Tuesday, July 22, 2008
A book to be read with a critical eye, Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton is a chilling commentary of what might have happened within the Clinton White House and why Hillary Clinton isn't the best candidate for women.
A Democratic activist, Kathleen Willey helped Bill and Hillary Clinton make it into the White House in 1992. When her family got into trouble, she turned to Bill Clinton for help and ended up a victim of assault. Target shares the story of the events leading up to her assault in the Oval Office and how the Clinton machine came after her to insure her silence.
I approached Target with enthusiasm. My interest in politics coupled with what I had already heard about Kathleen Willey made me jump at the chance to review this book.
Willey interviewed several people for Target and included references from other books about the Clintons: David Shippers, Joyce Milton, Dick Morris, Carl Bernstein, Jared Stern, and many others were cited. This thorough research, however, is not enough to make this reader say she enjoyed the book. If the entire account had been as strong and well written as the final chapter, my opinion would have been different. It wasn't, so therefore I cannot get by some of the issues I saw as I read.
The writing is passive with many instances of "was" and "were". In addition, the effectiveness of Willey's arguments are lessened by the qualifier, "I think" through much of the book.
In the Introduction and in the portion of text which discusses the assault in the Oval Office, Willey retells how Clinton's frantic aide is outside the door banging and yelling because Clinton is late for an important meeting. She says, "I realize why they don't come in. They've been told to stay out." (Page 5). Mere assumption, and not the only case.
Willey is not kind to many of the people she came in contact with during her years in the White House, but is appalled at how members of the Clinton machine and the press assault women who they chose to discredit.
* "Ann Stock had no sense of decorum or good taste, which was typical of the Clinton White House." (Page 43)
* "Julie always had frizzy blonde hair that was so big it almost looked like an afro. She had no sense of style or makeup, so she always wore bright purple blush. She looked like Clarabelle." (Page 183)
* Speaking of Linda Tripp - "The press was brutal to her, just brutual...The press made fun of everything, from her hair to her clothes to her nose. Nothing was off limits." (Page 129)
* "...the Clintonistas quickly dispatched each accusation, saying Paula Jones was 'white trash after cash' and making Gennifer Flowers out to be a promiscuous lounge singer." (Page 97)
On Page 58, Willey says she cannot for the life of her remember what she wore the day she was assaulted in the Oval Office, but in the Introduction and on Page 61 she says that Clinton put his hands up her skirt and over her blouse. And on more than one occasion, Willey paints herself as a "quintessential soccer mom", but how many soccer moms work in the White House and are married to a lawyer who is the son of a famous senator?
These criticisms and others not mentioned put the credibilty of portions of Willey's account under scrutiny.
What Willey did exceptionally well is explain why the Clintons should not return to the White House, supporting her opinions with extensive documentation. Here are some excerpts from Chapter 10:
* Speaking of Hillary's presidental campaign - "They don't want us to remember that he is her spouse...who will help make decisions from a nearby desk...If Hillary wins the presidency, we will get them both...Just as he needed her to put out his fires, she needs his influence and his political wisdom. He will be there as her partner, and still, as a predator." (Page 225)
* " Hillary is no feminist, no champion for women, no advocate for women. She is an advocate for one woman: Hillary Clinton." (Page 229)
* "Thanks to the Clintons, leaders like Gloria Steinem and Patricia Ireland lost all credibility on sexual harrassment, sexual abuse, assault, even domestic abuse...the feminists no longer have the authority to address these issues." (Page 237)
Overall, I don't believe Target will persuade anyone to change directions when it comes to the Clintons. Conservative readers will enjoy Willey substantiating what they believe and liberal readers will decry this as a pack of lies. In the end, however, no matter which side of the political spectrum you fall in, the questions still remain of what really happened in the Clinton White House.
Title: Target: Caught in the Crosshairs of Bill and Hillary Clinton
Author: Kathleen Willey
Publisher: World Ahead Publishing, Inc.
U.S. Price: $25.95