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How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative Paperback – September 2, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Republican campaign advisor Raymond achieved some notoriety when he plead guilty in federal court to jamming Connecticut phone lines in a 2002 Democratic get-out-the-vote effort-small potatoes compared to what he had gotten away with for more than a decade, vividly and hilariously chronicled in this outrageous career retrospective. For 13 years, Raymond worked his way up the ranks of GOP operatives by smearing opponents and worse in campaigns across the country, including the aborted presidential bid of Steve Forbes. Besides documenting such ingenious strategies as arranging for phone calls during the Super Bowl touting his candidate's opponent, Raymond witnesses the Republican party's rise to power in the 1990s, and the effects of that power, in both professional and personal terms. ("Bill Martini's screaming fits were reaching exciting new heights all the time.") Though Raymond appreciates the depravity of his former enterprise ("if you could find two of us Republican operatives who could still tell the difference between politics and crime, you could probably have rubbed us together for fire as well"), his confession often sounds a lot like boasting; naturally, Raymond is charming enough to get away with it, taking a deliciously cynical view of everyone involved (voters especially). For those who care about the electoral system, this look inside the sausage factory of contemporary campaigning is compelling, arguably essential, reading.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"For those who care about the electoral system, this look inside the sausage factory of contemporary campaigning is compelling, arguably essential, reading." -- Publishers Weekly
"Refreshingly candid about his vindictive motives, Raymond offers a damning chronicle of political hubris." -- Kirkus Reviews
"Paints a picture of the corruption of modern politics that should leave no doubt about the creativity and cynicism of operatives like Mr. Raymond or the need for tough new election-reform legislation." -- Adam Cohen, The New York Times
"Offers a raw, inside glimpse of the phone scandal as it unraveled and of a ruthless world in which political operatives seek to win at all costs." -- McClatchy News Service
"Raymond offers an insider's look at the world of dirty campaigning and hardball politics. [A]n engaging read...the book is hard to put down." -- Nathaniel French, St. Petersburg Times
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Allen Raymond decided when he graduated from the "Graduate School of Political Management" that he would take the fast track in managing campaigns. Start with a local campaign, move on to a senatorial campaign, and run a presidential campaign by the time he's 30. He's taught in Sun-Tzu's The Art of War, Machiavelli's The Prince Carl von Clausewitz's On War, and Roger Ailes You Are the Message: Secrets of the Master Communicators.
He embraces dominant strategy, willing to distort facts to run smear campaigns, hire phone callers to call during the Super Bowl posing as an opponent, and have urban blacks call normally Democrat immigrants to prey on their latent racism and keep them from the poles. "When it came to playing in the gutter, we [Republicans] were the professionals - the Dems weren't even junior varsity."
For example, in Raymond's first role as campaign manager, Steve Corodemus and Tom Smith for the District 11 NJ assembly race, his salary was paid for by the Assembly Republican Majority campaign committee rather than the Corodemus campaign itself. From page 38 "The awkward arrangement was complicated further by the fact that Corodemus had no prior approval over what kind of campaign ads the assembly's campaign committee would run on his behalf. The committee never even showed him the pieces before they ran, though they did show me. So I knew what was coming, my candidate didn't, and I couldn't tell him."
"One of the first pieces of ... direct mail we sent out that fall was made to look like a pink slip. It accused Villapiano [their competitor] of orchestrating massive layoffs at his summer camp while at the same time giving himself a huge bonus. And it was absolutely true. Of course, the workers he had fired were camp counselors whose jobs had expired with the summer. His "bonus" was what he had paid himself at the end of the summer after he had settled all of his business's accounts for the year. It was actually a very honorable way to conduct business, but as far as the voters were concerned, he was a scumbag who had just fired fifty people while paying a huge dividend to himself."
Corodemus was horrified when he saw the attack ad. Corodemus won the election by 5,000 votes.
The book takes a look at the morally bankrupt ways to operate the system. It's highly effective, true, and a piece of easy, wonderful writing. If you dig sharp comedy and political tragedy, read this immediately. And if you have any moral problems with supporting a guy who corrupted elections, go to the library or torrent it. I'm sure he wouldn't mind.
Most recent customer reviews
I picked this book up at the Wichita Public Library after finding it on Amazon.com. I well and truly hate this book and especially its author for a multitude of...Read more