Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Book Review

This is for AP Gov. It's still in progress, so any help you can offer is very welcome.

I am the kind of person who likes books, but I just couldn't stand Hardball.

Hardball's first turn-off to me was the cover. If you're a supermodel or Johnny Depp, it's okay to put a picture of you on the cover of your book. If you're a rather unattractive guy with a bad eye and nose combination, then your picture should be reserved for the back flap. The book is something of a manual for the aspiring politician. Matthews begins by telling us how important it is to meet and make friends with every available person, especially the people who we might come into contact with later in our political carrears. He uses Johnson as an example of someone who, unable to persuade masses of voters, sold his policies retail through connections in Washington. He tried to make those connections when he first got to Washington, introducing himself to every other congressional secretary. Later, when he was elected to congress, he did his research, learning everything there was to know about the habits of his fellow Democratic senators. He would persuade them one by one, that they were the most important person to him and that he cared about the things that they wanted. Johnson was an old style politician, never fully understanding television and the huge role that it would soon play in national politics, and choosing to avoid cameras at a time when many others would have welcomed them. Matthews then moves on to discussing the contrasting strategies of Carter and Regan. Carter, running as an outsider to Washington, never associated with influential Democrats and even sold the presidental yacht, which had been useful in persuading congresmen to pass bits of legislation. Regan was much smarter in his strategy, running on the same kind of outsider platform, yet he managed to make friends with influential people, which ended up being rather useful to him. Next, Matthews goes on to explain how all politics is local, a chapter that can be boiled down to one sentence: No mattter how big you get, don't forget the people who got you there. In the third chapter, we learn how to enlist supporters who care an awful lot about your cause. If they feel as though they've helped you, they're invested in you. Once they're invested in you, they'll do anything to help you win. In this chapter, Matthews uses Carter to explain the perfect way to create a network of supporters. Carter would round up Democratic candidates who had lost their races and enlist them and their supporters. The people who had lost would be looking for something new and someone who wasn't like the standard presidental candidate. Before his candidacy, Carter was a nobody, but this network that he had created made him into someone who was the underdog, with lots of underdog supporters. The Kennedys had a similar strategy, in which they asked their costituants to help them gain office, and when they were elected, they had supporters, not just voters on their side. The next chapter focuses on the party equivilant of being loyal to your voters, which is keeping your promises. If you say you'll never raise taxes, you should never raise taxes, no matter who in washington is pressuring you to do so. Your party helped you get where you are, and you have to do the things they expect you to do. This also means that it's mandatory to associate yourself with the right kind of people. If there's a scandal involving someone who you're close to, the scandal can bring you down too. The next chapter has a very simple point, which is to watch your enemies far more closely than you would ever watch your friends. The sixth chapter follows trend and tells us the entire point of the chapter in the title, which is “Don't get mad; don't get even; get ahead” Instead of getting mad and, most likely, doing something stupid, just ignore it and move on. Matthews uses the example of a campaign manager on a vandetta to get rid of a former employer. He was successful, but it was unnessecary and, frankly, quite silly. At the end of the chapter, he uses an example of Newt Gingrich causing the shut down of the government all because he had to sit at the back of Air Force One. Matthews hits the point home that getting even in politics will only succeed in making you look foolish. The next chapter focuses on how to react when you're criticized. Matthews reccomends catching everything thrown at you and either refuting it or admitting to it and doing your very best to spin it. One way to spin things is to hang a lantern on your defects. If you're not from washington and you aren't nearly as influential as other candidates, you say that you don't come from washington and you're just a regular guy, someone they can identify with. The next chapter is obvious in it's point, but so many people miss it. No one, especially not a politician, should ever talk unless they know they're going to say something that makes them look smart. When you're silent, you're always the smartest one in the room. When you dare to open your mouth, it gets to be questionable. The chapter after this focuses on how to persuade others, agreeing with them on point after point, and then bringing them over to your side for a single point, the one thing you disagree upon. The next chapter focuses on the exact same thing as the third chapter ago, in reacting to criticism. Most authors would have combined reiterative chapters, but not our dear friend Matthews. Nope, he gives us the same stupid message over and over. Thanks for that. The next chapter goes on and on about the same concept, spinning news so that it suits your interests. The rest of the stupidest fucking book that I've ever read goes on and on about the. Same. Exact. Thing.

No one cares. Also, the author is ugly.

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