How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative Paperback – Sep 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 the Hardcover edition.
"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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
If you want to see what the top of the Republican world looks like to an RNC hotshot (and Raymond was picked by the RNC to teach their up-and-comers just how to do business) this book is for you. "If you don't know who the sucker in the room is, it's you." See Karl Rove in a glass cage orchestrating his minions "like Darth Vader in his life-support pod." Hear GWB make the same joke again and again with staffers (and no one else) laughing each time. Observe the surprisingly seamy tactics of DCI Group's Tony Feather and Tom Synhorst.
Allen Raymond spent fifteen years on the Karl Rove side of Republican politics. This book details many stunts more colorful than phone-jamming. Deceptive robocalls to Democrats from "scary black men" or "actors putting on thick Spanish accents" worked wonders at keeping them home on Election Day. Swapping soft money for hard--funneling GOP dollars to "spoiler" Democratic candidates--engineering repeat contributions from donors who had already given their legal limit--Raymond names names and shows how each trick works. During one Superbowl, Allen masterminded a midgame annoying phone call to--maybe you just have to read the book to understand that one.
Probably the biggest reason that GOP insiders want you not to read this book is that it showcases the in-crowd's complete contempt for their supporters -- "the Jesus-loves-guns crowd" -- "the knuckle-draggers, the gunnies, and the committed ideologue nuts." "The mouth-breathers who who decide GOP primaries might allow people to steal their money and send their children to impossible wars but they'll cut no such slack for baby-killers."
Chances are "mouth-breathers" won't read Raymond's book. I hope you will. The Senate Judiciary Committee can't seem to get off the dime to release the much-needed Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act so it can get voted on. Maybe this book will help more people see the light about why it is needed.
Refreshingly, the author takes full responsibility for the things he did to slime opponents when he was in the dirty tricks business. He did his jail time and doesn't whine about it.
1. He was (and maybe still is) full of himself and that is what led him into trouble. But his arrogance was the norm and his behavior was condoned.
2. The name dropping of who he worked for and the titles he had indicate he was a high level operative. Working for Haley Barbour is a big deal. Being in business with him is an even bigger deal. He is both proud of what he accomplished and ashamed of what he did.
3. But for a few twists of fate he would have continued along his merry way subverting democracy. He is very honest that he was trying to work his way back into the top echelon of the GOP that had been taken over by Bushies.
He avoids the temptation to kitchen sink every wrong doing he had heard of and only talks about dirty tricks he had direct knowledge of.
It is a must read at the cost and you can finish it very quickly. If you are reading it on a coast to coast flight better bring a 2nd book.