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My Life
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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 7. MY LIFE ~~ July 25th - July 31st ~~ Chapters EIGHTEEN, NINETEEN and TWENTY (202- 259); No Spoilers Please

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Bryan Craig Hello Everyone,

This is the Week Seven thread for the next Presidential Series selection (My Life).

For those of you still acquiring the book, be advised that some folks have run into the problem of the book being now divided into two volumes. We will be reading and discussing the entire work so you will need to get both volumes (Volume I and Volume II). For those of you like myself who have the original hardcopy, that will not be necessary because the hardcopy was just one big book.

The week's reading assignment is:

Week Seven - July 25th - July 31st -> Chapters EIGHTEEN, NINETEEN, and TWENTY p. 202 - 259


We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers. We will also open up supplemental threads as we did for other spotlighted books.

This book was kicked off on June 13th. We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

Since we just started this book on June 13th, there is still time remaining to obtain the book or both volumes and get started.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to begin reading this selection and/or to post.

Bryan Craig will be your moderator for this selection as he is our lead for all Presidential selections. We hope you enjoy Week Seven of this discussion.

Welcome,

~Bryan

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

My Life by Bill Clinton Bill Clinton Bill Clinton


Bryan Craig Chapter 18 begins with Hillary and Clinton settling down in Fayettesville to teach law. However, the political Muses call and he entered the Congressional race against John Hammerschmidt. For the most part, the 3rd District was rural and conservative, but Clinton loved retail politics. Watergate was a major issue for Clinton, and once Nixon resigned, however, he lost that issue. By September, however, President Ford pardoned Nixon and the issue came back. Clinton got the AFL-CIO support and ran some print, TV, and radio ads. But, Hammerschmidt stepped up his campaign efforts in the last 2 weeks, and Clinton lost by 52% to 48%.

Clinton went back to teaching and used Roe v. Wade (which he supported) as a tool in the classroom. He was head of a state Democratic Party affirmative action committee. He also worked on black lung cases. Hillary oversaw the legal aid clinic and taught during this time. On October 11, 1975, the two got married. They took a honeymoon in Acapulco and traveled to Haiti and witnessed a voodoo ceremony. Clinton decided to run for Attorney General as he felt he could do the most good in Arkansas, rather than D.C. However, he had to face the growing evangelical movement and the Moral Majority. He did win the election and then worked for Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in Arkansas, while Hillary was a field coordinator in Indiana.

Clinton settled into the Attorney General's job in Chapter 20, while Hillary went to work for the Rose Law Firm (Vince Foster worked there). He hired Steve Smith as his chief of staff. He hired more blacks and women attorneys. He fought against utility rate increases and supported conservation when it was new in the hopes it would save the state some money. Clinton defended University of Arkansas Head Coach Lou Holtz suspending three players. By 1978, Clinton also broadened his contacts and built up his organization for the next election, which was governor. It was a tough primary with Joe Woodward, who worked with Senator Bumpers. The "tree story" came out again (where people claimed he was in a tree protesting during the Arkansas-Texas football game which was false), and used a new pollster, Dick Morris, who would be instrumental for all of his future campaigns. He won by 60%, then won the general election by 63%.


message 3: by Bryan (last edited Jul 26, 2011 05:58AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig I thought this was interesting statement, another window into his personal life & Hillary:

"I loved her and wanted to be with her, but I understood her reservations. I was passionate and driven, and nothing in my background indicated I knew what a stable marriage was all about. She knew that being married to me would be a high-wire operation in more ways than one." (p. 209)

In the same paragraph, he mentioned she would be a better politician than he was.

Do you get a sense that Hillary was a good force in his life? He doesn't go into a lot of detail about his journey to commitment and he sees marriage as a mystery.


Bryan Craig A biography on John Hammerschmidt:

a Representative from Arkansas; born in Harrison, Boone County, Ark., May 4, 1922; graduated from Harrison High School, Harrison, Ark., 1938; attended The Citadel, Charleston, S.C., 1938-1939; attended the University of Arkansas, Fayettville, Ark., 1940-1941; attended Oklahoma State University, &1945-1946; B.S., Canbourne University, London, England, 1993; M.A., Canbourne University, London, England, 1997; United States Army Air Corps, Third Combat Cargo Group in China-Burma-India Theater, 1942-1945; United States Air Force Reserves, 1945-1960; District of Columbia Army Reserves, 1977-1981; president, Hammerschmidt Lumber Co.; president, Construction Products Co.; president, Arkansas Lumber Dealers Association and Southwestern Lumberman’s Association; delegate to Republican National Convention, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980 and 1984; State chairman, Arkansas Republican State Central committee, 1964-1966; elected as a Republican to the Ninetieth and to the twelve succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1967-January 3, 1993); was not a candidate for renomination in 1992 to the One Hundred Third Congress; is a resident of Harrison, Ark.
(Source: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/...)

Arkansas Encyclopedia entry:
http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net...


message 5: by Bryan (last edited Jul 26, 2011 06:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig In the last section, Clinton states that people won't abandon core values such as work, family, compassion, strength, and responsibility. In this section, he states the middle class and the poor support government activism to solve problems, but care about their tax dollars.

Do you think it is a valid pulse of the voters? Does it stand true today as it does in the 1970s?


message 6: by Bryan (last edited Jul 27, 2011 07:26AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Here are two interesting episodes of the congressional campaign:

1. The Vietnam veteran coming into a store and bought a gun and killed six people. Clinton states it laid the seed for the Brady Bill later on. I can see how the owner took a long time to come to terms with that day.

2. The Buffalo River protection under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and how it affected a homesteader. He could only sell to the government and Clinton appreciated western land owners and the bitter relationship some have over the federal government.


message 7: by Verena (new) - added it

Verena | 5 comments Bryan wrote: "I thought this was interesting statement, another window into his personal life & Hillary:

"I loved her and wanted to be with her, but I understood her reservations. I was passionate and driven, ..."


Until he met Hillary, I only realized that he was in a relationship when he mentioned how/when/that it ended. After that is "Hillary and I" and more in depth description about her and and her accomplishments. I loved when he gently mocked her fashion faux pas at court (the bright orange - and I mean bright - pants). Was she a good force in his life? It's hard to say. But I think, in general, it is always positive to have someone in your life with whom you are comfortable and about whom you care enough to include in your professional and personal plans.

:) Verena


Bryan Craig Agreed, Verena, it truly seems he found a great partner in life with Hillary. I'm beginning to see the history here that would weather the hard times.


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
That tree story was preposterous and it really is hard to shake even a fake story once the media gets ahold of it. I think that Clinton has enough true stories that have caused concern without trying to add others which are hopelessly inaccurate.


message 10: by Bryan (last edited Aug 03, 2011 07:09AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig It is crazy what the candidate's PR machine will devise to tarnish someone else. I tried to find a picture of the protester, but so far, no luck. It really must have been frustrating for Clinton.


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
I actually did see a photo somewhere; where is what I am trying to figure out.

I would have thought that it would have been supremely frustrating for Clinton.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1186 comments Bryan wrote: "A biography on John Hammerschmidt:

a Representative from Arkansas; born in Harrison, Boone County, Ark., May 4, 1922; graduated from Harrison High School, Harrison, Ark., 1938; attended The Citade..."


What a formidable guy for a young politician to run against


message 13: by Bryan (last edited Aug 10, 2011 06:49AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig So true Vince, Hammerschmidt was a Congressional veteran by the time Clinton took him on. It takes some courage, wouldn't you agree?

I think it is a good thing for democracy for new blood to try to unseat a sitting member of Congress. I remember Mitt Romney almost unseating Ted Kennedy in 1994-just to name one example.


Laura (apenandzen) Bryan wrote: "I thought this was interesting statement, another window into his personal life & Hillary:

"I loved her and wanted to be with her, but I understood her reservations. I was passionate and driven, ..."


I think she's very smart, and decisive. I think he needed her decisiveness to help him navigate the road ahead. Since they were both politically minded, I think without her ... who knows? I'd be curious what route he might have taken. May not have made it to the White House at all, although I'm sure he'd be in politics in some way.


message 15: by Laura (last edited Aug 13, 2011 06:43AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura (apenandzen) Bryan wrote: "In the last section, Clinton states that people won't abandon core values such as work, family, compassion, strength, and responsibility. In this section, he states the middle class and the poor s..."

Completely valid and totally true, I think.

I was just coming in here to type this quote from the end of Chapter 18:

"...in 1974, I saw firsthand, in thousands of encounters, that middle-class voters would support government activism to solve their problems, and those of the poor, but only if the effort was made with due care for their tax dollars, and if efforts to increase opportunity were coupled with an insistence on responsibility."

Truly, this is what drew me to him as a young mom in my 20s. I think most Americans share these core beliefs. A centrist approach.


Laura (apenandzen) Bentley wrote: "That tree story was preposterous and it really is hard to shake even a fake story once the media gets ahold of it. I think that Clinton has enough true stories that have caused concern without t..."

So true!!


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 13, 2011 06:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Bryan wrote: "In the last section, Clinton states that people won't abandon core values such as work, family, compassion, strength, and responsibility. In this section, he states the middle class ..."

Yes Laura - most of America is moderate and centrist I think. We get a little nervous when balance gets skewed - one way or the other. Of course that is just MHO.


message 18: by Laura (last edited Aug 13, 2011 06:50AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura (apenandzen) Another quote, this one from p. 223 of the hardback edition, toward the end of Chapter 18:

"But I haven't changed my mind about Republican economic policies. I still believe FDR was right when he said, 'We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals. We now know that it is bad economics.' "

Shazam, FDR!

Does anyone know the context of that statement from FDR? Was it from a famous speech? I've not read a biography of his life yet, but I just love that quote, and I'd like to learn more about the specific moment in time that drew that remark.


message 19: by Laura (last edited Aug 13, 2011 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura (apenandzen) Thank God for the internet!! I found it. It was from his second Inaugural Address.

I copied the rest of this comment from this site: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0...

The quote in question — which Roosevelt himself borrowed from a 19th-century poet — comes from Roosevelt's Second Inaugural Address, delivered in 1937, eight years into the Great Depression.

"We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals," Roosevelt told the country. "We know now that it is bad economics. Out of the collapse of a prosperity whose builders boasted their practicality has come the conviction that in the long run, economic morality pays."

Heedless self-interest is bad morals

. . . economic morality pays. What utterly quaint notions. We don't even acknowledge the existence of economic morality anymore, let alone the notion that it pays.

"We are beginning to abandon our tolerance of the abuse of power by those who betray for profit the elementary decencies of life," Roosevelt said, lauding the importance of "practical controls over blind economic forces and blindly selfish men."

"In our personal ambitions we are individualists," he concluded. "But in our seeking for economic and political progress as a nation, we all go up, or else we all go down, as one people."

You know, some truths don't change over time. It's just that successive generations have to relearn them over and over again, sometimes the hard way.


Laura (apenandzen) Bentley wrote: "Laura wrote: "Bryan wrote: "In the last section, Clinton states that people won't abandon core values such as work, family, compassion, strength, and responsibility. In this section, he states the..."

I completely agree. There is soooo much more that unites us as a nation than what divides us. Why do politicans seem to want to insist on division?? We could get so much more accomplished if we all came to the center. We could move mountains! That idealistic girl is still in there somewhere - but I'm not the only one, I'm sure of it.


Laura (apenandzen) I'm just at the beginning of chapter 19, and this book is really engaging me now. I'm loving this.


Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1186 comments The current economic climate does not have a path to work for so many of us that, following the core values noted by Clinton and you my fellow readers, one must wonder how this will change the American character. Without work (earning wealth of some kind) the next four - family, compassion, strength & responsibility become elusive or hard to achieve in our society.
It is really only in the last few decades that easy access to more opportunities by going west in America has declined as an outlet for people needing opportunities.
I think that FDR & Clinton saw this and I am not sure who else - Truman & Eisenhower has the post war boom to insulate them - Kennedy too but he saw the need to extend this to minorities but moved slowly, I think looking towards southern support for re-election,
anyway borrowing from and expanding from Bentley MVHO.


message 23: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Thank God for the internet!! I found it. It was from his second Inaugural Address.

I copied the rest of this comment from this site: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0...

The quote..."



Very true Laura and that is why this country is going in the wrong direction. I do not think it has as much to do with the political leaders we elect but us. The political policies reflect the people.


message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "I'm just at the beginning of chapter 19, and this book is really engaging me now. I'm loving this."

Yes, it is a great book like he is having a conversation with you. I have done this book twice (the hardcover) and now once again in an unabridged audio version and I love the audio version because it is like he (or the narrator) is talking with you.


message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
Vince wrote: "The current economic climate does not have a path to work for so many of us that, following the core values noted by Clinton and you my fellow readers, one must wonder how this will change the Amer..."

Vince, yes I agree - the American character - that is the key to our future success or not. We have to have work and jobs because all of the other three are influenced greatly by the first. Although spiritually I guess that shouldn't matter - but in the world that we have created it does a whole deal. Where do Americans go now to find a different way of life or more opportunities is a great question Vince. Somehow we need to reinvent ourselves, look and build within and regenerate our cities putting new vitality into our core centers of population while at the same time revitalizing our urban and farm areas. Taking back our manufacturing from China and India and other locations might be a good first step and closing up loopholes that make it more advantageous for American companies to take their manufacturing and jobs overseas.


Laura (apenandzen) Bentley wrote: "Laura wrote: "I'm just at the beginning of chapter 19, and this book is really engaging me now. I'm loving this."

Yes, it is a great book like he is having a conversation with you. I have done t..."


I agree, the audio is terrific. I was just able to get Part One of the audio from the library, and so I'm able to move along much more quickly now. It is getting more and more interesting, moving into a time in which I was at least born, if not absorbing all of the political discussions I witnessed growing up.


Laura (apenandzen) Bentley wrote: "Laura wrote: "Thank God for the internet!! I found it. It was from his second Inaugural Address.

I copied the rest of this comment from this site: http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0......."


I think the last election was about "taking out the trash" - people thinking that ousting Congressional officeholders would somehow solve economic problems. Hopefully, those with that mindset now understand that in taking out the "trash", sometimes other forms of garbage make an entrance. IMHO.


Laura (apenandzen) Bentley wrote: "Vince wrote: "The current economic climate does not have a path to work for so many of us that, following the core values noted by Clinton and you my fellow readers, one must wonder how this will c..."

Very true. Goodness knows we need a new energy infrastructure. But the focus is so much now on cutting spending. I understand it, but sometimes in attempting to solve one problem we can create a larger one.


message 29: by Laura (last edited Aug 13, 2011 10:04AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura (apenandzen) I'm still reading this section, sorry I keep interjecting comments. Was anyone struck by his discussion on death, and by the fact that he read this book on his honeymoon?

The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker Ernest Becker Ernest Becker

I liked this quote, from mid-chapter 19. This is Clinton speaking, not a quote from the book above: "Whether we succeed or fail, we are still going to die. The only solace, of course, is to believe that since we were created, there must be a Creator, one to whom we matter and will in some way return."


message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Laura wrote: "Thank God for the internet!! I found it. It was from his second Inaugural Address.

I copied the rest of this comment from this site: http://www.commondreams.org/..."

'
Yes, you have to be careful about not throwing out the baby with the bath water.


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 13, 2011 10:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "Bentley wrote: "Vince wrote: "The current economic climate does not have a path to work for so many of us that, following the core values noted by Clinton and you my fellow readers, one must wonder..."

Well I think they have created another problem with their political maneuverings; our rating has been cut and there have been ripples across the globe from that one. We have a problem created in the previous administration with the Iraq War and a surplus being turned into the biggest deficit imagined. Then we have our efforts to try to get out of this big hole with a stimulus package which may have saved us from another great depression and now with all of the political bickerings - the rating has been dropped. It seems like we are going around in circles and caring more about political posturing than doing the right thing.

I think Clinton in this book tries to give us a bigger picture of what is important in this country beyond ourselves.


Laura (apenandzen) I agree completely.


message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 13, 2011 10:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "I'm still reading this section, sorry I keep interjecting comments. Was anyone struck by his discussion on death, and by the fact that he read this book on his honeymoon?

[bookcover:The Denial of..."


Yes, it was quite philosophical for a discussion on their honeymoon; but then again they had been together for awhile and I think liked deep intellectual and philosphical discussions. But in some ways it was deeply religious too and maybe one of the things discussed - the circle of life and what constituted success or failure and what was important to them before they died.


Bryan Craig Great comments, all. Good detective work Laura on the FDR speech. I think Clinton proved that Democrats are more than "tax and spend."


Bryan Craig Laura wrote: "I'm still reading this section, sorry I keep interjecting comments. Was anyone struck by his discussion on death, and by the fact that he read this book on his honeymoon?

I thought the same thing, but it makes him what he is, right?


Laura (apenandzen) Definitely! It just ... made me stop and think I guess. What a choice for a honeymoon read!


message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 40014 comments Mod
I think what I recall is that he was going back and thinking about his age at the time of his marriage to Hillary (on his honeymoon - no less) and realizing that he was just one year older than when his father died in the car accident. I think the juxtaposition made him philosophical - he was thinking that now he had lived a year longer than his father; was married himself and was looking forward to a long and hopefully successful and happy life with his new bride, etc. I think it was a hopeful, reflective read now that I think about it. I think with the marriage - he saw a new beginning - a new birth or regeneration so to speak - a new person and life emerging from his old self which he saw as a thing of the past. I saw it as a new beginning - death of the old person - and the start of a new journey. Maybe then I am being too philosophical myself but then he went on a honeymoon of sorts with all of his in laws and I thought that was odd too. (smile)


Laura (apenandzen) I agree, from what I just read that is where his mind was, but still....woo! What a mind.


message 39: by Laura (last edited Aug 14, 2011 12:08PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura (apenandzen) I didn't see any comments about abortion, which is discussed in Chapter 20, but I loved his remarks about the Pentecostals. I really do want to take his advice and go to one of their services. I have a feeling I'd be hooked!

Here's the quote that grabbed my attention, which refers to the Pentecostal faith:

"I liked and admired them because they lived their faith. They are strictly anti-abortion, but unlike some others, they will make sure that any unwanted baby, regardless of race or disability, has a loving home."

I've been saying this for years. I don't mind saying, I'm personally pro-life, but in the voting booth I am pro-choice. And this is one of the main reasons for that. There are too many children now who don't have good homes, and our foster system is broken according to every account I've read regarding it.

I've often said that if someone wants to vote pro-life, then in my opinion they should become part of the solution by taking in an unwanted child, or working in the system as a foster parent. I loved that quote about the Pentecostal faith, and I love Clinton's advice toward the end of Chapter 20:

"Whatever your religious views, or lack of them, seeing people live their faith in a spirit of love toward all people, not just their own, is beautiful to behold. If you ever get a chance to go to a Pentecostal service, don't miss it."

I am LOVING the hidden gems like this that I did not expect to find in a Presidential autobiography. This book is terrific. I may just have to buy a copy when all is said and done.


Bryan Craig Great comments, Laura. I thought his discussion was important, one of tolerance, I think, too.


message 41: by Laura (last edited Aug 14, 2011 12:55PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura (apenandzen) Thanks, Bryan. He comes across in the descriptions of his public life as so sensible and well-balanced. I love the way he deliberately includes all of the mistakes he made too.


Bryan Craig Yeah, I find at least he says what and how he messed up. In memoirs, you sometimes don't see this.


message 43: by Alisa (new) - added it

Alisa (mstaz) I thought his description of his personal low after losing the congressional election was rather illuminating. Laying on the floor for days at a stretch, sounds as depressing as it must have felt to him at the time. No doubt after the rush of weeks on the road and the personal high of rallies and people telling you they will support you, to then come out on the losing end and in debt more than you can imagine digging out of has got to be a serious downer.


Bryan Craig I agree, Alisa. You don't see it on TV how hard it is to lose an election. All you see is the smiles and the speech.


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