Sheehy’s Choice

New Bio of Hillary Clinton Bends the Facts

On pages 32 through 35 of No One Left to Lie To, Hitchens allegedly implies that the Fanjuls belong to "the Mob." The offending passage goes something like this: As part of his triangulation method, Clinton panders to the interests of both "populism" and "the elite." For example, in 1992, Clinton made promises to the left, even as he pocketed checks from Jorge Mas Canosa and Alfonso Fanjul. Hitchens telegraphs his problems with these controversial men; their foibles are chronicled in detailed exposés that appeared in The New York Times, July 1998, and Time, November 1998, respectively.

After the 1993 inauguration, Hitchens suggests, the president sold out the little people. Driving home the triangulation conceit, he writes that "in Florida at least, Clinton had turned to The Mob rather than the mob. To the former constituency, at least, he kept his promise. Within weeks [of the inauguration], Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt arranged a sweetheart deal on the Everglades with the Fanjul family."

Of course, a literary person would read the "Mob" reference as a pun, but some people have no imagination. Indeed, before his death in 1997, Jorge Mas Canosa successfully sued The New Republic over a headline that called him a "mobster." And the Fanjuls seem to admire his strategy: Klock calls Hitchens's "Mob" reference "absurd," adding that the Fanjuls have "never been involved in a touch of scandal" and never received a "quid pro quo" for a campaign donation. "In Mr. Hitchens's mind," he says, "the turn of phrase is more important than truth."

Hitchens and Verso managing director Colin Robinson declined to comment.

ccotts@villagevoice.com

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