Seeking (aspects of the) truth about Governing
How are decisions made in the White House and upper levels of government?  Do they have better information than we do?  How do they think? Is any of it about making good decisions for our benefit?
bradley.jpg (6169 bytes) Time Present, Time Past: A Memoir
Bill Bradley
Vintage Books, 1996, 420 pages.

Since when did honest, thoughtful and nonpartisan become negative terms?  Bradley writes a book without anger about his political life and his personal life.  He talks of growing up, playing basketball, and of his battles in the senate. He reveals an interest in a range of issues, in trying to use government to solve problems and to bring people together.  He also indicates clearly his view that public people are entitled to a private life and his concern for how money has twisted political decisions.  As a senator he was concerned about more than just what was good for New Jersey, but about the national situation as well. He expresses strong opinions but without being strident or resorting to personal attacks.

Sounds like a president to me.
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All Too Human: A Political Education
George Stephanopoulos
Little, Brown and Company, 1999, 450 pages, $28 retail.

I enjoyed this book on a number of levels.  For one thing, it is well written.  The author doesn't claim to have been right about everything, and can face when he's been less than a perfect person.  It describes the chaos of the Clinton decision-making, how Clinton is his own worst enemy.   The bizarre reign of Dick Morris gets full treatment.  Critics claim this is a book of "betrayal," a very odd attack.  Stephanopoulos has defended Clinton extensively, and, if anything, Clinton betrayed him.

Also, big points for being honest about depression and his use of antidepressant drugs.

The Breach: Inside the impeachment and trial of William Jefferson Clinton
Peter Baker
Berkley Book, 2000, 460 pages, photos.

A Washington Post reporter, Baker has written a careful, detailed and documented look at this situation from the vantage point of the congress. He explores the desires of the Republican Senate leadership to get the proceedings over with quickly and their impatience with the go-for-broke extremism of the Publican House leadership. The disgust of Democrats at Clinton, private disgust, comes through clearly. It also shows that while some senators did try to make principled decisions for the good of the country, it is hard to do that amid all the pressures.

Forest Hills diary: The Crisis of Low-Income Housing
Mario Cuomo
Vintage Books, 1974, 200 pages.

Notice the date. Cuomo was a lawyer in private practice. He was asked to be an independent fact-finder for mayor John Lindsay about a controversial proposal for low-income housing in Forest Hills. This book is the record of his day to day observations. Cuomo is a smart, careful thinker, and it comes out here in this diary. And it is always fascinating to see what the famous were like before they were famous. Jimmy Breslin was impressed and so am I.

The Washington Monthly
Charles Peters, Editor

his small, but to the point, monthly presents a sort of running commentary on the political process, good and bad. But it always has an issue focus, it isn't just handicapping the horse race.

Last modified 12/31/06; posted 9/19/00. © 2003, 2006 John P. Nordin