The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President By Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster, 707 pp., $35) In her infamous first sentence of The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm swings for the fences and proclaims that "every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible." She means that journalists use their human subjects and then dispose of them; that we con them in person by "preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness"--it occurs to me to note that however bleak print's future seems
THERE’S NOTHING MORE fun in politics than good, old-fashioned hate. How would LBJ screw Bobby next? To what depths would Ken Starr sink in his crazed pursuit of Bill Clinton? Sadly, however, the days of pure, unabashed malice have faded. Hillary Clinton now clamors to sponsor legislation with the people who voted to impeach her husband. Dishonest civility has replaced honest hatred as the ruling ethos in the capital. People who despise each other pretend to get along just fine.
Before rejoining the Dole campaign I fly with my friend Barbara Feinman to Detroit. I have made a deal with myself, as an incentive to get out of bed in the morning. For every three days I spend with Bob Dole I will allow myself a day with someone who is not Bob Dole. Normally, I would have waited until I had earned the reward to collect it. But circumstances--namely Barbara--intervened. Until a few months ago Barbara was happily making a living helping famous Washingtonians—Ben Bradlee, Bob Woodward, a pride of senators—write their books.