Late last year, I reviewed the Mike Allen and Evan Thomas e-book about the 2012 Presidential Campaign. You can read that review here.
Part two was released a few weeks ago, and it follows the first part nicely. The authors do a good job hitting the high points and most important events of the GOP nomination battle. They include some juicy comments from aides and insiders who have axes to grind or reputations to enhance. I won’t bother with a full review, but one paragraph in this book stood out. It’s an astute commentary by two of the best in the business. And it’s downright terrifying.
“It is sometimes unclear whether political campaigns are run for the benefit of the voters and office seekers or for the professional consultants who earn their livings from politics. Media consultants and pollsters are often paid a percentage of the “ad buy,” rewarded for their services with a slice of the dollars spent on political ads praising (or, these days, more likely attacking) a candidate. The more candidates, the longer and more hotly contested the race, the bigger the war chests, and the more money consultants can make. Consultants always say they believe in their candidates, and often they do; but the hired guns, who see themselves as soldiers and swear as often, can be cynical and patronizing toward their clients, as well as manipulative and self-interested. They are generally protected by the political reporters to whom they leak. The motives of consultants are mixed, but profit is usually one of them.”
Gross. Need I say more?
Two points of personal privilege:
First, this summer and fall, I’m hosting a book discussion group at The Mercantile Library in downtown Cincinnati. It’s one of my favorite places in the City; if you’ve never been, you’re missing out. The discussion group is called “Rushing the Bridge of State,” and centers on books about Presidential Campaigns. We’ll read “The Making of the President 1960,” “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail: 1972,” “A Magnificent Catastrophe,” “Game Change,” and “What it Takes,” which of course, has been referenced here several times. Click this link to learn more about the group. I’d love to see you there.
Second, I entered into this GoodReads book blogger contest, in hopes I could scam a free trip to New York if I won. If you happen to have a GoodReads account (or don’t mind getting one), I’d ask politely and humbly for you to click over there and vote for this blog. I don’t do this blog for recognition—this has always been a mostly personal endeavor—but I’d be down with a trip to the big city.
Thanks for reading.