Joe Klein’s "Politics Lost" is one book I’m looking forward to reading…
"If you’re a political junkie who’s obsessed with ideology, this book might not be for you. On the other hand, if you’re a political junkie who’s obsessed with how presidential campaigns are won and lost, then Politics Lost, the latest book from Time columnist Joe Klein, is a must-read. Klein gives us behind-the-scenes glimpses of every consequential presidential campaign since 1968, and no self-respecting expert will want to miss it. It’s also a lot of fun."
It seems the main premise is that politics is supposed to be daring and inspiring (think of Churchill and Reagan). Yet, all too often, political handlers want to play it safe (think of Al Gore and John Kerry).
Granted, there are times to "run out the clock" and there are times to throw a "Hail-Mary." But politics can’t always be paint by the numbers.
Another idea this brings to mind is something I’ve always known:
Smart political operatives can make a big difference, but at the end of the day, the candidates are the ones with their names on the ballot. They must have the vision and passion.
Sure, candidates must surround themselves with good political operatives. But the best operatives in the world can’t make a bad candidate a bold or inspiring leader.
My opinion: Being a savvy politico — and having panache — should not be mutually exclusive. Whether this is substantive or stylistic, greatness is rarely derived from playing it safe. A quick review of history confirms this fact.
Regardless of the author’s political ideology, this book sounds terrific. I look forward to picking it up. If you have already read this book, please email me your thoughts on it…