MixedThe Washington PostThe young presidential aide...preens less than I expected in his inside-the-bubble memoir ... Rhodes also exhibits less self-knowledge than one might wish ... he replays Syria so often — yo-yoing between his desire \'to do something\' and \'world as it is\' futility — that it’s clear (if not to Rhodes) he still has a lot to work through about Obama’s responsibilities and his own ... The book also convinced me, despite Rhodes’s denials, that Obama overlearned the lesson of Iraq. The president’s fear of escalation and slippery slopes becomes the reason not to take responsibility for a post-Gaddafi Libya, or send lethal aid to Ukraine, or seriously consider options for Syria that might have weakened Assad or constrained the wholesale killing of his people ... I suppose it’s good to know that in private Obama was as worried as the rest of us. It just doesn’t make me feel any safer.
PanThe Washington PostThe book enthusiastically chronicles Bill’s philanthropic efforts since he left the White House ... The real contribution comes from watching Conason’s exertions as he tries to justify the Clintons’ more dubious actions. I’m convinced that he must be channeling their denial, injured pride and conviction that the ends not only justify the means, but anyone who questions their means is part of a right-wing conspiracy or, in the case of the news media, a tool of those conspirators ... For all the roiling, there is no proof of wrongdoing by either of the Clintons. Still, it is impossible to assess Conason’s rebuttals, because he offers only the Clinton camp’s perspective and, despite his access, there is no sign that he pressed any of them.