To the Editors:

I read Garry Wills’s sensitive and appreciative review of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Living History [NYR, August 14] with great interest. He remarks that Mrs. Clinton is not alone in being a woman in love with a “lecherous m[a]n of ideals and accomplishment.” Mr. Wills mentions four presidents of the United States and two civil rights leaders, all Democrats. Was this a conscious choice or are prominent Republicans, including presidents, more discrete, more faithful, more satisfied in their marriages, or less interested in sex?

Alvin Rosenfeld, M.D.
New York City

Garry Wills replies:

I referred only to Democratic presidents not because Republicans are wanting in lechery, but because they are wanting in achievement. The following never rose high enough to prove in the Oval Office that they were not “more satisfied in their marriages or less interested in sex”—Newt Gingrich (R. Georgia), Henry Hyde (R. Illinois), Robert Livingston (R. Louisiana), Robert Barr (R. Georgia), Helen Chenoweth (R. Idaho), Jim Bunn (R. Oregon), Jim Nussle (R. Iowa), Jim Longley (R. Maine), Enid Waldholtz Green (R. Utah), Joseph Scarborough (R. Florida), Jon Christensen (R. Nevada). The Republicans’ greater moral probity is also on display in the godliness of Messrs. Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, and Jim Bakker.

This Issue

October 9, 2003