June 24, 2004


Having paid Bill Clinton a $10 million advance, publisher Alfred A. Knopf couldn’t afford a fact-checker:

Bill Clinton's autobiography - My Life - has been raising eyebrows in New Zealand amid rumblings the former US president has been less than truthful about the mountainous origins of his wife's name.

Clinton's claim that Hillary was named in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealander who conquered Mount Everest, has created more New Zealand interest than the former president's relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The story has a fundamental problem: Edmund Hillary reached Everest's peak on May 29, 1953, nearly seven years after the infant Hillary arrived in the world.

Mark Steyn noted this a while ago. Meanwhile, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Richard Roeper has gained access to Clinton’s unexpurgated autobiography:

Aug. 19, 1946. "I was born today. The nurse was hot!"

Posted by Tim Blair at June 24, 2004 02:51 AM

Richard Roeper's comment: "You're going to be slogging through My Life, trying to be a good, informed citizen, but the new David Sedaris collection is going to be tempting you like a thong-snapping intern."

But this is stuff that already has been covered extensively. I wrapped the fish in those newspapers long ago.

Posted by: George at June 24, 2004 at 03:08 AM

It all depends on what the meaning of 'was' is...err...was...oh whatever......

Posted by: Crusader at June 24, 2004 at 03:12 AM

Didn't everyone name their children after obscure bee keepers in New Zealand?

Posted by: Bruce Rheinstein at June 24, 2004 at 03:43 AM

Oh, come on. EVERYBODY lies about the origins of their names. Ken Starr probably made his up to sound like a cross between Barbie's mate and a leading man.

Posted by: "everybody does it" at June 24, 2004 at 04:21 AM

Roadkill masquerading as beef.

Posted by: onecent at June 24, 2004 at 09:47 AM

My name, as you can see, comes from words that are formed after the first letters of my first, middle, and last names.


Cool, huh?

Posted by: JDB at June 24, 2004 at 11:08 AM

Clinton lied? Again, you mean?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 24, 2004 at 12:30 PM

Hillary came from a long line of fortune tellers.
The ability to see in the future is amazing!
Your grandson will be called Mohamed.

Posted by: davo at June 24, 2004 at 05:58 PM

Oh, come on. EVERYBODY lies about the origins of their names. Ken Starr probably made his up to sound like a cross between Barbie's mate and a leading man.

No no. It's common knowledge that Ken Starr was named after Ringo Starr.

Posted by: Chuck Bearden at June 25, 2004 at 03:53 AM


I stand corrected. And Ken's father, too, I'd think.

Posted by: "everybody does it" at June 25, 2004 at 07:28 AM

It's interesting how some people need a big occasion to define things that are important to them. I'm sure there would be some psycho-babble to explain this.

My favourite example was that of left-wing feminist academic, Dale Spender, a one time columnist for the Courier-Mail.

In one column she breathlessly explained how she came to jettison the Liberal Party. She explained that the burning issue that turned her was the conscription issue in the 60's.

She outlined the horror she witnessed as her high school students found out that their number had been drawn from the barrel and they could well find themselves killed in a far off land. She described the tears that fell from both the students affected and their friends and this convinced her in graphic detail of what an evil it was.

Now conscription is a violation of peoples' rights and is rightly condemned but it wasn't such events as Spender described to her readers that changed her mind.

She invented this scenario from go to whoa for dramatic effect. Her problem was that registration for conscription was not required until one's 20th birthday. Her high school students would have been aged between 16 and 19 at most. The events she purported to have witnessed in her high school class just did not happen.

This was one fabrication that did get an airing on Media Watch :)

Posted by: amortiser at June 25, 2004 at 05:53 PM

Give me a break. Clinton isn't Hilary's father, he didn't name her. Whatever story he told about the origin of her name is in all likelihood second hand. It seems an awful lot more likely that he's unwittingly passing along somebody else's story, than that he's deliberately lying.

Posted by: Kurt at June 26, 2004 at 05:22 AM

And so wife Hillary does not read husband Bill's book manuscript and read/edit/correct it, especially when it comes to references to her? She has a future run at the Presidency to protect, after all. Or are you saying that even she can't get the story about her name and simple historical chronology straight?

Posted by: c at June 26, 2004 at 05:40 AM

Monica-gate. Moniker-gate. You'd think some of us would have learned to get our stories straight by now-

Posted by: doris kearns goodwin at June 26, 2004 at 06:27 AM

Hillary Clinton,("Sir Edmund" to her friends) and Ms. Lewinsky were the not the only women to cause trouble for Bill. What about Lani?

Clinton's Quota Queens
By Clint Bolick

Wall Street Journal. Apr 30, 1993. Apr 30, 1993

"New Democrat" Bill Clinton has taken a sharp left turn by appointing two civil rights ideologues to major posts. Yesterday he named University of Pennsylvania law professor Lani Guinier, a Carter civil rights alumna and for nine years a lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, to the top post as assistant attorney general for civil rights. Previously he nominated Norma Cantu, the Southwestern Regional Counsel for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), as assistant secretary for civil rights in the Department of Education.

Ms. Guinier and Ms. Cantu are far from household names, but the duo has the litigation experience and mental firepower to profoundly alter the civil rights landscape. Both have blazed the outer frontiers in their respective areas of voting law and education.

Ms. Guinier sets the standard for innovative radicalism. In a 1989 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review article, she decries "fundamental flaws in our democracy," urging that "certain social goods -- health care, day care, job training, housing -- must be recognized as basic entitlements." In the same article, she proclaims that anti-discrimination laws mandate "a result-oriented inquiry, in which roughly equal outcomes, not merely an apparently fair process, are the goal," and calls for racial quotas in judicial appointments.

But for this new vanguard, quotas are only a starting point. In a 1991 Virginia Law Review article entitled "No Two Seats: The Elusive Quest for Political Equality," Ms. Guinier argues that proportional legislative representation for minority groups, which the Voting Rights Act of 1965 presently is construed to guarantee, is not enough. Instead, she demands equal legislative outcomes, requiring abandonment not only of the "one person, one vote" principle, but majority rule itself.

The current voting rights quota system, she complains, is inadequate since it only "protects the right to be `present,' whereas the right to control government policy is reserved to those who can organize a majority." The solution, she urges, is to eliminate the "`winner-take-all' features of any majoritarian electoral or legislative voting process in which the minority is identifiable, racially homogenous, insular, and permanent."

Ms. Guinier would invoke the Voting Rights Act in such circumstances to eliminate "one person, one vote" procedures and the requirement of winning electoral or legislative majorities. Instead, she would create an "aggregating device" with which "voluntary minority interest constituencies could choose to cumulate their votes to express the intensity of their distinctive groups interests."

In the election context, this means 1) eliminating single-member legislative districts, 2) giving each voter the same number of votes as open seats, 3) allowing voters to spread out their votes among candidates or "cumulate" them, and 4) eliminating the majority threshold for election. In a contest for nine legislative seats, for instance, a candidate could win with just over 9% of the votes under this complex formula.

In the legislative arena, "simpleminded notions of majority rule," Ms. Guinier asserts, "interact with racial block voting to make statutorily protected groups perennial legislative losers." Wherever this is true, she contends, the Voting Rights Act should require new procedures to ensure "a fairer distribution of political power." Though her proposals in this context are amorphous, they include cumulative voting and elimination of majority thresholds to ensure "each group has a right to have its interests satisfied a fair proportion of the time."

Whether or not these proposals have merit as public policy, Ms. Guinier clearly believes they are compelled by the Voting Rights Act, which she would be charged with enforcing as assistant attorney general. Ms. Guinier would graft onto the existing system a complex racial spoils system that would further polarize an already divided nation.

Likewise, Ms. Cantu brings to her civil rights post in the Department of Education a zeal for social engineering both old and new. In Austin, Ms. Cantu argued (unsuccessfully) that a community that has desegregated its schools cannot phase out forced busing until residential integration is achieved. Since residential racial balance almost never occurs in most communities, the logical extension of her argument is -- surprise! -- busing as a permanent part of the American landscape. In the past few years, Ms. Cantu and her allies have turned their attention to "funding equity" suits in which courts are called upon to equalize spending among school districts.

The appointments of Ms. Guinier and Ms. Cantu would place the powerful federal civil rights arsenal in the hands of ideologues. It also would blur the lines between advocacy groups and government agencies, as they were in the pre-Reagan years, when the executive branch subordinated law enforcement to its ideological agenda.

If these nominations are part of Mr. Clinton's payback to extreme left-wing elements of the Democratic Party, the price may prove too high. Republicans learned in the midterm Senate elections in 1990 (but forgot two years later) that voters, white or black, don't like quotas. White voters often view quotas as a barrier to opportunity, while few blacks or other minorities view them as beneficial in their individual circumstances.

Mr. Clinton owes his election in no small part to the disappearance of the "Q" word from the political lexicon in 1992. If he persists in entrusting the civil rights law enforcement apparatus to the likes of Ms. Guinier and Ms. Cantu, the in-your-face civil rights agenda they no doubt will promote may ultimately prove the most incendiary of political miscalculations.


Mr. Bolick is litigation director at the Institute for Justice in Washington, and author of "Grassroots Tyranny: The Limits of Federalism" (Cato Institute, 1993).

Posted by: Jim at June 27, 2004 at 11:16 PM

Jim: don't use this website to post entire articles. KTHXBY.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 28, 2004 at 05:29 AM

Clinton may not have lied, but he sure as hell is claiming he wrote this book. Errors on who his wife is named for are a measure of how reliable the rest of the book is. Not much, it seems, if he can't his family history straight.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 28, 2004 at 06:48 AM

This is *ALL* the supposed lying that is found in the book? wow, gee..time to string him up.

Posted by: tbone at June 28, 2004 at 03:33 PM

This is *ALL* the supposed lying that is found in the book? wow, gee..time to string him up.

Posted by: tbone at June 28, 2004 at 03:34 PM


I don't think anybody with a life actually read the book to know what else is in it. Except for a Harvard professor who says Clinton fabricated a conversation between them to make him look like a mean Republican stooge. And also, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky, each of whom has contacted a lawyer over his lies concerning their relationships (some of these in-print lies contradict his sworn testimony).

The "tome" is so boring and bereft of heft that, apparently, even Clinton's wife couldn't read the galleys to get the story about her name unfictionalized. Mikey Moore himself would point out this "fictation", if the Clintons were Republican. I would call this cute lie just a bald-faced PR ploy. The Clintons have been called on this story's absurdity before, but they must like the association of Hillary with Sir Edmund, and keep repeating it, knowing Big Media and their fanbase can't bother about simple chronology.

As for the rest, wait until others valiantly wade through the pages. There'll be a lot more 'misstatements' to come to light. You can count on it.

Posted by: c at June 28, 2004 at 05:17 PM