Criminal-justice policy, incarceration rates. In a farewell interview with Rolling Stone in the fall of 2000, Clinton, responding to high rates of incarceration, noted, “We really need an examination of our entire prison policy.” But as president, Clinton, who had a hankering for signing lock-’em-up crime bills, enacted what the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice called “arguably the most punitive platform on crime in the last two decades.” The policies that went into action during his administration led to the largest increase in the prison population of any president in U.S. history. The number of inmates rose by 673,000 in the Clinton years — 225,000 more than the boost that occurred when Reagan was president. Will Clinton acknowledge any errors on this front?
Oh, there’s so much more: all the gates — Travelgate, Filegate, Lincoln Bedroomgate. Will he reveal anything new about Whitewater, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey? Admit that he misled the nation regarding Gennifer Flowers? Tell us whether the cruise-missile attacks he launched against targets in Sudan and Afghanistan were unrelated to his grand-jury troubles? Sure, he’ll hail the 22 million jobs while he was in the White House, his successes in Bosnia and Kosovo, his near successes in the Middle East and Northern Ireland. But will he defend the Democrats’ sleazy fund-raising that transpired while he led the party? Explain the unexplainable last-minute pardon of Marc Rich, a fugitive financier? Nearly 1,000 pages should provide Clinton the opportunity to cover fully the known and not-so-known highs and lows of his roller-coaster years in the White House. But I suspect that even at this great length, the book will leave a discerning reader with as many questions as answers.