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No One Left to Lie to: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton Hardcover – Bargain Price, April, 1999

4.2 out of 5 stars 241 customer reviews

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The most vocal critics of Bill Clinton's presidency tend to be conservatives--think, for example, of William J. Bennett's The Death of Outrage--but there are those on the Left who are fed up with Clinton as well. Among them is journalist Christopher Hitchens (most prominently associated with The Nation and Vanity Fair), who has produced a slim but vehement volume outlining how "Clinton's private vileness meshes exactly with his brutal and opportunistic public style." No One Left to Lie To is the story of a man who took the Democratic presidential nomination and, having achieved office, began enacting welfare reform and anticrime legislation that surpassed the ambitions of all but the most ideologically loyal Republicans--and routinely plundered the GOP platform for other policy ideas as well.

Hitchens is particularly damning on Clinton's tendency to resort to divisive racial politics when it suits his purposes, as when, in the course of the 1992 presidential campaign, he refused to lift a finger to save a mentally retarded African American from state execution so he could appear tough on crime, then shortly afterwards hijacked a Rainbow Coalition conference to criticize rap artist Sister Souljah for the benefit of the attendant press. When he needs the black vote, though, Clinton will allow himself to be trumpeted as the most racially sensitive president in American history--if not, in Toni Morrison's memorably ludicrous phrase, "our first black president." Furthermore, the man who once connived his way out of the draft has become a chief executive so willing to use military air strikes as a means of foreign policy that, in the author's view, the United States is now a "potential banana republic."

Of course, there is plenty of vitriol directed at Clinton's conduct with regard to Monica Lewinsky (the woman with whom he admitted, under duress, to having had an "inappropriate relationship" consisting of multiple incidences of oral sex) and Kathleen Willey (who alleges that the leader of the free world merely fondled her breasts and forced her to touch--albeit shielded under some layers of clothing--his tumescent penis). In Hitchens's view, however, the sexual controversies are only the most prominent aspect of Clinton's shameful character, a moral condition that must be considered in toto. The book is short, with an argument that runs only about a hundred pages, but that's still more than enough room for Hitchens to serve up a comprehensive, blistering indictment suffused throughout by his dark wit. He sums up the failure of those fixated on Clinton's adultery to fully investigate his cronyism and financial shenanigans: "It's not the lipstick traces, stupid," Hitchens warns, "it's the Revlon Connection." --Ron Hogan --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"You don't buy Christopher Hitchens's book because you want to find out whether Bill Clinton is really as terrible a liar as some people say he is. You buy it because you know he is a terrible liar, and the invitation to have a pungent fellow like Hitchens confirm every prejudice you ever had on the subject, plus a few you might not even have known you had, is an invitation you cannot resist."―Louis Menand, New York Times Magazine

"By far the best of all the books on the Clinton era."―Edward Said, Al-Ahram Weekly

"With a witty bluntness uncommon in today's political discourse, Hitchens boldly puts the pieces of the Clinton puzzle together-and isn't afraid to describe the result . . . Hitchens's brave willingness to show all the sordid scenarios in which our emperor has removed his clothes is beyond refreshing."―Karen Lehrman, New York Times Book Review

"Christopher Hitchens is a remarkable commentator. He jousts with fraudulence of every stripe and always wins. I regret he has only one life, one mind, and one reputation to put at the service of my country."―Joseph Heller --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Verso (April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859847366
  • ASIN: B0013VXYNK
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,332 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When Bill Clinton was President, people attacked him from both ends of the American political spectrum. The Right asserted that his policies were too liberal, citing his stance on issues such as national health-care and partial birth abortion, while the Left claimed the opposite, citing as examples his support of welfare reform and opposition to gay marriage. About Clinton's behavior--his frequent lying, his repeated adultery, his draft-dodging, and so on--the Right shouted in vain for eight years, with no consequences for the President's approval rating. When confronted with these issues, liberals and moderates usually either looked the other way or defended Clinton, fearing that anything short of full support could give credibility and maybe even the executive branch to the Republicans.
Christopher Hitchens, a man of the Left on most issues, was an exception. No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton is his 1999 attack not just on Clinton's policies but also his ethics. Hitchens blasts Clinton for enacting policies that are essentially Republican, such as "welfare reform," which stole from the Republicans a key election issue while stranding the liberals who had no alternative but to stick with the President. Clinton has such a conservative record, Hitchens says, that it's a mystery why so many people on the Right hate him as much as they do (81). The Democrats are used to dissent in their ranks about whether Clinton was liberal enough; after all, a significant number of Democrats in both houses of Congress voted against "welfare reform." But not a single Senate Democrat voted for Clinton's removal, and Hitchens objects strongly to this kind of unconditional Democratic/liberal support for Clinton's behavior.
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Format: Paperback
In "No One Left To Lie To", Christopher Hitchens dissects Bill Clinton psychologically, laying his inner nature bare like an anatomist displays the internal organs of a prepared cadaver. Mr Hitchens provides an invaluable historical reference of magazine-style contemporary news essays. He deserves the highest praise for compiling his perceptive thoughts into a literate and coherent selection of meaningful essays.
Note, to left-leaning Americans: This book does not argue that Clinton "destroyed the country" from some sort of socially-conservative (i.e., Republican) point of view at all. These are not essays from the pages of The Wall Street Journal by any means. On the contrary, Hitchens testifies that Clinton destroyed American LIBERALISM, from the point of view of a committed socialist, which Hitchens most solidly is. At one point, Hitchens asks why, given the effect he had on both parties, Republicans hate Clinton at all. It is for this reason that this book is an unusual and highly recommendable perspective for anyone who has the slightest interest in the subject, as well as those who have the greatest revulsion.
Hitchens examines Clinton's record of war, his accusations of sexual abuse, his relationship with Dick Morris, his skill at "triangulation", and his relationship with his wife, Hillary. These are not new topics, they have been discussed at great length and in excruciating detail for the last ten years, but Hitchens handles them all with such skill and wit that his compendium deserves reading by even the most jaded partisan or news-weary person.
In a surprisingly brief volume, but one dense with information, Hitchens portrays in precise detail a man beholden to corporate interests, upper-class elitism, and big money influence-peddling.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a nonpartisan analysis of the Clinton presidency, this isn't it. It is, however, something almost as rare: an attack on the President from the left. Far from the usual liberal Clinton apologist who defends anything the President does simply because he's a Democrat, Hitchens sees him as a shrewd political opportunist whose pathological need for approval from the American people is exceeded only by his contempt for them. In this, he's absolutely correct.
The problem for readers who don't share Hitchens' left-wing ideals will be that he seems to have contempt for Clinton's "triangulations" only to the extent that they interfere with his own liberal agenda. Such readers will also find his liberal indignation a bit tiresome. Conservatives and libertarians will bristle at reading (yet again) how FDR saved us from capitalism. And I doubt whether hard-working, middle-class Americans of any political bent will share his outrage that New York's welfare system now has the audacity to "require the poor to search for jobs before receiving help" (the heartless bastards!).
The book is worth reading for a dead-on, acid-tongued portrait of a dysfunctional administration, for once by an author who can't be accused of a partisan hatchet job. Still, one can't help wondering if Hitchens' high-powered perception of Clinton's flaws would be so clearly focused if Clinton had pursued the liberal policies that Hitchens supports.
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Format: Hardcover
Conservatives will be shamed by leftist Chris Hitchens's ability to heap scorn on Bill Clinton. Few have been this effective in exposing Bill Clinton. Hitchens uses a clever and biting wit, elegant prose, and insightful analysis to lift the rock on the debauched Clinton presidency. Hitchens has a remarkable ability to dissect even the most innocuous Clinton statement or event and to show how it is illustrative of a grander tawdriness in Clinton's personal and political composition. The result is a well-reasoned, thoughtful and intelligent book which illuminates like a spotlight the dishonor of Clinton's reign of lies. One word of warning to conservative readers. Hitchens peppers his text with a fair amount of hard core liberal thinking that often seems highly self-righteous. This is especially true when it comes to the subject of welfare reform, for which Hitchens gives way too much credit to Clinton, or as Hitchens would see it, blame, for what was essentially a GOP initiative. Hitchens refuses to allow a role for personal responsibility among welfare recipients. He even expresses offense and indignation at the idea that single mothers who receive welfare should have to reveal the name of the father of their child that he might be made to relieve the taxpayers of some of the burden of raising his child. These diggressions aside, Hitchens's artful use of language and remarkable anayltical thinking weaves a stunning tapestry of indecency wrought by this president. Hitchen's adds richness to the portrait by delving into little explored territory such as the true benefactors and motives driving the failed Clinton health care takeover.Read more ›
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