Book Reviews   

 

The Final Days: The Last, Desperate
Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House 

By Barbara Olson  

Review by Richard Sheppard 

Barbara Olson, a conservative attorney who is married to the current Solicitor General of the United States, Ted Olson, died aboard the plane that hit the Pentagon on September 11.  The Final Days had just completed pre-printing work and was about to be published.  Ms. Olson’s friends and colleagues agreed that publishing the book would be the right thing to do.  It’s not too difficult to imagine what Bill & Hillary think about the publication of this book.  Well,“too bad” for them.

Leave it to others to argue about Bill Clinton, the man who called himself the “Bridge to the 21st Century.”  The certainty here is that he, along with his craven and despicably hypocritical wife, Hillary, were among the most scuzziest American politicians of all time.  Grifters of immense skill and latitude, the Clintons were everything they ponitficated against:  money-grubbing, luxury-living, morally decrepit shucksters who never let a twinge of guilt derail their greed and plunder.  The Clintons represent what is worst in American politics, a triumph of style over substance with substantial rewards for them, thank you.  Their wild success does not bode well going forward either.  The idea that Hillary might run (and win) in 2004 conjures a horrifying “bad sequel” vision which is all too horrifyingly possible.

"..Grifters of immense skill and latitude, the Clintons were everything they ponitficated against:  money-grubbing, luxury-living, morally decrepit shucksters who never let a twinge of guilt derail their greed and plunder. The Clintons represent what is worst in American politics, a triumph of style over substance with substantial rewards for them, thank you..."

In the meantime, Olson’s The Final Days serves as a useful reminder of the greedy-grubby “everything’s for sale” nature of not just Bill and Hillary, but their immediate siblings too: Bill’s jovially dirtbaggish brother Roger, and Hillary’s slovenly gluttonous brothers, Hugh and Tony.  Here we have an assortment of slimy trash that would challenge the largest, most industrially robust Hefty bag. 

Let’s put aside what the Clinton’s did during their “final days.”  Put aside the attempted theft of government-owned gifts, the galling last minute pardon-auction that freed the most unworthy criminals you might suppose, and Bill’s devilishly politically motivated last minute executive orders which kicked his successor GW Bush in the political nuts.  Ignore Bill’s carefully structured plea bargain that lifted the threat of jail if not the guilt from his existence.  Wave off Bill’s attempt to secure post-presidential office spaces with rent of over a million dollars a year, while Hillary’s Manhattan office space doubled the rent her senior New York Senatorial partner Chucky Schumer pays for his government-paid offices.

The thing that gnaws in your gut is the blithe way these charlatans went about gracelessly leaving the very office they so ambitiously sought, only to despoil.  Always, you hear Bill lecturing about “greed”; now he’s out of office, he’ll give you the same lecture for $100,000.  Always you hear Hillary talking about the “sacrifices” of public service as she passes over several worthy and waiting candidates to claim as her entitled prize a senate seat, immediately thereafter forming the largest campaign-donor operation in Congress.  She then signs an $8 million dollar book advance from a company that will surely have important business before the Senate.  What’s so bad about all that? 

Ultimately, Ms. Olson's The Final Days is primarily for Clinton detractors -- and they are seriously rabid detractors -- in that the story is a compact summing up of the completely in-character manner in which the Clinton's ended their eight years in the White House. For those who foresee the hallowed Hillary running for the Big Office in 2004, it will serve as a useful reminder of what the Clinton's brought to the White House on entering in 1993 (a keen sense of entitlement, righteousness, and con-rickery). And what they attempted to take from the White House when they left in 2001: everything that wasn't nailed down. History will demonstrate that Ms. Olson's appraisal of the Clinton's, as pointed and direct as it is, is way, way understated for the Clinton's story is still ongoing. And there is plenty of room left in the Clinton Hefty Bag already filled as it is with waste, bile, and storm-drain mire.