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For Love of Politics: Inside the Clinton White House Paperback – 1 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 578 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade; Reprint edition (1 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812973453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812973457
  • Product Dimensions: 15.4 x 3.5 x 23.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,057,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Insightful and Prescient Look at the Clinton Political Partnership 12 May 2008
By Anonymous Reader - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sally Bedell Smith's For the Love of Politics makes for insightful and prescient reading for those seeking to understand Hillary Clinton's 2007-2008 presidential campaign and to anticipate the possibility of a Hillary Clinton-led White House.

Bedell Smith ably chronicles the eight years of Bill Clinton's presidency, making a compelling case that Hillary Clinton played a strong and ongoing role in her husband's policymaking. While Hillary Clinton's involvement in West Wing events appears to have ranged from overt (during the first two years of Bill Clinton's presidency) to covert (particularly during the 1995-96 re-election bid), Hillary Clinton appears to have been a prominent influence in her husband's presidential decision-making process. Bedell Smith's account also suggests that Hillary Clinton, as First Lady, was frequently more tough-minded and partisan than her husband, who was more likely to take a conciliatory stance toward his opponents. At the same time, Bedell Smith's reporting indicates that the Clintons' relationship is centered on the political process and on policymaking and concludes that a Hillary Clinton presidency would be shaped by both Clintons, much as Bill Clinton's presidency was.

Especially interesting in Bedell Smith's account are foreshadowings of some of the events of Senator Clinton's Senate career and 2007-2008 campaign:
--Hillary Clinton's 2000 New York Senate campaign highlights Clinton's expertise on policy issues, a decision driven by polling results suggesting that the "personality negatives" perceived by voters can be overcome only by emphasizing her experience. The 2008 presidential campaign has been run on the same premise.
--Bill Clinton's attempts as president to dislodge Saddam Hussein from power foreshadow Hillary Clinton's 2002 support for the invasion of Iraq, and her reluctance to embrace an antiwar stance.
--A successful call for a gasoline tax during Bill Clinton's presidency foreshadows Hillary Clinton's embrace of this approach in the spring of 2008.
--The Clintons' single-minded commitment to Hillary's 2000 race for the Senate to the detriment of Al Gore's presidential candidacy has a similar flavor to the Clintons' pursuit of the 2008 presidential nomination at the possible expense of Democratic Party unity and victory in November 2008.

In sum, Bedell Smith describes a talented, flawed and hard-driving political couple whose personal and political ambitions are pursued at all costs. The sense of shared legacy looms large. Bedell Smith's narrative suggests shared disappointment at the lost opportunities of a Bill Clinton presidency undermined by a bitterly partisan political environment, GOP dominance in Congress, and the Lewinsky affair. The Clintons' mutual disappointment at the defeats suffered during Bill Clinton's White House years, the mutual desire for a second chance at the presidency, and the shared need to strengthen a fragile legacy appear to shape Hillary Clinton's tenacious 2008 run for the White House.

All told, Bedell Smith has created a fair, balanced and compelling look at the Clintons. For the Love of Politics should be required reading for those seeking to understand the Clintons' marital and political partnership.
4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
If You Thought You Wanted to Vote for Hillary . . . 5 Jun. 2008
By JBY - Published on
Format: Paperback
. . . read this book first! My interest was piqued when I saw a book review by the author on TV. Her research was extensive and carefully documented. She spoke to both Hillary's supporters and retractors and quoted both personal interviews and published reports. The book was both a page turner and a head shaker. If you want to find the epitome of the "snake oil salesman" look no further than Hillary and Bill! Sleazy backroom deals and downright dishonesty are all part of their political game.
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