- Hardcover: 192 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (May 7, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743230027
- ISBN-13: 978-0743230025
- Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,043,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Citizen McCain First Edition Edition
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Congressional politics can be a dirty, rough-and-tumble game, but Washington legend Elizabeth Drew takes us ringside to an unusually fierce fight: the quest for campaign finance reform, spearheaded by maverick senator John McCain.
Little known outside Arizona, McCain gained prominence when he broke from the Republican leadership and still came close to earning his party's nomination for the presidency in 2000. Derailed by George Bush (whose lieutenants, one of Drew's interviewees remarks, fought "the dirtiest, nastiest campaign I've ever seen"), McCain struck out against entrenched, big-money interests, earning plenty of enemies on Capitol Hill and plenty of admirers outside the Beltway. Drew gives us a day-by-day, sometimes hour-by-hour account of McCain's courtly but tough battle, fought with handshakes here, cajoling there, and shrewd calculation everywhere.
Readers wanting to know how things really get done in Washington have a fine guide in Drew, and admirers of McCain will find still more reasons to respect him after watching him in combat. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Drew offers a focused narrative that follows Senator John McCain through the 2001 legislative session as he maneuvers toward his goal of campaign finance reform. The highly respected Drew, a former New Yorker political writer and author (The Corruption of American Politics, etc.), was granted extraordinary access to McCain, including many private interviews and the cooperation of his staff. She is careful to note, however, that this is not an approved biography. The result is an instructive, even suspenseful, fly-on-the-wall account of how recondite parliamentary ploys, masterful management of the press and public relations, opportunistic coalition-building and sheer tenacity, energy and conviction laid the groundwork to challenge the formidable forces aligned against finance reform. High-profile players intent on disrupting McCain's fragile coalition include White House advisor Karl Rove, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, ultraconservative Republican Congressmen Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, along with unions and various lobbyists. In the midst of her narrative, Drew is forced to change her focus from the battle over campaign finance reform to the events of September 11. In Drew's view, McCain provides a rare example of leadership as he makes numerous media appearances including one as the sole guest of Jay Leno designed to reassure the public after the terrorist attacks. In that regard, the book's title is revealing. For Drew, McCain is a man to whom the title "citizen" attaches as an honorific without irony, the reference to Orson Wells's manipulative Kane notwithstanding.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
An unvarnished up to date inside look at how our national legislation is formulated, processed, obstructed and finally passed. An vital and compelling insight into the capabilities and limitations of our constitutional process. Critical insight into the legislative process. A forceful argument for communicating with our elected representatives.
Who says so? I'm a student of government: Georgetown; AB [History/Government],1955; Stanford, MA [International Relations],1964; and victim of Congressional ambivalence (POW Hanoi, Vietnam 1967 - 1973].
Incidentally, Senator McCain comes across as a TR reincarnated; but that is not the fault of the author. McCain assumes the responsibilty himself. What you sees is what you gets. Don't fault the messenger; read the book and be a better citizen for the doing so.
If one wants to borrow the book from a library that would be fine but it cannot be recommended for purchase.
The book gives insight into how Congress works and how it takes persistance, cooperation, and the maturity to have the patience of Job to get a bill passed. I enjoyed seeing him at work.
One trait which has not gotten the attention it deserves is his empathy. The author states: "...the empathy of someone who's suffered for someone he sees is hurting. There's a kindness, even a sweetness, that's unusual for people so ordinarily self-centered as polilticians." This book also shows his leadership during 9-ll.
Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir offers more insight into McCain especially his experiences as a POW. It also shows how he was a maverick even when he was 2 years old. In this autobiographical book, it is amazing how much he talked about the importance of others and the need to serve a cause greater than self-interest. It is not an "all about me" type of book.
The interesting angle comes from Elizabeth Drew, a columnist, pundit, and traveler-with author. Not everyone will like this kind of story, a sort of short-interval biography, or an informal/insider diary of trials and travels with a famous Senator. Nevertheless, it is a good tale showing in some detail what a national legislator must do to get his bills passed. In this case, of course, the legislation centers around campaign financing, resulting eventually in the McCain-Feingold law. One is also left marveling how anything much gets passed through Congress in the first place.
Clearly, the author liked John McCain, and liked following the thread of the Senator's political life, as well as schmoozing in the company of the Senate's most famous maverick. She astutely points out, though, that an effective legislator has to get real business done, and McCain showed often how he was not a wild-shooting, alienating maverick. Given the author's usual philosophical tendencies, one also wonders what she will be thinking as the '08 campaign winds along. One bet might be that she will be "all kinds of sorry" she wrote such a glowing, pal-sy book back then!