oThroughout such Clinton programs as health care there is a persistent attention to the needs of big business. This is not really surprising; in a little state like Arkansas a large corporation can have a lot of say and politicians, if they wish to stay such, listen closely. At the local level this leads to corruption, but applied to a whole nation it does far more than pervert or cheat the system, it starts to transform it. When one adds together the administrationOs approach to NAFTA, health care, research and development and technology, it is clear that Clinton has reversed the traditional Democratic idea that the poor need help and the corporations need regulation. He is a staunch ally of the corporate state.O oSo this is a book not only about Clinton but about Clinton and us. It is about the Clinton we read about and the Clinton we feel, the Clinton who is and the Clinton we would like him to be. It is about our power and his, our attempts to manipulate him and his to manipulate us. It is about our periodic ritual of renewal called an election and how we use it to move on and to stay very much the same.It is also about lies and myths and about an America still groping for its own perestroika after decades of political racketeering and abuse of its democratic system.O Who is Bill Clinton and what can we learn from his personal background, his performance in the campaign, and his first year in office? Though up to the minute in terms of issues and Washington gossip, Sam Smith reaches beyond the score-card approach to locate Clinton within the cultureNpolitical, social, and economicNof our times. The portraitNof us and himNis a cautionary if not chilling story of where we are and where we may be headed. It behooves all ardent supporters of Clinton, and all who care about the state of our state, to read this book. Chapters 1 and 2 deal with the campaign (especially the myths the Clintonites created about themselves and the failings of the press) and the first year in office (including the failed nomination, communication crises, and the budget debate). A penetrating third chapter gives the first usable outline of Clintonism, describing the ideology that lies behind the PresidentOs contradictory statements, broken promises, mutating policies and claims to rise above ideology.Chapters 4 and 5 dissect first the Washington system and its immutability and then, using numerous examples, show how the American political culture frequently opposes its own interests. A final chapter offers a new vision of how to bring American politics home, based on community rather than elitist generated systems.