Archive for the ‘Bill Clinton: My Life’ Category

My opinion

January 9, 2010

I think the book has to sides. One emotional and one objective side.
That is what it makes so hard to read the book. Not only the 1008 pages, also the fact that you have the feeling that you are reading his calendar.

My Life is really two books. The first and better half, narrates Clinton’s roller-coaster political apprenticeship up to the triumphant presidential campaign of 1992.

But then the second book.Much of Clinton’s writing about the White House years comes from a card-index, a scissors-and-paste job:  health care, welfare reform etc.  What else do we discover? He adores mango ice cream..:D

All in all, it would be worth the money if he would describe his life until the presidential campaign and the Lewinsky scandal. The rest could be erased, burnt or something else, but for me, it was not worth reading it.

Thanks for reading my blog 🙂


Presidency 1993-2001 (Lewinsky affair)

January 9, 2010

First of all I have to mention, that a huge part of the actions he did during his presidency are described objective by him. Without any emotions, for example when he travels to some country he says, that these meetings are nice and he feels comfortable, but thats it.

He handles his presidency very objective in his book, which is a bit demotivating reading the book. That is the reason why I skipped or browsed some of the chapters. It also was a point, where I thought about stop reading the book, but I knew there was one case which is very interesting. It’s the Lewinsky affair.

When Lewinsky was transferred to the pentagon, Clinton was asked several questions about their “relationship”. The question wheter they had a “sexual connection” he answered with no. Later that day he met her and felt bad about that. It was clear to him, what he was doing but not why he was doing it.

The affair between Bill and Monica took place in 1995 when Lewinsky was an intern in the White House. He didn’t mention her earlier in the book, so we don’t get to know what attracted him to Monica.
However, as the affair got public, he denied everything. He stonewalled himself and so the affair got bigger and bigger.

But then came the time of acceptance and the time to explain everything. One morning he told Hilary and Chelsea. Both of them had believed Bill before.
After the case got public, and the Republican held the majority in both houses, it was clear. They wanted to impeach Bill Clinton.

He felt humiliated. Finally, again some emotions in his book. It really got a bit boring until the Lewinsky scandal 😉
As a reader you have the feeling after Hilary “forgave” him, at least a bit, Bill felt lighter. But still there was the load on his back because of the impeachement, which wasn’t because of the affair itself, it was beacuse at first he lied about the case under oath. In the end the impeachment failed.

In the last period, after the affair, he tells again about what bills he signed, and where he flew to, to go on vacation.

With the end of the presidency, the book ended also.

chapter twenty until twenty-eight

January 9, 2010

Bill’s Governorship

After graduating from Yale Law School, Clinton returned to Arkansas and became a professor at the University of Arkansas. A year later, he ran for the House of Representatives in 1974. The incumbent, John Paul Hammerschmidt, defeated Clinton by a 52% to 48% margin. Without opposition in the general election, Clinton was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976.

Clinton was elected Governor of Arkansas in 1978, having defeated the Republican candidate Lynn Lowe, a farmer from Texarkana. He became the youngest governor in the country at age thirty-two. He worked on educational reform and Arkansas’s roads, with wife Hillary leading a successful committee on urban health care reform. However, his term included an unpopular motor vehicle tax and citizens’ anger over the escape of Cuban refugees detained in Fort Chaffee in 1980. Monroe Schwarzlose of Kingsland in Cleveland County, polled 31% of the vote against Clinton in the Democratic gubernatorial primary of 1980. Some suggested Schwarzlose’s unexpected voter turnout foreshadowed Clinton’s defeat in the general election that year by Republican challenger Frank D. White. Clinton joked about, that he was the youngest EX-GOVERNOR in the nations history 😀

Clinton joined friend’s Bruce Lindsey‘s law firm of Wright, Lindsey and Jennings, though he spent most of the next two years working on his re-election campaign. Clinton was again elected governor and kept his job for ten years.

Clinton made economic growth, job creation and educational improvement high priorities. For senior citizens, he removed the sales tax from medications and increased the home property tax exemption.
In the early 1980s, Clinton made reform of the Arkansas education system a top priority. The Arkansas Education Standards Committee, chaired by Clinton’s wife, attorney and Legal Services Corporation chair Hillary Rodham Clinton, succeeded in reforming the education system, transforming it from the worst in the nation, into one of the best. This has been considered by many the greatest achievement of the Clinton governorship. Clinton and the committee were responsible for state educational improvement programs, notably more spending for schools, rising opportunities for gifted children, an increase in vocational education, raising of teachers’ salaries, inclusion of a wider variety of courses, and mandatory teacher testing for aspiring educators.

The Clinton’s personal and business affairs during the 1980s included transactions which became the basis of the Whitewater investigation, which dogged his later presidential administration. After extensive investigation over several years, no indictments were made against the Clintons related to the years in Arkansas.

He defeated a total of four Republican candidates for governor, Lowe (1978), White (1982 and 1986), and businessmen Woody Freeman of Jonesboro (1984) and Sheffield Nelson of Little Rock (1990).

Campaign for presidency in 1992

Due to his youthful appearance he was often called the “Boy Governor”. In the first contest, the Iowa caucus, he finished a very distant third to Iowa Senator Tom Harkin. During the campaign for the New Hampshire Primary reports of an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers surfaced. As Clinton fell far behind former Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas in the New Hampshire polls, following the Super Bowl, Clinton and his wife Hillary went on 60 Minutes to refute the charges. Their television appearance was a calculated risk but Clinton regained several delegates. He finished second to Tsongas in the New Hampshire primary, but after trailing badly in the polls and coming within single digits of winning, the media viewed it as a victory. On election night, Clinton labeled himself “The Comeback Kid”, earning a firm second place finish.

Winning the big prizes of Florida and Texas and many of the Southern primaries gave Clinton a sizable delegate lead. However, former California Governor Jerry Brown was scoring victories and Clinton had yet to win a significant contest outside of his native South.

With no major Southern state remaining, Clinton targeted the New York primary, which contained a large number of delegates. He scored a resounding victory in New York City, shedding his image as a regional candidate. Having been transformed into the consensus candidate, he secured the Democratic Party nomination, finishing with a victory in Jerry Brown’s home state of California.

Clinton won the 1992 presidential election (43.0% of the vote) against Republican incumbent George H. W. Bush (37.4% of the vote) and billionaire populist Ross Perot, who ran as an independent (18.9% of the vote) on a platform focusing on domestic issues; a significant part of Clinton’s success was Bush’s steep decline in public approval. Because Bush’s approval ratings were in the 80% range during the Gulf War, he was described as unbeatable. However, when Bush compromised with Democrats in an attempt to lower Federal deficits, he reneged on his promise not to raise taxes, hurting his approval rating. Clinton repeatedly condemned Bush for making a promise he failed to keep.By election time, the economy was souring and Bush saw his approval rating plummet to slightly over 40%. Finally, conservatives were previously united by anti-communism, but with the end of the Cold War, the party lacked a uniting issue. When Pat Buchanan and Pat Robertson addressed Christian themes at the Republican National Convention, with Bush criticizing Democrats for omitting God from their platform, many moderates were alienated.Clinton then pointed to his moderate, “New Democrat” record as governor of Arkansas, though some on the more liberal side of the party remained suspicious. Many Democrats who supported Ronald Reagan and Bush in previous elections switched their allegiance to Clinton.

His election ended twelve years of Republican rule of the White House, and twenty of the previous twenty-four years. The election gave Democrats full control of the United States Congress. It was the first time this had occurred since the Jimmy Carter presidency in the late 1970s, which Clinton was very proud of.

However, during the campaign questions of conflict of interest regarding state business and the politically powerful Rose Law Firm, at which Hillary was a partner, arose. Clinton maintained questions were moot because all transactions with the state were deducted prior to determining Hillary’s firm pay.Further concern arose when Bill Clinton announced that, with Hillary, voters would be getting two presidents “for the price of one”.

During this whole passage Clinton describes clearly his feelings and his motivation to his steps. Also the support he got from his wife Hilary and his daughter Chelsea, who gave him the force to do so.

I am also impressed by his „emotional“ writing style, which makes his conviction for getting president, more clearer. Especially, when he was informed, that he was going to bet he president of the United States in 1992. I had the feeling, that I can see in Bill’s mind what was going in there, for example when the results of the votes in each state were announced. It is amazing to read how such a great persons thinks and what made him that way.

I try to get more information into each of the summaries, because of course Clinton didn’t mention any results or events, otherwise You and I don’t get how things have gone this far.

Hope you still enjoy reading =)

Sorry fort he elaborate writing, but 1008 pages are hard to summarize in a way, that you don’t sleep away while reading 😉

Prologue until chapter twenty

January 9, 2010

Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe, III, in Hope, Arkansas.His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr died in a car accident three months before Bill was born. Following his birth, in order to study nursing, his mother Virginia Dell Cassidy (1923–1994), traveled to New Orleans, leaving Bill in Hope with grandparents Eldridge and Edith Cassidy, who owned and operated a small grocery store. In 1950, Bill’s mother returned from nursing school and shortly thereafter married Roger Clinton, who together with his brother owned an car dealership in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The family moved to Hot Springs in 1950.

Although he assumed use of his stepfather’s surname, it was not until Billy (as he was known then) turned fourteen that he formally adopted the surname Clinton as a gesture toward his stepfather. Clinton says he remembers his stepfather as a gambler and an alcoholic who regularly abused his mother and, at times, his half-brother Roger, Jr. Clinton intervened multiple times with the threat of violence in order to protect them.

In Hot Springs, Clinton attended St. John’s Catholic Elementary School, Ramble Elementary School, and Hot Springs High School – where he was an active student leader, avid reader, and musician. He was in the chorus and played the tenor saxophone, winning first chair in the state band’s saxophone section. He briefly considered dedicating his life to music, but he noted in his biography:

Sometime in my sixteenth year I decided I wanted to be in public life as an elected official. I loved music and thought I could be very good, but I knew I would never be John Coltrane or Stan Getz. I was interested in medicine and thought I could be a fine doctor, but I knew I would never be Michael DeBakey. But I knew I could be great in public service.

In 1963, two influential moments in Clinton’s life contributed to his decision to become a public figure. One was his visit to the White House to meet President John F. Kennedy, as a Boys Nation senator. The other was listening to Martin Luther King’s 1963 I Have a Dream speech (he memorized Dr. King’s words).

With the aid of scholarships, Clinton attended the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., receiving a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree in 1968. He spent the summer of 1967, the summer before his senior year, working as an intern for Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright.

Upon graduation he won a Rhodes Scholarship to University College, Oxford where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, though as a result of switching programs and leaving early for Yale, he did not obtain a degree there. While at Oxford he also participated in Vietnam War protests, including organizing an October 1969 Moratorium event. In later life he admitted to smoking cannabis at the university, but famously claimed that he “never inhaled”, which I think is hilarious 😀

After Oxford, Clinton attended Yale Law School and obtained a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1973. While at Yale, he began dating law student Hillary Rodham, who was a year ahead of him. They married on October 11, 1975, and their only child, Chelsea, was born on February 27, 1980.

During Yale, Clinton took a job with the McGovern campaign and was assigned to lead McGovern’s effort in Texas. He spent considerable time in Dallas, Texas, at the McGovern campaign’s local headquarters on Lemmon Avenue where he had an office. There, Clinton worked with Ron Kirk, who was later elected mayor of Dallas twice, future governor of Texas Ann Richards, and then unknown television director (and future filmmaker) Steven Spielberg

Bill Clinton: My Life…a short overview

January 6, 2010

My Life, written by the former president of the United States Bill Clinton, is, like the title says, his own biography.

It was published in 2004, contains 1008 pages in 57 chapters, and Clinton earned with his autobiography at least 15 milion Dollars. Clinton himself spent over two and a half years writing and four months of research.

His editor Justin Cooper had gone over each page three to nine times until each of it was finished. Clinton had to research every fact which was missing, or might be interesting fort he reader. I think that is why the book contains that number of pages, so many pages…
Until today the book was sold nearly 3 milion times.

My Life covers chronologically the life of Bill Clinton. Starting with his childhood in Hope, Arkansas and the way over the governorship in Arkansas to the presidency of the United States. Along the book there are several anecdotes of Hilary Clinton of ordinary people with whom Bill had interacted with.


My Life by Bill Clinton

November 1, 2009