Return to the Cover Page Return to Books menu
Other Essays
Book Reviews
Subscribe to the Cynic Express(ed)
Cynically Quoted

Christopher Hitchens, No One Left To Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton
Verso Press, $19.00.

     "This little book has no 'hidden agenda,'" begins Christopher Hitchens' No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton. "It is offered in the most cheerful and open polemical spirit, as an attack on a crooked president and a corrupt and reactionary administration." I'm always a little hesitant when reading the political commentary of someone with whom I am unfamiliar. I have to wonder sometimes from what perspective the author has chosen to approach the subject at hand. With the title and the first two sentences of this book, I knew where Hitchens was going. And I agreed.

     Of course, Hitchens approaches the subject from a different angle than I typically do. Hitchens and the book, from Verso Press, an imprint of New Left Books, do not agree with the campaign promises and the basic building blocks of what Clinton's policy would have been had Clinton kept his word. Hitchens, instead, takes issue with Clinton's promises for reform and his actions, after election, which go the opposite way. Often, Hitchens posits, at the expense of the common people to whom Clinton made the promises and to the benefit of the elites which Clinton derided.

     One such instance: then-governor Bill Clinton, recently dealt a bimbo-eruption in the form of Gennifer Flowers, bit his lips in concern, but flew to Arkansas to be on hand when the authorities in his home state executed Rickey Ray Rector, a double murderer who lobotomized himself with a shot to his own head upon his arrest. Clinton, in a move that would become familiar to us during his presidential administration, drew the attention of the media-driven national Id away from his errant Eros with a blatant, chest-thumping demonstration of his Thanatos. He returned home to be present and Tough on Crime when Rector was juiced. He would have no Willie Hortons in his past.

     Hitchens, of course, has problems with the death penalty that I do not. However, his account of Clinton's triangulation in this case-urging compassion for all and solidarity with minorities, but executing a man who mentally was a child to appease his critics-does illustrate some of Clinton's shortcomings and distinguishing marks that we can all see.

     Hitchens' account carries a certain hipper-than-them tone that I have tried to perfect in my own ranting. It's too bad he's so wrong on some of his reasoning. Regardless of the direction from which he's coming, his brief book (113 pages) offers a quick and satisfying byte of summer reading.

Order No One Left to Lie To from