Harper's Team: Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power Hardcover – Aug 24 2007
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"The best book written to date about the new Conservatives." The Literary Review of Canada "If you want a window onto what is going on in Ottawa, look to Tom Flanagan." The Toronto Star "Hits the sweet spot for political junkies of all stripes ... a crisply written behind the scenes lesson in winning power." Policy Options "Readers are likely to learn more here about the man who leads our government and the way he thinks than from any other book to date." The Montreal Gazette "This is an excellent insider's account of a seminal era in Canadian conservative history." Graeme Voyer, Winnipeg Free Press "Flanagan has been Mr. Harper's main strategist for years, and his new book - which I've just finished - should be required reading for all Canadians worried about honesty and truth in government." Garth Turner, MP --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Tom Flanagan is professor of political science at the University of Calgary, former director of research for the Reform Party, and former campaign manager for Stephen Harper's Conservative Party.
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Top Customer Reviews
In concept, the basic principles of successful campaigning are simple. First, a ground war is fought which uses technology to identify sympathetic voters, and then maintains regular contact with them to build empathy and develop fund raising. Secondly, an air war is fought which involves relentless control and delivery of party messaging, to ensure the domination of one's position in the media. This is the most crucial factor in the winning of any election.
If the concept is simple, the implementation is extremely difficult and requires enormous amounts of energy, discipline,and money. From attack ads to day to day delivery of party platform, absolutely everything is preplanned well before the election period starts. The fine line between success and failure is so close that any kind of add hoc action normally leads to disaster. I was amazed at how detailed and mechanical this operation is, and how everything is related to spin, spin, spin. Forget about idealism and spontaneity! Its all about the polls and positioning.
I am well familiar with Flanagan's style and character. He is a right wing propagandist and a loose cannon to boot.Read more ›
I have read Johnson's biography on Harper, and Wells' Right Side Up, and this is a great addition to the collection. Where Wells' book offers a valuable outsider perspective on the 2006 election, Flanagan offers the insider story on Team Harper and its bid to unseat the Liberal government.
The book is in the truest sense a behind the scenes look on the four leadership campaigns undertaken by Stephen Harper. That is to say, Harper himself is not discussed in great depth - Johnson's book covers that. Rather, the book focuses strongly on campaign strategy and analysis produced by Harper's team from the Canadian Alliance days all the way up to the 2006 election.
I must say I was greatly intrigued by the sections discussing the merger between the Reform/CA and the PCs. Flanagan did a great job highlighting the difficulties of merging two completely different political cultures. It really is quite amazing that the CPC came together the way it did in such a short period of time. Flanagan speaks very highly of the contributions made by PC members of the party.
Being an insider, Flanagan seems to have a pretty solid grasp on the strengths and weaknesses of the Conservative Party. He readily points out the party' limitations with certain voting blocs and electoral regions. I do wish he would have gone into more detail on the 2006 election victory. The book builds up for a big finish, but then he barely discusses the election results. Bummer.
But overall, he does a great job of illustrating just how far the CPC has come in the last five years, showing in very simple terms how the party finally broke through to victory.
Today the Canadian political landscape today is vastly different. Harper has been transformed into the respected, though hardly loved, Tim Horton's-drinking Prime Minister of Canada. Tom Flanagan, who can justly be characterized as Harper's right brain, was one of the prime architects of the Conservative Party retooling and Harper's climb to the top of the parliamentary heap. Under Harper's leadership the once vapid Conservatives are a party that continues to grow in popularity to the point where they are currently on the verge of successfully replacing the federal Liberals as the leading federalist party in Quebec!
Tom Flanagan's new book, Harper's Team : Behind the Scenes in the Conservative Rise to Power is a valuable and unique look at the ascension of the Stephen Harper led Conservatives from a seemingly ineffective opposition to Canada's current government. A book like this from someone with the credibility and analytical ability of Tom Flanagan is rare, and the insights he has into our current Prime Minister and his brain trust, are unavailable from any other source.
By any standard, this is a great story. Tom Flanagan was an integral part of every important move Harper ever made. He spotted the young Harper, who was a student of his at the University of Calgary, recognized the man's potential, and has long been one of the key players in Harper's inner circle.Read more ›