No Liberal Controversy This Time: Kakutani Praises Bill Clinton's Latest Book

The New York Times' generally liberal book critic Michiko Kakutani outraged Bill Clinton fans with her front-page lambasting of Clinton's 2004 autobiography "My Life." The Times responded quickly, making the 'unprecedented move' of issuing a press release announcing the online posting of a more favorable review from novelist and Clinton-escapade admirer Larry McMurtry, a full 11 days before the review appeared in print.

There's no risk of backlash from Kakutani's positive review of Clinton's latest slim policy tome 'Back to Work,' appearing Tuesday under the press release-worthy headline 'Bill Clinton Lays Out His Prescription for America's Future.'

Bill Clinton's new book, 'Back to Work,' is really several books in one slender volume. It's a lucid one-man rebuttal of the Tea Party's anti-government agenda. A series of shrewd talking points for Democrats trying to hold on to the White House and battling for control of Congress in the midst of a sour economy and growing voter discontent. A self-serving reminder of the prosperity the country enjoyed during Mr. Clinton's tenure in the White House, meant to burnish his legacy. And a practical set of proposals - some borrowed and some new, some innovative and some highly sketchy - for restoring economic growth and creating jobs.

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At a time when anti-government ranting dominates the Republican debates and the Democrats often seem on the defensive, Mr. Clinton serves up a succinct common-sense argument for why America needs a strong national government, why both spending cuts and increased tax revenues are necessary for addressing the debt problem (which is going to get worse given the demographics of an aging baby-boomer population and the high costs of interest payments), and why that debt problem 'can't be solved unless the economy starts growing again.'