In 1991, in the early days of his presidential run, then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton would occasionally cite and paraphrase from what was clearly his favorite new book: E.J. Dionne’s Why Americans Hate Politics. The book excoriated any number of politicos, but chiefly Republicans, for posing “false choices” to the American people—as in, you’re either pro-family or pro-government (as if there weren’t a raft of government programs to help families). Clinton wove these ideas into his stump speech, now and then taking care to attribute some of them to E.J.’s book. (E.J. is a close friend, so in this blog, he gets first-name treatment).
It’s 21 years later and Clinton’s doing it again. According to The Washington Post’s Al Kamen, Clinton was answering questions at a forum put on by his Clinton Global Initiative at the London School of Economics. He was asked by Ashley Judd (who, unlike the young Mick Jagger, is not actually a student at the LSE) what he was reading, and replied that he was reading E.J.’s new book, Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent. According to Kamen, Clinton then delivered this mini-review: “This is the best thing E.J. has written in 20 years—since Why Americans Hate Politics.”
I don’t always agree with our 42nd president, but this time, he and I are in perfect accord. E.J.’s new book is indeed his best since Why Americans, which means it’s pretty damned great.
You need to be logged in to comment.
(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)