The many controversies surrounding Bill Clinton and his detractors so rarely deviate from the talk of Democrats versus Republicans that the title of Christopher Hitchens' scrappy little anti-Clinton book is actually kind of misleading. After all, if No One Left To Lie To is a condemnation of Clinton's actions and statements (and the contradictions between the two), it must come from his vocal enemies on the Right, right? But No One Left To Lie To is more intriguing than that; it's a dense, tough, wordy, witty 104-page essay—in essence, a repackaged version of an extended piece in Vanity Fair—that relentlessly attacks Clinton from the Left. Hitchens, a Washington insider of sorts who regularly contributes to Vanity Fair and The Nation, starts out on somewhat shaky ground, taking even especially salacious accusations at face value, speaking in vague terms, and glossing over the misdeeds and motives of Clinton's political enemies while calling his apologists names. But about midway through, No One Left To Lie To gels into a thought-provoking condemnation of a president whose "triangulations"—calculated attempts to have his politics both ways by finding middle ground between Left and Right, truth and lies, and elitism and populism—have had a profound impact on world affairs, the people's trust, and the everyday lives of underprivileged Americans. Hitchens is extremely idealistic, dismissing with disgust the pragmatic if cynical notion of Clinton as the lesser of two evils, and perhaps consequently, he doesn't even hint at a solution to the problems he illustrates. But he ultimately does an excellent and revelatory job of not only breaking down Clinton's various alleged and provable offenses (perjury, sexual harassment, rape, blackmail, racism, legislative attacks on welfare recipients, literal attacks on politically expedient targets at politically expedient times) but tying them together, making a case for how his much-discussed character flaws actually affect his ability to serve the people. At once illuminating and depressing, No One Left To Lie To may be little more than a 104-page slam book, but it ultimately provides a rare, important, and eye-opening perspective on Clinton's fascinating and unique legacy.
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