Author William H. Chafe on His New Book, Bill and Hillary
Preeminent historian William H. Chafe delivers a portrait of the dynamic between Bill and Hillary Clinton and how it affected their achievements in public life in Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal. Both fiercely ambitious superachievers from dysfunctional families, their personalities were complementary.
Chafe brings the themes of all his scholarship together in this book about the Clintons’ “co-presidency,” two people committed to both sex and race equality. From the beginning, Chafe argues, the personal chemistry between the Clintons definitively shaped their political careers. She was instrumental in his triumphs as Arkansas governor and “saved” his presidential candidacy by standing with him during the Gennifer Flowers sex scandal. He responded by delegating presidential powers to her that no other First Lady had ever exercised. Often tempestuous, their relationship had as many lows as it did highs, but the trajectory of the Clintons’ political lives can only be understood through the prism of their personal relationship.