Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Book Reviews: From political histories to bad comics, to bad comics of political histories. And the occasional rant about fiction and writing.

Mimsy Review: No One Left to Lie To

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, April 6, 2014

For all the talk about historic presidential “philandering,” it is hard to recall any other White House which has had to maintain a quasi-governmental or para-state division devoted exclusively to the bullying and defamation of women.

Clinton’s problems are, in Hitchens’s telling, because he was a conservative. A provincial conservative, the worst kind. He’s just not smart like Hitchens. Which is undoubtedly true, but being smart doesn’t make leftist policies any more sane.

RecommendationSpecial Interests Only
AuthorChristopher Hitchens
Length150 pages
Book Rating5

As an evil conservative, Clinton must also bear the conservative’s evil clothing. Clinton is not just a failed conservative, he is also provincial and racist.

Hitchens starts off—all of chapter two—skewering that most blatant of political triangulations, that Clinton was the “first black president”. In Hitchens’s telling, Clinton was the most racist president of recent times, overseeing the execution of black children, deserting political allies and close friends at the drop of a pin if those allies were black, and pandering to the worst of southern culture throughout his political career.

I’m not sure I’ve read an honest to god screed before. This is well-researched, but not well-thought. Hitchens is the kind of leftist intellectual smart enough to recognize that leftist policies implemented by other leftists always fail—but vain enough to think that if they just listened to him and implemented them his way leftism would suddenly succeed.

For example, in the section on the Clintons’ failed health insurance takeover, he writes:

The “triangulation” went like this. Harry and Louise sob-story ads were paid for by the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA), a group made up of the smaller insurance providers. The five major insurance corporations spent even more money to support “managed competition”… The Clinton's demagogic ally campaigned against the “insurance industry,” while backing—and with the backing of—those large fish that were preparing to swallow the minnows.

It’s cronyism. Hitchens doesn’t seem to recognize that this is the inevitable result of government taking over or threatening a takeover, regardless of the form the takeover takes. Large companies can afford to buy influence; smaller companies have to band together to buy enough influence to survive.

He has a lot to say about Hillary Clinton as well. She’s totally devoid of substance, for example, he quotes her as saying this while running for the Senate in New York:

I think it’s appropriate to take a few minutes to reflect on some of the issues that people of faith have in common, and from my perspective, as I have traveled extensively through New York and been in the company of New Yorkers from so many different walks of life, I agree that the challenges before us, as individuals, as members and leaders of the community of faith, as those who already hold positions of public responsibility and those who seek them, that we do all share and should be committed to an understanding of how we make progress, but we define that progress, deeply and profoundly.

He also suggests that she tried to woo the Puerto Rican vote by convincing her husband to pardon some Puerto Rican nationalists who were in prison for placing “bombs in lower Manhattan.” When the ploy turned out to be less favorable among the rest of New Yorkers, she pivoted to oppose her husband’s pardons, saying she knew nothing about it and had nothing to do with it. Hitchens doesn’t believe it for a second.

She apparently also completely staged her appearance on the Letterman Show. Given the questions ahead of time, she pretends to be thinking up the answers on the spot, even responding so to Letterman’s question, “do you really know this stuff?”, an awfully lame question since he also knew she’d been given the questions.

Ultimately, in Hitchens’s telling, the Clintons as a pair are “reptilian people”.

It comes down, though, to the exploitation of mammalian sentiments by reptilian people.

By chance during that bizarre and shame-faced closure I heard a zoologist talking in Georgetown about the relationship between mammals and reptiles. “The reptile,” she said, “can break into the mammal’s nest and destroy and eat all the young, and be burrowed into the still-warm and living flank of the mother, before any reaction is evident. Our anthropomorphic verdict would be that reptiles don’t even know how lucky they are, while mammals don’t really believe that reptiles can exist.”

Hitchens is an amazing writer, and a master of the literate put-down. He also hates the Clintons passionately and is blind to the reality that they are what he’s been asking for. In the kind of government comfortable with taking over health care and industries, they are the kind of people who will be comfortable in government.

No One Left to Lie To

Christopher Hitchens

Recommendation: Special Interests Only