…and if anyone knows about sucking, it’s Dick.
Bill Clintonâ€™s memoirs are to become the bestselling political book in American publishing history. The 1.5 million copies of the first edition of My Life, which will be published on June 22, have already been accounted for in advance orders, and Clintonâ€™s publishers are racing to print a second impression.
The former presidentâ€™s memoirs will eclipse the 1.8 million copies that his wife Hillary sold of her own memoir, Living History, last year.
Some observers feel that Clinton ought to have postponed publication until next year to avoid stealing the limelight from Kerry.
“He is the ultimate narcissist: deprived of a mirror, he canâ€™t function. Without the adoring masses, he hasnâ€™t the inner self-image to carry him through the day,” argued Clintonâ€™s former pollster and strategist Dick Morris, who has since become a stern critic of the Clintons.
Morris believes that “by sucking up the oxygen in the room during July, Clinton cripples Kerry and forces him to compete for attention with a charismatic former president”. He predicts that the Massachusetts senator “will look a decided second-best to Bill Clinton”.
And, as usual, he’s wrong:
As former President Bill Clinton prepares for a barrage of publicity and a cross-country tour to promote his memoirs, his political advisers are consulting with the Democratic Party and Senator John Kerry’s campaign about ways that Mr. Clinton can lend a political hand in the process.
Mr. Clinton received an advance of more than $10 million to write his memoirs, “My Life,” and aides to the former president say his first priority now is to sell as many books as possible.
But they also say that whenever his book-selling obligations allow, Mr. Clinton is eager to pitch in for the party by plugging Mr. Kerry and subtly putting down Republicans at book-selling events, and by speaking at fund-raisers or campaign stops on his tour.
He is also going out of his way not to overshadow Mr. Kerry. For example, Democratic Party officials said Mr. Clinton was scheduled to speak on the first night of the party’s convention in Boston, but executives of Knopf, which is publishing “My Life,” said that to keep the spotlight on Mr. Kerry, he did not plan to hold a book signing or other event while in town.
“He wants to make sure that there is no way that anything he does is competing with or intruding on the attention paid to Senator Kerry,” Steve Richetti, Mr. Clinton’s top political adviser, said. “We have met with the campaign so that they can be aware of what we are doing and where we are going. He wants to be helpful in any way that he is asked. He knows John Kerry and he likes him a lot and thinks he would be a great president. At book events, I think he will be asked about and he will be able to talk about John Kerry in a very thoughtful and compelling way.”
If Dick Morris says it’s sunny out…take an umbrella.