there." In this book, he slides drably into the past, and the stories come up all mildewed: It now depends what the meaning of "was" was. That's a tougher sell.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Mark Mecca Yousmile
Mark Steyn has a field day with Slick Willie's memoir. The whole thing is worth a read, but here are some highlights: