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My Life
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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 21. MY LIFE ~~ October 31 - November 6th ~~ Chapters FIFTY-FIVE and Epilogue (882 - 957 or end of book); No Spoilers Please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Oct 30, 2011 04:52PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

This is the assigned reading for Week Twenty-One for the 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 Twenty-one - October 31st - November 6th -> Chapters FIFTY-FIVE and EPILOGUE p. 882 - 957 or end of book no matter what the edition

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.

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 Twenty-one of this discussion.




My Life by Bill Clinton by Bill Clinton Bill Clinton

Bryan Craig We say good-bye to Clinton as president in chapter 55. On the domestic front, Chelsea stayed at the White House for 6 months at a time to help, since she built up her credits at Stanford. Both parties had their nomination convention. Clinton was impressed by Bush's campaign and his "compassionate conservatism" theme. Gore used with "people vs. power" message. Hillary won her election in New York, and although Gore won the popular vote, it all came down to Florida in disputed votes. Clinton thought Gore had an uphill battle in Florida with a conservative secretary of state, governor, and legislature. In the end, Gore lost. Clinton bought a house in D.C. and met George W. Bush. Near the end of his term, Clinton gave clemency to over 60 people, one of which, Marc Rich, was controversial. The president saw Hillary sworn in, and he went to a number of farewell parties writing about how he loved being president. In foreign affairs, Clinton with the help of Bono supported debt relief in third world countries. He decided to leave the issue of missile defense to his successor. The USS Cole exploded and al-Qaeda was behind it. Clinton hoped to get Bin Laden, but between the CIA's unreliable information and the Pentagon not wanting to go into Afghanistan, little was done. Violence struck the Mid East as Arafat's protestors rioted at the Temple Mount. There was a summit and he pressed Arafat to strike a deal with Israel: a Palestine state with 97% of the West Bank and Gaza going to Palestine. Arafat declined as he countered with wanting to get the Western Wall. Sharon won the election and would begin a harder line with Arafat, closing any deal.

In the epilogue, Clinton argued he tried to form "a more perfect union." He tried to move the U.S. into the global information age and measured his success as president by the impact on lives. Terrorists have taken advantage of this new age's interdependent world with flexible immigration policies and technology. He still had regrets, but he thought he told a good story.

Bryan Craig Wow, Clinton shook hands with Castro at the UN:

Bryan Craig You do get a sense that Arafat was the Mid East gamesmanship. Israel offered some deals and Arafat, at the last minute, turned them down. Now I am beginning to understand his demise and how Bush did not want to deal with him.

Bryan Craig USS Cole:

It looks like a trial is set for early November, so this is still going on.

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Bryan wrote: "USS Cole:

It looks like a trial is set for early November, so this is still going on."

It is hard to believe that this has been dragged out so long.

message 7: by Bryan (last edited Oct 31, 2011 07:36AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Yeah, totally, this whole Gitmo thing leaves detainees in a long, long limbo.

message 8: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Yes, but can Gitmo be blamed for an 11 year delay; that has to be our justice system.

Bryan Craig You put our justice system into the Gitmo detainee program, and now we are not just slow, but super-slow.

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
A whole decade and more has gone by; that is not just slow but a travesty of justice. I guess folks are not that worried about these folks and probably wish they would lose the key to their cells; but nonetheless.

Bryan Craig ...And it fosters more resentment and hostility.

You wonder if Clinton and Gore would have created Gitmo or were the forces of events to strong??

message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Oct 31, 2011 07:43AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
During our history, with each terrible circumstance there are certain events and actions which the country comes to see as not their finest hour (in retrospect and after the passage of time); but actions which were done out of fear or the fact that people think it gives them more security or protects them more. Most of the actions prove otherwise.

Bryan Craig Marc Rich controversy:

I think Clinton's point was that Rich could be charged in a civil court.

Bryan Craig Arafat wanted parts of the Western Wall during negotiations with Clinton and Barak. It has an interesting history and a deep connection to both Jews and Muslims:

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Brian, you have done an excellent job with this discussion of Clinton's book and in doing so have covered a fair amount of history too. An interesting and long book discussion which I think has had great value. And just think next week is the Final Thoughts week; did you ever think that you would get there.

Bryan Craig Thanks, Bentley. I didn't think we would get there, lol. I do think a discussion from a long book is interesting because you cover a lot of topics. I hope others agree.

Bryan Craig For those who want to drill deeper into the 2000 election:

Too Close to Call The Thirty-Six-Day Battle to Decide the 2000 Election by Jeffrey Toobin Jeffrey Toobin Jeffrey Toobin

Disputed Presidential Election of 2000 by E. Dover E. Dover

Bush V. Gore by Charles Zelden Charles Zelden

The participants talk about the election:

Campaign for President The Managers Look at 2000 by The Institute of Politics at Harvard University The Institute of Politics at Harvard University

Bryan Craig Clinton met both HW and GW Bush in the White House. Incredible. It must have been very odd to visit with the father in 1993, then in 2001, shake hands with his son.

Bryan Craig Do you agree with Clinton in his assessment that Bush v. Gore was one of the worst Supreme Court rulings ever?

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Yes, I do.

Bryan Craig It is interesting that he put it up there with civil rights cases like Plessy v. Ferguson. I am still wondering if it is at that level or not. It certainly did not solve much of anything, made things worse for elections in the future.

One thing I have to agree is that it left a bad taste in my mouth: the judges acting on their politics.

message 22: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 03, 2011 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
I think in a way it cheapened the court and its illustrious heritage; although there have been other times in the court's history - one in retrospect could say the same thing. The issue that I have is that none of the justices were under any political obligation really; they all have lifetime tenure so why act on those proclivities is beyond me. Why not rise about it. Unfortunately, it seems maybe that socially some of them felt compelled to exercise power and that they did. They should have turned the case down and sent it back to Florida or ruled that Florida needed to take the time to count ALL of the ballots statewide and leave no stone unturned. Instead it was blanket political posturing and worse. Not a good thing for a democracy where every vote is supposed to count. A sad situation for all of us and especially the Florida voters. Gore too. I do not think he ever fully recovered from that situation no matter how hard he tried or what he stated in public and I think in part his marriage break-up could stem from what happened and the bitterness that ensued.

Bryan Craig Thanks, Bentley, well thought out answer.

Bryan Craig Who else enjoyed the moon rock piece near the end? I thought it was quite good and the right attitude.

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments So I am finally finished - eight weeks late but who is counting.

The moon rock piece near the end gave another perspective with a different vanishing point if you wish.

I have to say Bryan that your work - with the Chapter summaries at the beginning of each section - and the other detail notes - has helped make the read more enjoyable. I have generally read and made my notes and then, often, finishing the section later found these very useful to regain perspective (shorter range than the moon rock) - and then your comments to further funnel my thoughts.

I would note that I am glad he took the time to explain the Marc Rich situation. I think though there is something decadent about a man being able to pay $200 million and that we felt we should buckle to him and the Israelis.

Clinton missed another Renaissance Weekend - I have thought through this book that I would like to be able to attend one even if I could not talk.

On pg 951 Clinton says of the Republicans "they believed their way as deeply as I believed mine...." and I agree (probably... maybe) but I think that for many of them the foundation on which they stand is more self-interested than Democrats in most instances. I think that Clinton personal weakness was mostly for McDonalds and Monika (or women) -

Also being eight weeks behind, wanting to read A Tale of Two Cities with the club as my grand-daughter will be reading it in school and I will enjoy discussing it with her.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens

And since I am in the midst of the third book of The Game of Thrones series which I find great

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) by George R.R. Martin A Storm of Swords George R.R. Martin

And since I am only halfway thru with Great Expectations

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Great Expectations Charles Dickens

And since I just registered for a sort of philosophy course which will add five books for the first six months of next year

I was considering skipping our History Book Club read on John Quincy Adams and then Clinton said (pg 958) of Adams "Carter made the biggest difference (after serving in office)..............with the possible exception of John Quincy Adams."

So this book ends well and, except that I am so far behind, I cannot agree with the most people Clinton said they thought it was too long.

It was a very good experience. Really it was wonderful probably more for a man of my age than those much younger having lived thru so much of it.

Thanks HBC team.

message 26: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Vince you are very welcome but make sure to do proper citations: book cover, you have that congrats, author's photo - you have that too (congrats) but no author's link.

The books mentioned should look like:

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens by Charles Dickens Charles Dickens

We look forward to your participation in that discussion with your grand daughter.

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) by George R.R. Martin by George R.R. Martin George R.R. Martin

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens by Charles Dickens Charles Dickens

I loved the book myself and thought it was like a private diary. Very informative and entertaining.

I think that Clinton has mastered the hamburger fetish since he is now a vegan but I have no idea about the womanizer issues. They seemed to have quieted down.

It is great that you continued the journey and wrapped it up. I think it was a very worthwhile undertaking.

message 27: by Bryan (last edited Dec 29, 2011 06:27AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bryan Craig Thanks Vince for the nice comment on my work. I have to say thank you for your comments; they all made us think.

Here is a link to the Renaissance Weekend:

Alas, it is invitation only.

I am always fascinated by the Democrats and GOP. Once upon a time, the GOP had a wide range of people in it: the conservatives, the Eastern moderates, etc. You can say the conservatives are in it for giving back more power to people (small government). Anyway, thanks Vince for participating and have fun with the other books. If you can make it for JQA, then great, and if not, until next time.

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