This was an eye-opening read to say the least. Even I, a proud member of the "right-wing conspiracy," was shocked by some of the things I learned about the junior senator from New York in this book. For one thing, Hillary was actually a Goldwater Republican in her youth. Another shocking disclosure is the fact that Hillary disdained shaving and using deodorant until she became the First Lady of Arkansas. I don't remember seeing any pictures of Hillary in her youth before, and now I know why. She apparently embraced the hippie culture of the time wholeheartedly. One thing the book did not completely clear up in my mind is the reason Hillary became so very radical so quickly. Clearly, she always had a plan to be a powerful political leader. I have often thought both she and her husband had no real political philosophy of their own, that they studied the political winds and grafted themselves to whatever issues seemed to be important to the voters. Barbara Olson shows us clearly that Hillary certainly has a political mindset upon which she acts; Hillary Clinton is not just a liberal, she is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist. This comes across most clearly in Hillary's passion for children's rights, a subject she has written much about. What comes through loud and clear is the fact that she thinks the government should oversee childrearing in this country, that families just don't know how to raise their children, and thus the government must step in to do their jobs for them. I had no idea just how radical her views on this subject were.
I won't take the time to mention all of the troubling things Hillary has done in her life. Suffice it to say that Olson clearly shows Hillary's involvement in Travelgate, Filegate, Whitewater, and all the other well-known scandals. Overall, Hillary is shown to be a liar, a cheat, a foul-mouthed despot, and, indeed, a criminal. Olson shows that Hillary knew all along about her husband's serial womanizing, even searching his desk for women's phone numbers when he was just starting out in politics, and that she accepted the fact, knowing that he was her ticket to political power. It may well be that even she was surprised by the Lewinsky story, but the humiliation and betrayal she should have felt was subsumed by her drive for power; that is why she was first in line to defend her husband. This book shows Hillary to be the driving force behind Bill Clinton's entire career. While he tends to wallow in self-pity when he gets caught red-handed, Hillary refuses to let him sabotage her own political ambitions. Olson shows that Bill Clinton to a large degree owes his political success to his wife. That is why it is a marriage of convenience and, in the terms in which Hillary views the relationship, it is a very successful marriage.
Overall, I felt this book was actually quite objective. You should not curse the writer for writing "bad" things about a person when the facts she presents are all too true. This is a political biography, not a politicized hatchet job, although Olson obviously disapproves strongly of her chosen subject. In terms of the restraint Barbara Olson showed, I must point out that she made no conjectures about the truly mysterious circumstances around Vince Foster's death. She did not devote a lot of time to the Monica Lewinsky story or delve gleefully into all of its lurid details. She did not come out and say, "Look, this woman wants to be President, and we just can't let that happen." She penetrated the mask of Hillary Clinton and let Hillary's own words and deeds tell the story. Hillary has the right to think whatever she wants, but the American people have the right to know exactly what her true agenda is if she is going to pursue a political future. Thanks to Barbara Olson, who was taken from us much too soon, we can all know a lot more about that agenda.