Balancing Budgets, Bill, and Baby in the U.S. Congress
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An intriguing if predictable autobiography by one of the most powerful politicians to have emerged in the past decade, now host of a CBS-TV morning show. Moving from a directionless college grad to being the youngest person ever elected to the New York City Council to a position of leadership in the US Congress, Molinari has been, as she notes, very much “a young woman in a hurry.” Yet she exhibits—and makes a point of the fact here—an ordinariness that both makes her appealing and disguises her intelligence and determination. Born and raised in Staten Island, the daughter of Gus Molinari, whose congressional seat she eventually took over, she became an effective advocate for both the needs and values of that borough. Most entertaining here are her stories of the battles she waged, as the only Republican on the New York City Council, on behalf of her constituents. How she did so, the political strategies and compromises along the way, are the types of detail that make of this book more than simply self-promoting fluff. As a congressional representative, she continued her independent ways. A feminist and pro-choice, she became a “player” in a Republican Party increasingly hostile to both positions. Ideologically unpredictable, she played the political game as well as anyone, never losing the down-to-earth image that made her enormously appealing. Her detailed analysis of the enigma that is Newt Gingrich offers some true insights into the man. We do not, however, get much more than a surface impression of Molinari herself, the contradictions of her political beliefs, the source of her obvious driving ambition. She plays too much on her image of normalcy when she is in many ways anything but normal. The writing talents of Elinor Burkett (The Right Women, p. 90, etc.) no doubt add much to this above-average autobiography. Self-serving in many ways, the book still has much to offer as an examination of how US politics really works. (16 b&w photos, not seen) (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-49220-0
Page count: 356pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1998


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