Trading Places

Stephanopoulos rejects it, but he is nearly silent on the venality of Morris's million-dollar offer (had it been proffered, it might well have been illegal). To anyone but Stephanopoulos the question arises: who on the '96 campaign did get a million- dollar cut of Clinton's ad buys? And who in the White House besides Stephanopoulos was aware of it? Probably the most revealing portions of All Too Human are the points where Stephanopoulos discusses his psychological stress and the ways he tried to address it, which included a prescription for the antidepressant Zoloft. Clearly a psychopharmacological history of the modern White House is long overdue. Whether it's Bud McFarlane trying to kill himself with a fistful of Valium, George Bush puking up a Halcion tab into the lap of the Japanese prime minister, or Stephanopoulos trying to stop the screeching in his head, Washington is one big candy store. It's striking how much time the contemporary campaign spends examining what a candidate has done with his penis, and how little examining what he does with the mind.

Details

No One Left To Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton
By Christopher Hitchens
Verso, 122 pp., $19
Buy this book

All Too Human: A Political Education
By George Stephanopoulos
Little, Brown, 456 pp., $27.95
Buy this book

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Hitchens is less forthcoming about his stress relief techniques, but he writes as if a public beheading of Clinton might do the trick. His indictment is convincing, but also emits a tragic hopelessness. Hitchens takes great swipes at JFK and could hardly have been a fan of Jimmy Carter, and so a left-symp reader is stuck wondering what possible alternatives exist. At one time, Hitchens's answer might have been socialism (little in evidence here), at others, the retreat into literary irony. While it's probably impossible for Hitchens to completely lose his ironic capacity, his indelicate dance with Sidney Blumenthal has clearly damaged him. He has more than earned the last word: "The consequences in my own life have made a literal truth out of what I had once written only metaphorically: Clintonism poisons everything it touches."

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