Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Clinton's memoirs

I am well into the second volume of Clinton's extensive memoirs. The books are full of details - a historian's dream. Clinton had help tracking down details, and he had a White House Diarist, on whom I expect he also relied. For the earlier years he had to dig out what he could, consulting others. Nobody could remember all these details.

Clinton writes clearly, with no drama and no particular beauty. He constructs good sentences and simply offers us a chronological account of his life. Although it is always clear how he feels about certain issues, he doesn't dramatize and he doesn't embroider. It is only now, well into the second half of the second volume, where he speaks of the impeachment proceedings, that he spends time reiterating the "facts of the case". Facts I already know rather well, from other accounts. I sense in this part of the book an anger that he has been unable to shake, in spite of his best efforts.

I have been surprised, lately, at his calmness and generosity in speaking of the Right Wing zealots who are in the White House now. I thought he would take the opportunity to attack, but he didn't. And I have to give him credit for that. He was a so much better president than Bush could ever hope to be, because his motives were improve the country and to work toward peace in the world, not enrich small groups of friends.

I am so glad he wrote this huge piece of work. It will be a treasure for years to come, will help others sort through those years. And it gives me renewed appreciation for what he did in office, so much that was obscured by the insanity of Kenneth Starr and his friends.

You might think that it was a lesson learned by the media, but it wasn't. In spite of the press' constant attention to Monica and Whitewater, we the citizens were never persuaded that it was a meaningful effort. It was only after the House voted to impeach that the media started to step back and take a look at who was really pulling those strings and what weapons they were using to coerce votes. You might think that the national media would think again before behaving so mindlessly, yet they locked right in step with Bush and the Iraq war arguments. No memory? I sometimes think that's the major flaw in the character of this country.

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