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Dick Morris' Clinton Book Is a Back-Stabbing Bio

Reported by Judy - August 11, 2005

The only way to mistake Dick Morris' Rewriting History for a balanced attempt at a biography of former first lady and now Senator Hillary Clinton would be to read Ed Klein’s hatchet-job The Truth About Hillary first. Then Morris' book might seem reasonable.

Rewriting History (New York: Regan Books 2004) purports to be a corrective to Clinton’s autobiography Living History. Morris attempts to make the case that Clinton has constructed a false image of herself as a wife, parent, and concerned citizen in order to cover up what Morris calls her "sinister" side.

Constructing an image is something all politicians do. Morris should know that. As a political consultant, he has helped many do it, including Bill Clinton both as governor of Arkansas and president of the United States. When Morris talks about Hillary Clinton's image, however, he does his best to make it sound like she is doing something evil. Morris consistently selects words with ominous connotations such as "chilling," "trickery," "hide," "secretiveness," "devious," "opportunist." No less than four of the nine chapters in the book begin with the phrase "Hiding Hillary" to underscore Morris point that Clinton cannot be trusted because she is deliberately hiding something about herself.

In Morris world, any trait that is laudatory in a man is a sign of evil in Clinton. Dedication to a cause? That's inflexibility in Clinton. Ambition? That's opportunistic in Clinton. A church-going Methodist with strong values? Make that "moralistic" for Clinton. Management skill? Clinton has it but hides it deliberately.

No matter what she does, Clinton cannot win. Did she make a mistake? It was because she rejected Morris advice. Did she want to follow Morris advice to run negative ads in one of Bill Clinton's Arkansas gubernatorial race? Yes, and that proves she's a wily politician and who likes a wily politician?

Morris' criticisms of Clinton range from the petty to the outrageous. He criticizes her "ever-changing hairdos" (p.11). Good grief! In the 21st century, who cares how a woman politician wears her hair? More seriously, Morris implies that Clinton is capable of murdering anyone who crosses her, saying once (p. 229) that none of her close friends discusses Clinton’s private life "and still lives" and (p. 230) that if someone did speak of it without authorization "she'd be floating, figuratively, face down in the Hudson River." For conservative cognoscenti, this is a reference to the ridiculous and totally unfounded assertion that Clinton murdered former White House counsel Vince Foster and then dumped his body in a Washington, D.C., park.

For proof that Clinton is hiding part of her life, Morris relies on secret meetings he had with both Clintons while serving as a political consultant. To hear Morris tell it, he was present at every significant moment in Senator Clinton's life and every one of them should have been included in her autobiography. The fact that she omitted these key turning points, conveniently witnessed by Dick Morris, proves she is out to hide something, he argues. Morris obviously has an overly inflated sense of his own importance to the Clintons.

Furthermore, in discussing these private meetings with the Clintons, Morris uses direct quotations. Aren't we lucky that he has a perfect memory that can accurately recall quotes from years ago that support his version of events?

As an author for Regan Books, Morris relies on the tried-and-true writing techniques of other right-wing authors. He leaves out information that would put Clinton's actions in context with what other politicians do. She had a "fanatical need for secrecy," but her fight to keep the health care task force meetings secret is not weighed against Dick Cheney's fight to keep secret his energy task force meetings. She had the "audacity" to run for senator in New York, but that is not weighed against Robert Kennedy's candidacy from that state. He talks on and on about the Clintons' marriage as a sham, but when it comes to Rudy Giuliani, he only has a "bad marriage." Morris-the-toe-sucker does not describe his own marriage to Eileen McGann, his co-author and wife, but perhaps "sham" would be appropriate there, as well.

Like other right-wing authors, Morris selects supportive quotations from other right-wing sources such as Fox News, Barbara Olson, Ann Coulter, and Joyce Milton.

Morris did say one thing I agree with. He faults Clinton for listening to experts too much while developing her health care proposal, and asks, "Has Hillary learned to distrust gurus?" I hope she has, especially ones who suck people's toes, take their money, and then stab them in the back with a book like this one.

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