Three recent biographies on Hillary Rodham Clinton, each by widely separated and totally diverse authors, have come to the same conclusion: Hillary has a terrible temper, holds long-lasting grudges, and has a fragile emotional state that can be traced to her childhood. The question these biographical accounts pose is: how will these flaws affect the country, should she win the White House?

The first biography of note was written by Carl Bernstein, one of the journalists who broke the Watergate scandal. In A Woman in Charge, Bernstein notes that Hillary Clinton has had bouts of depression and melancholy since she was a youngster, and experienced an especially severe episode a year after Bill Clinton was elected president in 1994.

Bernstein then recites published accounts of Mrs. Clinton’s temper, her tendency to label people as friends or enemies and, in the latter case, to bear lifelong grudges. Since her election as senator, Hillary has formed what is called her “war room” from which emerge strategies to deal harshly and mercilessly with her critics and opponents. Some insiders say Richard Nixon’s “enemies list” would be a fair comparison.

Bernstein manages to weave some compassion into his narrative, especially when detailing Hillary’s emotional turmoil brought about by Bill Clinton’s “bimbo eruptions” and the smarmy coverage of the Monica Lewinsky affair. Still, the conclusion Bernstein reaches is that Hillary is ruthless and willing to take on any opponent who dares to cross her path.

The second biography of Hillary, Her Way, comes from Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, Jr., both Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalists for the New York Times. While acknowledging that Hillary is currently one of the most influential figures on the political scene, the authors say she is also “the single most divisive individual in our political landscape.” Gerth and Van Natta also bring up Hillary’s “war room” from which she and her staff plan savage attacks against her foes.

The authors remind us that she and Bill Clinton planned in the early days of their marriage how they would devise a path for him leading to the White House. Now it is Bill’s turn to accommodate Hillary.

In a piece contributed to Blogger News in July of this year “Bill Clinton’s role in Hillary’s campaign”, [ I wrote that the former president will be the secret weapon in his wife’s bid for the presidency. His role as a master strategist could even evolve to the point where Bill Clinton has his own campaign plane, press corps, and separate agenda for visiting crucial states.

With Bill’s help, say Gerth and Van Natta, Hillary may be able to “reinvent herself,” as she practically has done already, portraying herself as an antiwar candidate without refuting her previous position in 2002 when she voted to support Bush’s invasion of Iraq. The authors conclude that Hillary is “a meticulous architect of her persona with an almost scientific devotion to self-creation.”

The third book is more about Bill Clinton’s life in retirement, although the pages devoted to his wife are certainly biographical. The Clinton Crack-Up by R. Emmett Tyrrell also focuses on what the author calls Hillary’s “dreadful temper” and how first-hand accounts tell of her throwing objects at her husband and staff. Yet many of the incidents were never reported by the media, even though several reporters witnessed her rages first-hand. Tyrrell, who founded and edits The American Spectator, tells how for years Hillary had demanded that Secret Service agents carry her bags – despite rules that prohibit them from doing so. Tyrrell wonders how Hillary’s awesome temper would influence America’s destiny, should she ever be in control of the military and the Justice Department.

Some Republicans claim that Hillary may be “too angry” to be elected president. In response, Hillary retreated to the “war room” and emerged with the accusation that her Republican enemies are attacking her because of her gender, and were practicing political sexism. Hillary said she would wear the comment on her anger as “a badge of honor.”

It is too early, too soon, to predict a winner of the 2008 presidential election. But should Hillary Rodham Clinton be the successful candidate, America will have to learn how to deal with a president who may alternately be depressed and volatile, while being manipulated from the sidelines by the 42nd president of the United States.

– Chase.Hamil

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