Because He Could

Because He Could

2.8 9
by Dick Morris, Eileen McGann

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No one knows more about the inner Bill Clinton-and is willing to talk about it-than Dick Morris. From his days as Arkansas governor through the planning of his triumphant reelection in 1996, Clinton was an open book to Morris, his most valued political adviser. Now, in the wake of Clinton's megabestseller, My Life, Morris sets the record straight with this


No one knows more about the inner Bill Clinton-and is willing to talk about it-than Dick Morris. From his days as Arkansas governor through the planning of his triumphant reelection in 1996, Clinton was an open book to Morris, his most valued political adviser. Now, in the wake of Clinton's megabestseller, My Life, Morris sets the record straight with this chapter-and-verse corrective.

Just as he did with Hillary Clinton in this year's bestselling Rewriting History, Morris reexamines every highlight of the former President's massive, exhausting, self-indulgent autobiography. Filling in the parts of the story that Clinton left unmentioned, Morris addresses the many questions left by this endlessly contradictory politician.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)

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Because He Could

Chapter One

Cracking the Clinton Code

"A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma": Sir Winston Churchill's famous phrase has become familiar shorthand for almost anything we cannot easily understand. And in modern politics no figure embodies this phenomenon better than our forty-second president, William Jefferson Clinton. So much about him is still a puzzle. Even after eight years of watching his extraordinarily visible presidency and twelve years of listening to the endless scrutiny of his personality by pundits from every segment of the political spectrum, we still can't really say that we truly understand this complex, contradictory man.

Bill Clinton is a study in opposites. Consider the facts: He was one of the most popular and successful presidents in modern history. At the same time, he was disgraced by his transgressions in office, becoming only the second president to be impeached by the House of Representatives since the creation of our republic. As the first postmodern president, he was revered as a cultural icon by his supporters, while at the same time loathed and reviled by his opponents as "illegitimate." His charisma, intellect, and charm are the core of his attractiveness, and captivate even the most skeptical observers. But his dark side -- his moodiness, temper, self-absorption, and lack of discipline -- are unappealing and make him an easy target for his critics. Even reaction to the story of his life, as he has now told it in book form, has been widely split. When he appears on television to hype its publication, the ratings go through the roof. And yet, when reviewed in print, the book has been panned, even ridiculed. This polarity itself -- in his personality and in his image -- only adds to his mystery and his celebrity. Whether they love him or hate him, the public wants to know all they can about him.

So curious are Americans about who Bill Clinton really is that his memoir, My Life, sold more than a million copies in its first weeks. In fact, among politicians, Clinton's only serious rival in the nonfiction best-seller lists has been his equally opaque wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and her autobiography, Living History.

But the two memoirs are as different as Bill and Hillary themselves. In Living History, a thoroughly self-disciplined woman carefully masks who she really is. In My Life, a very complicated and sometimes dysfunctional man inadvertently and unwittingly reveals his actual character -- at least to readers diligent enough to find him in its almost one thousand pages.

My Life is a metaphor for Bill Clinton himself. Like him, it is sometimes interesting, sometimes refreshingly open, sometimes fascinating. Just as often, however, it is incomplete, misleading, chaotic, overly detailed, superficial, and inconsistent. Still, hidden among the disorder is the remarkable story of who Bill Clinton is. And that story is very different from the one he tries to tell, and to sell. Despite the 957 pages he has exhaustively written about himself, the Bill Clinton in My Life, remains impenetrable, lurking somewhere behind the mind-numbing litany of trips, meetings, campaign stops, meals, and scandals. At first glance, his book seems to reveal little about his thinking, his motivations, or his emotions. He even manages to avoid telling us about the obvious pain and humiliation he must have suffered when he was impeached; instead he merely expresses contempt and rage.

Yet, once we begin judging the text of My Life against the available evidence -- by piecing together what he says, what he doesn't say, what others have said, and what the public record shows actually happened -- a clearer, more accurate picture of the man emerges. In fact, in order to find the real Bill Clinton within the pages of My Life, it 's important to understand what I think of as the Clinton Code -- correlating what Clinton says (or doesn't say) with other data and experience, and reconciling the obvious differences. Without that Code, we cannot grasp all of the former president 's assets and failings, his unique abilities, and his countervailing limitations, as they are exposed in the book.

As a twenty-year veteran of Bill Clinton's campaigns and administrations, I have long and rich experience with his politics, his thinking, and his personality. For years I observed him at close range; I watched him think and act, make decisions, delay decisions, and avoid decisions. Eventually I grew confident that I understood his mind and motivations. And yet, despite all my experience with Clinton, not until I read My Life did I fully crack the Clinton Code. There, like a patient who has spent too long talking on his psychiatrist 's couch, Clinton provided the missing pieces that permitted me -- for the first time since we met in 1977 -- to understand this man fully.

Once decoded, despite its obvious omissions and limitations, My Life offers a guided tour through the labyrinths of the brilliant but cluttered, disorganized, and often raging mind of Bill Clinton. As a historical guide to the Clinton presidency, My Life is disappointing. There are no surprises, no nuances, and no compelling lessons. Page after page provide a diary-style summary of notable events, without any organized or logical theme. State dinners, foreign trips, and meetings with cabinet members are given the same weight as golf outings, appearances before the grand jury, and letters from children of friends. We learn what he ate for lunch every day in college, but not why he pardoned the drug dealer client of Hillary's brother. He describes in detail the floor plan of the small apartment he and Hillary shared in New Haven, but is silent about their solicitation of expensive Spode china, silver, and other gifts from donors while still in the White House. Did he really think readers would care that the bedroom in New Haven was between the dining room and the kitchen? Did he think we wouldn't notice his decision to ignore the gift fiasco?

Because He Could. Copyright © by Dick Morris. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Dick Morris served as Bill Clinton's political consultant for twenty years. A regular political commentator on Fox News, he is the author of ten New York Times bestsellers (all with Eileen McGann) and one Washington Post bestseller.

Eileen McGann is an attorney who, with her husband, Dick, writes columns for the New York Post and for their website, She has written extensively about the abuses of Congress and the need for reform.

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Because He Could 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was going to buy this book because I am intrigued by the "Come back kid, Bill Clinton. While reading the sample, I came upon the big lie, 9/11 happened on George Bush's watch not Clinton. It was Bush who didn't try to stop 9/11 even though he had warnings. This tells me their are more lies ahead, these writers don't have their facts straight, why would I want to waste my money and time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have the capacity to read a book on Bill Clinton without thinking that everything being said is either left or right wing 'spin', then this book is a good read for you. Too many people will read this book wanting to hear dirt on Clinton to prove to them that he is the evil man they believe him to be. Others will read it wanting their beliefs of Clinton being the second coming of Christ to be reinforced. Either way, both side will be disappointed. If the goal of reading this book is to learn a little more about what made Bill Clinton tick and to see why and how he made important decisions, then you will enjoy this book. I thought it was very well written, with a lot of facts and behind the scenes information, but still had a very human element to it. Anyone who can read it without too much partiality will enjoy it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hay dick he disgraced his self the America people didnt do that you have to blame someone right that is the way you all think
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dick Morris captures the psyche of the former president. He plays a pretty good 'armchair psychoanalyst'. He offers great insight into the dysfunction and motivation of the former president. It was a good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unlike the previous reviews, I read this book with the open mind deserving of the author who, for years, was the closest person in Clinton's political life. Politics has nothing to do with the fact that he's now telling the truth about one of the most influential President's in our history. So what if he now works for 'the other side' (please, how childish) by contributing to Fox News? So do a host of liberal Democrats as well. Bill Clinton was many things to many people. I found this book to be compelling, insightful and sometimes funny, but mostly an honest portrayal of a political figure in a day and age when transparancy is so hard to find on BOTH sides of the aisle. Regardless of your politics, don't let that alone skew your opinion of this book (again, unlike the previous 'reviews') until AFTER you read it. You might surprise yourself with how you feel when your done. Definitely a must read, I recommend this book to everyone, be they liberal or conservative, a member of the Democrat Party, the Republican Party or as myself is, and Independent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like Scott, a disappointed, reader, I didn't even finish the book. The first chapter is a critique of Bill Clinton's book, 'My Life'. The rest is a complete criticism of Clinton's personality and his career, most in 'hindsight'. By now, we all know Clinton had a 'problem' that's old news. What really irritates me is that Dick Morris spent 20 years as Clinton's political consultant, helping get him elected as governor of Arkansas and two terms as President. Ok, maybe Clinton really wasn't a successful President, maybe he didn't have the desired qualifications. So why, WHY, did Dick Morris work so hard to get Clinton elected to the highest office in the US if he knew Clinton was not qualified?? Today, Morris appears on Fox News, a Republican outlet. I guess Mr. Morris just goes where the money is. In other words, he's a 'sell-out', a hypocrite, someone who will support anything for a buck. Reckon he will write a 'kiss-and-tell' book about Bush Jr. after the fact??
Guest More than 1 year ago
I hate to start a book and not finish it, no matter how bad it is. After taking a quick glance at this book, I was expecting a, dare I say it, fair and balanced analysis of the Clinton administration and an intelligent discussion of its many facets (both good and bad) and the events that took placed during its eight year reign from someone who was clearly in the know. Unfortunately, what I found was a shameless piece of self-promotion and unmistakeable Monday morning quarterbacking. From the very beginning, this book screams of the writer's supreme sense of self-importance. His hindsight analysis of the entire tenure of the Clinton administration is unbelievably convenient and self-serving. Don't waste your time or money. It isn't even interesting. It's just bad.
Guest More than 1 year ago