The Weekly Standard — A Reader: 1995-2005 is in bookstores, and I urge our readers not to deny themselves its many pleasures. Editor Bill Kristol has done such an excellent job of selecting the contents that (remembering virtually every article from when it appeared), I already know which piece is my favorite. It’s P.J. O’Rourke’s “Mrs. Clinton’s Very, Very Bad Book” (which I could swear was originally called “It Takes a Village Idiot”). I still remember reading O’Rourke’s review aloud to my kids to gales of laughter. Consider the opening lines:
It takes a village to raise a child. The village is Washington. You are the child. There, I’ve spared you from the reading the worst book to come out of the Clinton administration since — let’s be fair — whatever the last one was.
Nearly everything about It Takes a Village is objectionable, form the title — an ancient African proverb that seems to have its origins in the ancient African kingdom of Hallmarkcardia — to the acknowledgements page, where Mrs. Clinton fails to acknowledge that some poor journalism professor named Barbara Feinman did a lot of the work. Mrs. Clinton thereby unwisely violates the first rule of literary collaboration: Blame the coauthor. And let us avert our eyes from the Kim Il-Sung-type dust-jacket photograph showing Mrs. Clinton surrounded by joyous-youth-of-many-nations.
It’s difficult to appreciate the impact the Standard has had on the political scene because it’s difficult to remember what the media landscape looked like in 1995. But I recall looking forward to my weekly dose of the Standard’s trenchant blend of intellectual feast and inside conservative tidbits with the same sense of anticipation that I imagine folks in rural America experienced during the 1930s as they awaited the arrival of the Saturday Evening Post or Life Magazine.
We at Power Line are thrilled and honored that we now contribute, in a very small way, to the online version of this indispensable publication.