Skip to comments.Secretive, lying, angry, abused: Clinton's DIY psychoanalysis for the baby boomers
Posted on 06/20/2004 11:21:40 PM PDT by MadIvan
In a sprawling, 957-page autobiography to be released today, Bill Clinton blames his worst failures - including his affair with Monica Lewinsky - on a split personality and a genius for lying developed during an abusive childhood.
With more than two million copies reserved at booksellers before its release at midnight tonight, My Life looks certain to become the most widely read work of DIY psychoanalysis in history.
In memoirs that manage to be in turn candid and evasive, Mr Clinton outlines the theory that he has always lived "parallel" lives.
There are nearly 100 pages on his childhood in the poor, southern state of Arkansas. He writes movingly about hiding deep anger and fear of his drunken, violent stepfather behind a facade of sunny, cocky charm.
In an interview with Time magazine to be published today, Mr Clinton explains that, while writing the book, he finally realised that his early life "required me to be a secret-keeper".
"The problem with having one part of your life walled off from the other is trying to decide what belongs behind the wall. It gets bizarre," he says. "The flip side of having lived parallel lives is that I was good at it."
He says of the impeachment crisis: "People have a hard time believing that I could go to work and concentrate on my job, but I've been doing it ever since I was a little boy."
The New York Times published a devastating first review on its front page. The book was "sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull".
It went on: "In many ways, the book is a mirror of Mr Clinton's presidency: lack of discipline leading to squandered opportunities; high expectations, undermined by self-indulgence and scattered concentration."
When describing his childhood, Mr Clinton is unsparing about being "fat, uncool and hardly popular with girls" - so fat, indeed, that he was the only child not to get an egg at an Easter egg hunt, because he was too slow.
He was dressed by his doting mother in annual Easter outfits. One year he was led to church clad in a pale shirt, white trousers, two-tone Hush Puppy shoes in black and pink and a pink suede belt.
He was so clumsy he broke his leg trying to jump a skipping rope wearing cowboy boots, and only managed to overcome his fears of riding a bicycle without stabilisers while at Oxford University.
Teased by a bully about his cheap blue jeans at a Friday night YMCA dance, he retorted wittily and was punched hard in the jaw.
Young Bill did not fall or run, and the surprised older boy told him he was "all right", teaching him a lesson about courage.
On that subject, he writes about his successful attempts to avoid being sent to fight in Vietnam and his doubt, at the time, whether his war aversion was "rooted in conviction or cowardice". He admits he still does not know the answer.
The dark horrors of his childhood - as he helplessly watched his stepfather beat his mother and one night drunkenly fire a gun into the wall - left him scarred for life by shame and fear and a struggle with secrecy, the former president asserts.
Seeing his stepfather angry, he came to associate the emotion with lost control. Later, he would find himself prone to self-destructive behaviour when tired, angry or feeling lonely.
Provocatively, Mr Clinton switches almost seamlessly between the rage he felt as he watched his mother beaten and the anger he felt during his impeachment as president, as the special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, investigated the Whitewater affair and other scandals and probed whether the president lied to Congress about his affair with Miss Lewinsky, a White House intern.
Mr Clinton was far angrier with Mr Starr than he let on in public, he explains, seeing the special prosecutor as the willing agent of the hardline Republican Right and his investigation as "a struggle for power". In the memoirs, he writes that during much of his time in the White House he was "seething inside" at Mr Starr.
"I hid it pretty good, didn't I? You didn't know. I mean, he bankrupted us. He ruined us financially," Mr Clinton says, referring to the huge legal bills with which he left office.
The advance on My Life was £5.4 million, so such worries are long behind him.
At the same time, he was fighting Republicans in Congress, led by the then speaker, Newt Gingrich.
"So I was involved in two great struggles at the same time: a great public struggle over the future of America with the Republican Congress, and a private struggle with my old demons. I won the public one, and lost the private one," he tells Time.
Unlike many presidential memoirs, Mr Clinton's appear to have been written by their subject. He proudly showed off piles of longhand notebooks in his study - a converted barn at his home in upstate New York - to interviewers last week.
And, like so much in his life, the writing proved to be an intensely personal experience, which he says everyone is now able to share, for better or worse.
He casts the impeachment fight and his battles with Mr Starr as a battle with "the forces of reaction" - Right-wingers determined to bring him down on technicalities because they could not defeat him at the ballot box.
Mr Clinton describes his impeachment fight as "my last great showdown with the forces I had opposed all my life" - offering a sweeping reference to conservatives who opposed civil rights and racial integration in the South, who fought feminism and gay rights and who wanted government to be the tool of special interests.
Despite the book's length, he skates over vast swaths of public policy, though he is careful to defend himself against Republican charges that he ignored the threat of terrorism and al-Qa'eda.
He describes briefing the incoming President George W Bush that al-Qa'eda would be the most dangerous threat he faced. Mr Bush did not respond, then changed the subject, he recalls, seeming to add his weight to charges that, before September 11, Mr Bush was not focused on terrorism.
Yet even as he records the policy debates in 1998, as he urged retaliatory strikes against Osama bin Laden for the bombings of US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, his own aides were warning him that a strike might be seen as a cheap PR stunt to distract attention from the Lewinsky scandal, which had just broken.
Mr Clinton asserts that in some ways, the Lewinsky scandal was "liberating" - that after two months sleeping on a White House sofa, banished by his wife, Hillary, a year of marital counselling and his acquittal of impeachment charges by the Senate, he felt finally free.
Ultimately, he seems unsure if the book is a political screed or a self-help book for fellow baby boomers struggling with guilt.
"I'm hoping that by writing this book, I'll make other people feel free to let go of their anger and resentment and not be afraid to admit what they've done wrong," Mr Clinton tells Time.
The book itself ends with a meditation on forgiveness, drawing on his many visits to black American churches, where funerals are referred to as "homecomings".
"We're all going home," he writes, "and I want to be ready."
It's an old joke that women hate:
Q.Why do old men heve sex with young girls?
A. Because they can.
Clinton remorsefully confesses:
"I had sex with Monica...................Because I could."
Oh how contrite Oh how contrite Oh how contrite
As always, it's all about him. Who cares that his adolescent libido threw this country into profound turmoil and that it likely prevented him from doing anything about UBL and the emerging threat of islamofascist terrorism. None of that matters, becuase IT'S ALL ABOUT BILL!
I wish to God that this man would stand over my compost pit and spew his memoirs...
Bill Clinton is a narcisisstic personality disorder. Note I didn't say he HAS a narcisisstic personality disorder...he IS a narcisisstic personality disorder. He has no soul, and views the entire world as an extension of himself.
I really feel for the poor copy editor who got assigned this book and the secretary who had to transcribe those notebooks. If it's this bad now, it must have been even worse in its original form.
I have a feeling that not too many people will actually read it cover to cover.
"I hid it pretty good, didn't I?
Actually, you didn't Bill. You're a posterchild for someone who has no boundaries, found in the abused and neglected.
Bubba, I don't think they make fire retardant that strong.
I mean, this is the guy who was so worried about his "Legacy"... and it didn't occur to him that whimpering about his childhood is probably not going to improve his condition in the history books very much?
Book Summary: Pigs have brains. They just love to wallow in the mud though. They can't help it. This pig likes cigars!
He didn't hide it at all and if he was bankrupted, how could they afford the mansion in NY?
Notice Mr. Clinton's disfunctional childhood experiences regarding his mother and stepfather. He does not often tell the rest of the story (about his mother). It has to do with why he married a woman like Hillary.
It also has to do with why there are fathers' groups like Fathers 4 Justice and others here, in the USA. Our US Congress helped Hillary and her friends to pass unconstitutional laws that imprison fathers for no more than false accusations without evidence and debts that some of them can't pay. No-fault divorce is wrecking western culture, and most people don't realize what we're missing.
It's a wonder that US fathers kill themselves so often instead of reacting in the least, the way Fathers 4 Justice has (re. the "Spider Man" events, etc.).
Uhhhh...those were the Democrats. They were 'conservative' in the sense that they were trying to conserve the status quo, I suppose, but they weren't Republicans.
Wrong, Clinton was impeached.
The Senate did not remove him from office.
I tend to take his self-analysis seriously. I wonder myself how the boomer generation was so dysfunctional that they elected him to office for a second term. This opinion shows my age, and subjects me to the criticism of the boomers, but there is something wrong. This is not the knowledgeable country that it once was.
That barn was converted to house the men assigned to protect him. The Government (you/I) is charged a rental fee that (coincidentally, I am so sure) mirrors the monthly house note . Now he reveals the existance of a private study in that barn. In other words, you and I are (still), more than likely, paying to house this freeloading piece of excrimate .
Good grief, I couldn't write 10 pages on my childhood . . . double-spaced, 18 font!
It is likely that Alois was violent to the mother and child, especially after his regular sessions down the local tavern, to the extent that Alois once feared that he had killed the boy. His mother, on the other hand,appears to have spoilt Adolph rotten and been incapable of disciplining him. What today would be regarded as a typical dysfunctional family.
Hitler is known to have delighted in shooting rats from his pre-teens. He is recorded as thrashing a dog in order to impress a girl friend in 1926. He revelled in the nickname wolf. He was renowned for his rages and his dogmatism.
If the father of Alois was Johann Nepomuk Hüttler, Alois had married his niece, for Klara was the grand-daughter of Hüttler. This would have given Adolph his grandfather on his fathers side and his great-grandfather on his mothers side as one and the same person, i.e. Johann Nepomuk Hüttler.
Later Adolph in turn shacked up with his own niece, Geli Raubal. If they had produced a child, it is possible their progeny would have ended up with the same grandfather and great-grandfather in Alois Schicklgruber-Hitler and the same grandfather, great-grandfather and great great-grandfather in Johann Nepomuk Hüttler.
It is feasible that Adolph ended up murdering Geli, although it is usually reported as a suicide.
There is a considerable pseudo-Freudian literature attempting to link Hitlers behaviour to a variety of unsupported sexual oddities. I regard it as scatological rather than useful. Hitler seems to have been comfortable with two categories of female relationships: motherly figures and girly young things. The Hanfstaengl family were one of several upper middle-class families who took Adolph under their wing. When Hitler tried it on with the wife, she told her rather wet husband not to worry, believe me, he is an absolute neuter, not a man. His relationships with the younger females were rather similar to his relationships with dogs: play with them til he got bored. In other words, Hitler never really grew up.
Exactly! When do you ever heard how it was the Democrats who opposed civil rights in the South? And I wonder how civil rights supporters of the time would feel to know that Clinton sees his defense of sleazy sexual escapades by lying under oath as part of their struggle? I also find it ironic... you still read about the corrupt court proceedings related to civil rights abuses... and yet Bill Clinton sees his lying under oath as defensible? The racists who lied under oath or otherwise corrupted the proceedings of law due to their racism probably thought they were right to do so, too....
Not all boomers are self-indulgent sociopaths.
Beyond that...I suspect we had a President who had way too many issues to be considered responsible for himself--much less have his finger on the nuke button.
they suckered their hollywood friends into buying it. Here is a little tidbit, they charge the secret service rent so they don't even pay the mortgage- what slimey lawyers.
Your vegetables would be deformed what a way to ruin a fine garden.I just wish he would go away
I warned of that in my post. The significance is that the boomer generation has not had the experience that us older folks have had. The newby generation is unusual in that homosexuality, abortion, marriage between same gender, etc. was not a problem until the enlightened boomers came along. I appreciate your desire not to discuss it and go to another thread but I feel that I still have the benefit of free speech which has also been curtailed by later times. Sorry about offending you but the issue needs discussing if nothing else.
The NY media reports that he is catting around with every whore in town so nothing's changed. They say they don't report his antics because he's not president anymore.
The New York Times thought it was dull - and they're supposed to be his friends.
I can't believe that white trash got elected twice.
What does it say about Mr. Kaye who got Monica the job in the first place, then continued to support clinton. He had a fundraiser for hitlery in his own home following the impeachment.
What does it say about Monica's father stating on Larry King that he still supports Klinton because he's good for Israel.
It would seem that psychopaths attract like people to their side.
And I include Lanny Davis in that number.
On the contrary, anyone with a brain could see that Clinton hated Starr violently. His minions took Starr apart, piece by piece, even as Clinton ran around the country "apologizing." Mr Clinton describes his impeachment fight as "my last great showdown with the forces I had opposed all my life" - offering a sweeping reference to conservatives who opposed civil rights and racial integration in the South, who fought feminism and gay rights and who wanted government to be the tool of special interests.
If accurate, this may be the most offensive passage of all. Clinton actually believes that by avoiding impeachment he was striking a blow for racial equality and acceptance of gays! Give me a break! We opposed him because he perverted the office, chased women, and most of all lied to a grand jury! The non-rich and non-powerful go to jail for that, Mr. Clinton!
Surely, somewhere in there is plenty of room to properly explain something about Charlie Trie, Johnny Chung, Mochtar Riady, Wen Ho Lee, our entire missing crown jewel nuclear secrets and missile warhead designs from Los Alamos which mysteriously went to the Communist Chinese, and the stashes of PLA money transfers, isn't there?
Post 26 was fascinating. Where did you find that? I would like to read more.
"my last great showdown with the forces I had opposed all my life" Yea - like honesty, truth, integrity and selfless service.
Compartmentalizing aside - one can't be both selfish and selfless. He is saying that he was able to feel two emotions at one time. Hate and Love - anger and compassion. That is nonsense. Even mulitiple personality disorders show themselves one at a time. Never together -
Try thinking of two emotions at the very same time - impossible.
My life is Bill's way of trying to show that he was always truthful. When he said he never had sex with that woman - he was telling the truth, when he said he had sex with that woman, he was telling the truth. It just depends on who he was when he was asked that question - and which part of his life was compartmentalized.
I knew that sounded familiar! You can be assured that Bill Clintoon heard that Live Doors album when it originally came out. He's 100% blatantly ripping off/thieving A Jim Morrison line of poetry from "The Celebration Of The Lizard, off one of The Doors Live Albums, I just thought the world should know!
It's from a section (rather ironically I might add) called:
"The Palace Of Exile"
For seven years I dwelt in the loose palace of exile
Playing strange games with the girls of the island
Now I have come again to the land of the fair And the strong and the wise
Brothers and sisters of the pale forest
Children of night
Who among you will run with the hunt?
Now Night arrives with here purple legion
Retire now to your tents and to your dreams
Tomorrow we enter the town of my birth
I want to be ready
Poor Bill, still lacking of any original thinking what-so-ever.(SLAP!)
The only thing original about Billy is the facility with which he lies.