|Cover of Hillary Clinton's memoir. (Is that a smirk?)|
I didn't know much about the book except that Sec. Clinton had received a whopping book advance, put at $14 million by industry insiders. I knew she'd just gotten in trouble for telling ABC's Diane Sawyer, "'We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt. We had no money when we got there..." In covering that gaffe, The Daily Mail summarized the mega-millions The Clintons made on speeches, drolly observing, "a sizable portion of that money has come from the same financial institutions and 1 percent of society that many progressives claim to loathe."
|Hillary Clinton bemoaning her finances to Diane Sawyer|
After the most devastating, embarrassing betrayal suffered by perhaps any wife in American history, Hillary faced the epitome of hard choices. The consensus among my friends, for the most part educated working women, was that she should dump the jerk. As story after story of Bill's infidelity mounted, leaving her the chump, we sympathized. And then she capitulated, saying she loved him, and we were puzzled.
In a phenomenal comeback (that might have inspired her aide Huma Abedin when husband Anthony Weiner made his surname snicker-worthy), Hillary squared her shoulders and soldiered on. It is a rare spurned wife who goes on to become Secretary of State. Her lack of progress on critical foreign issues--Israel/Palestinian discord, Iranian nuclear armament, North Korean and Chinese relations--was rendered nearly benign by the colossal failure in the 2012 attack on the Libyan embassy in Benghazi.
When I got my hands on Hard Choices, my first move was to scan the index for the word "Lewinsky." Not there. Then it occurred to me that this wasn't a personal story; it was her Linked-In page with a $14 million bonus. As Hillary readies her presidential campaign, this book is her calling card. Democrats and feminists will display it on their shelves and coffee tables as code proving their political correctness. This is the way Mrs. Clinton shows she's serious, thoughtful and equipped to act on the international stage. It gives her gravitas; it demonstrates she's got the strength of a man, but can wink to the ladies and admit her favorite proposed title was "The Scrunchie Chronicles: 112 Countries and It's Still All About My Hair."
|Pres. Clinton thanks Dem House members for not impeaching him, 1998|
I only skimmed the book, but of course had to read the ending. Here Hillary offers a dubious cliff-hanger, saying she hasn't decided whether to run for President--while alluding to "the tug of my 'service gene', that voice telling me there is no higher calling or more noble purpose than serving your country." No one thinks this book would be published now if she weren't running for office.
I've read two reviews of the memoir, and so, like most others who will display Hillary's smirking book-jacket photo on their coffee tables without consuming the inside pages, I can converse knowingly about the topic of the day. I don't think she's the best person to lead our country, with her creepy husband as our First Dude, but I retain compassion for her, not because of the hard choices she confronted while in a position of great power, but for the hardest choice she made, in the most tender corner of her soul, about fifteen years ago when women everywhere truly felt her pain.