We are happy to add another source to our everwidening site……This one is Talkandpolitics ….
Time for a little book review here at Talkandpolitics.!
This time it’s the book from David Plouffe, the Obama Campaign manager and political consultant who was reluctantly talked into taking the job – of building a start-up organization pushing a largely unknown young senator from Illinois to become the first African-American president of the United States of all time. In retrospect an unprecedented achievement and a transforming incident in the early years of a new century – and still an ongoing development in a very young presidency.
So we started out with quite high expectations of Plouffe’s written account of the Obama campaign – both in terms of analysis and reflections on the nature of campaigns, and as a close-up of the people involved. In this respect, the book actually became a stretch and maybe a bit disappointing. The people remained remote and cartoonlike, and it was little added to the campaign that we didn’t know already. But a few highlights there were – so let’s run through them.
First, the personalities. One of my favorites was the notoriously gaffy Joe Biden, who when first approached by the vetting team plunged into a twenty minute soliloquy about why he didn’t want to be a veep after thirty-six years in the Senate, and at the same time pushing his case, having changed his mind about Obama and adding real value. Pure tactics, but fun.
The campaign staff of Plouffe, Gibbs and Ax (David Axelrod) were also fun to follow, all equally excited about the unlikeliness and momentum of the project. Ax is potrayed as a likable messy person spilling food into his gadgets, dislocating things, but with a strategic mind and mostly putting things straight. Their relations to the candidate are scarcely revealed, there are some cheers, some snaps – but mostly remote and rational interaction.
Other issues were the fear and respect of Hillary Clinton, which runs through several turning points – and the entrance of Sarah Palin which really messes things up for a while – even though she boosts the Obama campaign funding. Which plays into the maybe biggest factor for the campaign success – webfunding and new technology – raising a whopping $750 million. Many factors in concert – but still – no internet, likely no president Obama.
Another interesting little trivia in the book is the upfront education of NY Times’ chief national political correspondent Adam Nagourney and his staff about delegate math. A few phonecalls from Plouffe, and the whole picture changed, tipping a lot of superdelegates and turning the race. Not sure how the Times feels about this story being published though.
But all in all – it’s an okay read and a nice replay of the magic and emotions of the campaign race of 2008. As Plouffe is back on board just this week, it adds some value to the book, learning about his style and philosophy. He’s a wizard with media and message – which might seemed to have shaped some of the SotU speech and midterm strategies already. We could probably expect more of Plouffe-style communication in the coming three years of this presidency, which should be better for all parts moving forward.
Have a great week-end!