What is it about the Clintons that prompts supposedly cynical political reporters to use gauzy metaphors? In Sunday's Washington Post Book World, reporter Peter Baker reviewed Bill Clinton's book Giving by oozing about Bill and Hillary: "The notion of Bill Clinton taking on a secondary role as his wife leads a presidential campaign and, at least potentially, the country, has always been hard to imagine. For a man who has spent his life at the center of his own comet, it must be an enormous challenge to find the right place as another streaks toward the sun."
Maybe this is just another day at the office for a reporter who was so dazzled riding along with Hillary Clinton in Egypt in 1999 that he lamented she was settling for the Senate when people she met on her trip wanted her to be "Queen of the World."
Baker was cynical enough to note that this book has a political purpose and would not have a press run of 750,000 "if the name on the cover were John Smith," but he still puffs the idea of Bill as First Spouse, just before the dazzling-comets passage: "In Giving, readers and voters in effect get a preview of what a Bill Clinton-run East Wing might look like -- focused on fighting poverty, disease and climate change around the world and rallying the mighty and the meek to noble goals."
The picture matching the book review on page 7 is Clinton with little Rwandan children holding bunnies at an HIV/AIDS research center, and the headline is "His Changing World: Bill Clinton says he's switched from 'getting' to 'giving.'" At least as Baker explains that part of the book, he notes Clinton is still pretty good at getting, $46 million in speaking fees over the last six years.
PS: This issue of Book World has the words "The Fall Preview" on the cover, but the preview by Book World editor Maria Arana includes books coming out next year, often books you can imagine a liberal is looking forward to, such as:
Why Women Should Rule the World, by Dee Dee Myers (Harper, Feb.) Bill Clinton's press secretary talks up her muscle in Washington's corridors of power.