Friday, May 15, 2015

Presidential Campaigns by Paul F. Boller, Jr. (1984)

I had a cherished copy of Presidential Wives that I lent to someone about 15 years ago, and I'm still lending it to him.

Presidential Campaigns proved that our modern presidential campaigns have nothing on the campaigns of yore.  Each successive presidential campaign becomes more stage managed, more scripted, and consequently more boring.  They used to really duke it out.  When Theodore Roosevelt said his hat was the ring, he knew that campaigns could be as bloody and brutal as a boxing match.  Campaigns today are grueling - especially compared to those earliest campaigns a few years after the revolution.  Back then, the citizenry (at least those who could vote) really cared.  I mean, a big chunk of them had just fought for that.

Consequentially, as this book progressed, it became slightly duller.

Interestingly, John Dickerson's new podcast on Slate called Whistlestop covers this same territory, and it's more interesting.  I think that's because it has a storyteller element that this book - at least the last half or so of this book - does not have.  www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/whistlestop.html

Presidential Campaigns: From George Washington to George W. BushPresidential Campaigns: From George Washington to George W. Bush by Paul F. Boller Jr.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Presidential Campaigns proved that our modern presidential campaigns have nothing on the campaigns of yore.  Each successive presidential campaign becomes more stage managed, more scripted, and consequently more boring.  They used to really duke it out.  When Theodore Roosevelt said his hat was the ring, he knew that campaigns could be as bloody and brutal as a boxing match.  Campaigns today are grueling - especially compared to those earliest campaigns a few years after the revolution.  Back then, the citizenry (at least those who could vote) really cared.  I mean, a big chunk of them had just fought for that.






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