Campaign Books

A hilarious overview:

Like Castro, like Ceausescu, like many other politicians, Mrs. Clinton prefers to be photographed surrounded by schoolchildren, an image that suggests either a kid’s birthday party or a hostage situation, depending on your point of view. I got past the cover photo, with its army of youngsters and Mrs. Clinton’s mandible-cracking smile, to search through the actual text, in hopes of finding some mention of Barbara Feinman who, in addition to other professional accomplishments, wrote the book. A decade ago, when Village was first published, Feinman was much talked about for having gone unmentioned.

Shortly before the book came out, Mrs. Clinton boasted of having “written a 320-page book in longhand over the last six months.” This came as a surprise to her ghostwriter. Feinman had often worked late nights at the White House and even followed Mrs. Clinton on vacation in hope of picking up stray thoughts she could use to bulk up the manuscript, and she had been assured her role as ghost would be generously acknowledged. Yet when Village finally appeared there was no mention of Feinman either on the cover or in the Acknowledgments. News stories appeared detailing Feinman’s role, but White House spokesmen backed the first lady in her contention that the book was her work alone.

It became a minor controversy, stoked not only by Mrs. Clinton’s political adversaries but also by Feinman’s friends in the Washington press corps (she’s a former researcher for Bob Woodward). With Mrs. Clinton’s claims of sole authorship long ago disproved, I picked up this expanded edition of Village to see whether she had expanded it enough to make room for Barbara Feinman. Nope: Mrs. Clinton still believes that while it takes a village to raise a child, it takes nobody worth naming to write her book for her.

We are left, unhappily, with the book itself, turgid and sanctimonious. It remains what its author called it in a speech a few years ago: “At best a mediocre political tract on the virtues of governmental responsibility in the raising of children.” I’m quoting Barbara Feinman, of course, not Mrs. Clinton. Anyway, the episode is worth recalling, and Village is worth keeping at hand, as another instance of the creepy, and often self-defeating, pettiness that marks every phase of the Clintons’ public life.

But … but … she’s a woman!

His review of Huckabee’s book hits everything I dislike about the man.

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