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No One Left to Lie To: The Values of the Worst Family Paperback – Jul 17 2000

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 150 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; New edition edition (July 17 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859842844
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859842843
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.1 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (140 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #330,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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The most vocal critics of Bill Clinton's presidency tend to be conservatives--think, for example, of William J. Bennett's The Death of Outrage--but there are those on the Left who are fed up with Clinton as well. Among them is journalist Christopher Hitchens (most prominently associated with The Nation and Vanity Fair), who has produced a slim but vehement volume outlining how "Clinton's private vileness meshes exactly with his brutal and opportunistic public style." No One Left to Lie To is the story of a man who took the Democratic presidential nomination and, having achieved office, began enacting welfare reform and anticrime legislation that surpassed the ambitions of all but the most ideologically loyal Republicans--and routinely plundered the GOP platform for other policy ideas as well.

Hitchens is particularly damning on Clinton's tendency to resort to divisive racial politics when it suits his purposes, as when, in the course of the 1992 presidential campaign, he refused to lift a finger to save a mentally retarded African American from state execution so he could appear tough on crime, then shortly afterwards hijacked a Rainbow Coalition conference to criticize rap artist Sister Souljah for the benefit of the attendant press. When he needs the black vote, though, Clinton will allow himself to be trumpeted as the most racially sensitive president in American history--if not, in Toni Morrison's memorably ludicrous phrase, "our first black president." Furthermore, the man who once connived his way out of the draft has become a chief executive so willing to use military air strikes as a means of foreign policy that, in the author's view, the United States is now a "potential banana republic."

Of course, there is plenty of vitriol directed at Clinton's conduct with regard to Monica Lewinsky (the woman with whom he admitted, under duress, to having had an "inappropriate relationship" consisting of multiple incidences of oral sex) and Kathleen Willey (who alleges that the leader of the free world merely fondled her breasts and forced her to touch--albeit shielded under some layers of clothing--his tumescent penis). In Hitchens's view, however, the sexual controversies are only the most prominent aspect of Clinton's shameful character, a moral condition that must be considered in toto. The book is short, with an argument that runs only about a hundred pages, but that's still more than enough room for Hitchens to serve up a comprehensive, blistering indictment suffused throughout by his dark wit. He sums up the failure of those fixated on Clinton's adultery to fully investigate his cronyism and financial shenanigans: "It's not the lipstick traces, stupid," Hitchens warns, "it's the Revlon Connection." --Ron Hogan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“By far the best of all the books on the Clinton era.”—Edward Said, Al-Ahram Weekly

“Christopher Hitchens is a remarkable commentator. He jousts with fraudulence of every stripe and always wins. I regret he has only one life, one mind and one reputation to put at the service of my country.”—Joseph Heller

“If Christopher Hitchens is a Marxist, I want to be one, too.”—Florence King, National Review

“The smartest guy I’ve seen on TV ... the Rosetta Stone of scepticism ... the Mark McGwire of sceptics ... he makes me look like a cheerleader.”—Dennis Miller, Dennis Miller Live

“You don't buy Christopher Hitchens's new book because you want to find out whether Bill Clinton is really as terrible a liar as some people say he is. You buy it because you know he is a terrible liar, and the invitation to have a pungent fellow like Christopher Hitchens confirm every prejudice you ever had on the subject, plus a few you might not even have known you had, is an invitation you cannot resist.”—Louis Menand, New York Times Magazine

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Ingemi on Sept. 29 2003
Format: Hardcover
Chris Hitchens is not only a brilliant writer he is an incredibly honest one. You might disagree with his premise (The Missionary Position) or you might think he doesn't have enough evidence to support his final conclusion (The Trial of Henry Kissinger) but no honest reader can state that he does not come to these conclusions honestly and based on facts and his conclusions from them.
This book was his first step away from the left but as he would say in it, the left stepped away from its principles by supporting Clinton who used and abused those values which Hitchens believes in.
Reading this book years after all the hullabaloo has died down gives a great insight into the operation of the Clintons now and the position of Hitchens now. His basic theme is that Clinton husband and wife were both giving lip service to the left while giving actions to the right based on their own advancement.
He asks the question out loud stating bluntly why does the right hate Clinton so since he advanced so much of the agenda. I think it is precisely for the same reason why he did. He correctly points out that those in power on the right lets many things go due to either political fear or advantage, it is quite similar to the California situation today.
As always the book is short and interesting. Don't read it at bedtime. It is not long enough to convince you to put it down till tomorrow yet too full to finish quickly and absorb it all.
Read it before you read the other defenses and attacks on the Clintons. It is the straightest one of the batch.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JediMack on July 23 2003
Format: Paperback
Even before this book, Hitchens would appear on news panels representing the far left on PBS when Mc Neil was still on hand to present balance. I always enjoyed his comments as they combined left wing ideology, sarcasm, wit and humor. A sense of humor is sadly missing on the left. I have never seen a time when good people could be forced to drink the kool-aid for party over county.
I guess this is why Hitchens is a good lefty, but a really bad democrat. He probably voted green. Hitchens was not alone as a lefty who did not like the Clintons. The final straw must have been when Clinton bombed an aspirin factory 3 days after learning it was not a WMD plant, for the sole reason that he needed a distraction from the latest scandal.
The case is made here that all was politics for the Clintons and the word of Bill or Hillary meant nothing. The only abiding rule was, what will keep Bill in office and get Hillary elected after him.
This is not the best of the Clinton expose books, but it is a small contribution in our understanding of what has happened to the political party that I, now a recovering democrat, supported for 20 years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John on Dec 22 2002
Format: Hardcover
When Bill Clinton was President, people attacked him from both ends of the American political spectrum. The Right asserted that his policies were too liberal, citing his stance on issues such as national health-care and partial birth abortion, while the Left claimed the opposite, citing as examples his support of welfare reform and opposition to gay marriage. About Clinton's behavior--his frequent lying, his repeated adultery, his draft-dodging, and so on--the Right shouted in vain for eight years, with no consequences for the President's approval rating. When confronted with these issues, liberals and moderates usually either looked the other way or defended Clinton, fearing that anything short of full support could give credibility and maybe even the executive branch to the Republicans.
Christopher Hitchens, a man of the Left on most issues, was an exception. No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton is his 1999 attack not just on Clinton's policies but also his ethics. Hitchens blasts Clinton for enacting policies that are essentially Republican, such as "welfare reform," which stole from the Republicans a key election issue while stranding the liberals who had no alternative but to stick with the President. Clinton has such a conservative record, Hitchens says, that it's a mystery why so many people on the Right hate him as much as they do (81). The Democrats are used to dissent in their ranks about whether Clinton was liberal enough; after all, a significant number of Democrats in both houses of Congress voted against "welfare reform." But not a single Senate Democrat voted for Clinton's removal, and Hitchens objects strongly to this kind of unconditional Democratic/liberal support for Clinton's behavior.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Eugene A Jewett on Oct. 11 2002
Format: Paperback
This book is a literary Smackdown: Hitchens slams Clinton. But, oh what a job he does. With all the caustic wit of a writer stuck at an authors night show at the National Press Club, without a cigarette or a drink to tide him thru, Hitchens is fueled to boogie and he does. The interesting factor is that Chris is from the political Left, from the pages of "the Nation' (from which he has just departed) no less. His is by now a familiar Oddesy, the passage from the political Left toward the political Right i.e. Orwell, one which follows in the slipstream of truncated beliefs and failed logic. Emotionally traumatized by the shocks of recognition they can take the hypocrisy of the Left no longer and thus are driven by loony Leftism to the comparative sanity of reasonable conservatism. This is the legacy of Bill Clinton and Hitchens captures it perfectly.
In Hitchens case it's an intellectual Achilles tendon which after enduring hundreds of tiny tears over time, finally snaps. This is a priceless little book for he comes at Clinton as a firmly po'd Liberal, and for all the reasons that he should. Clinton's era ended with 9-11 which incidently has pushed Hitchens over the edge. But, for timeless mirth from a very witty and literary writer, this is a great book.
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