He was named by The
Atlantic Monthly “the most sought-after strategist in the Democratic party.”
He was targeted by National Review as
the Democratic Party’s “poet goon.” From his unique perspective, Robert Shrum
gives us an epic and personal story of the struggle for power in America during
the past four decades.
With wit and humor, rare candor, and a wealth of detail,
Shrum vividly recounts the real personalities and real forces that shaped the
outcome of the closest and most important elections of our time. We are there
with him in the back rooms, on the planes, and in the motorcades with Ted
Kennedy, Al Gore, John Kerry, John Edwards, and Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Shrum reveals the manipulations and limitations of old and
new forms of political persuasion, from the historic and sometimes
controversial speeches he wrote to the negative ads he created for national and
statewide candidates, from prepping presidential nominees for critical debates
to the deployment of the new political weapon, the Internet.
He lifts the curtain on decisive moments. Did John Kerry and
John Edwards actually believe in the Iraq war they voted for? What was the real
reason the Kerry campaign didn’t respond faster to the Swift Boat attacks? Why
didn’t Al Gore let Bill Clinton campaign all-out in 2000? How did Clinton get
through the first perilous week of the Lewinsky scandal?
This is a provocative journey through recent history: George
McGovern’s antiwar campaign of 1972, the improbable rise of Jimmy Carter,
Senate campaigns that made historic breakthroughs and shaped the presidential
contests of the future, the gifts that made Bill Clinton a great politician—and
the circumstances and calculations that kept him from being a great president.
As strategist, adviser, and often friend to the leaders he
enlisted with, Shrum shows them as they are, with their strengths and human
weaknesses—as well as his own.
Assailed as a populist who pushed the Democratic Party (in a
phrase he coined) “to stand for the people, not the powerful,” Shrum argues
that unlike Republicans from Reagan on, Democrats fall short, politically or in
office, when they trim their convictions and walk away from fundamental
issues—like universal health coverage.
This is one of the most fascinating books ever written about
the victories and defeats, the causes and candidates, the “flawed heroes” that
drive the high drama of American politics. Download and start listening now!