Because He Could

( 9 )

Overview

Who is Bill Clinton?

A man whose presidency was disgraced by impeachment — yet who remains one of the most popular presidents of our time.

A man whose autobiography, My Life, was panned by critics as a self-indulgent daily diary — but rode the bestseller lists for months.

A man whose policies changed America at the close of the twentieth century — yet whose weakness left us ...

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Because He Could

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Overview

Who is Bill Clinton?

A man whose presidency was disgraced by impeachment — yet who remains one of the most popular presidents of our time.

A man whose autobiography, My Life, was panned by critics as a self-indulgent daily diary — but rode the bestseller lists for months.

A man whose policies changed America at the close of the twentieth century — yet whose weakness left us vulnerable to terror at the dawn of the twenty-first.

No one better understands the inner Bill Clinton, that creature of endless and vexing contradiction, than Dick Morris. From the Arkansas governor's races through the planning of the triumphant 1996 reelection, Morris was Clinton's most valued political adviser. Now, in the wake of Clinton's million-selling memoir My Life, Morris and his wife, Eileen McGann, set the record straight with Because He Could, a frank and perceptive deconstruction of the story Clinton tells — and the many more revealing stories he leaves untold.

With the same keen insight they brought to Hillary Clinton's life in their recent bestseller Rewriting History, Morris and McGann uncover the hidden sides of the complicated and sometimes dysfunctional former president. Whereas Hillary is anxious to mask who she really is, they show, Bill Clinton inadvertently reveals himself at every turn — as both brilliant and undisciplined, charming yet often filled with rage, willing to take wild risks in his personal life but deeply reluctant to use the military to protect our national security. The Bill Clinton who emerges is familiar — reflexively blaming every problem on right-wing persecutors or naïve advisers — but also surprising: passive, reactive, working desperately to solve a laundry list of social problems yet never truly grasping the real thrust of his own presidency. And while he courted danger in his personal life, the authors argue that Clinton's downfall has far less to do with his private demons than with his fear of the one person who controlled his future: his own first lady.

Sharp and stylishly written, full of revealing insider anecdotes, Because He Could is a fresh and probing portrait of one of the most fascinating, and polarizing, figures of our time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060792138
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/18/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Dick Morris

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, dickmorris.com. She has written extensively about the abuses of Congress and the need for reform.

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, dickmorris.com. She has written extensively about the abuses of Congress and the need for reform.

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First Chapter

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.
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Customer Reviews

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( 9 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2005

    Boring, Boring, Boring!

    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??

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2005

    I actually stopped reading this book

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2004

    A very solid read....

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2004

    a true alternative to bill clintons book

    DICK MORRIS HAS WRITTION A VERY EXCITING BEST SELLER.BEING A REAL INSIDER TO THE CLINTON ADMINISTRATION THIS BOOK HAS ALOT OF INTRESTING INSITE INTO THE MANY THINGS THAT BILL LEFT OUT OF HIS BEST SELLER. IT IS ALSO INTRESTING TO GET A GLIMPSE INTO WHERE HILLARY GETS HER POWER AND WHAT SHE WILL BE LIKE IN 2008.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Did not read

    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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2012

    Anonymous

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2008

    Jared- practitioner of psychology/ political science buff

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Independent thinker...

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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