Rumors, Leaks, Threats, and Other Useful Tactics from City Hall
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A primer of commonsense advice for the political outsider considering a run for office.

Rauch (Politics, not reviewed), a former cog in the Ed Koch New York mayoral machine who’s currently mayor of Beaufort, South Carolina, comes to the topic as a veteran, and he comes at the topic in plain-speak. Before seeking office, he suggests, distinguish yourself in some way, get something needful accomplished to garner credit in the voters’ eyes. When running, tailor your efforts to benefit as many constituent groups as possible; be seen with as many ethnic, neighborhood, and religious organizations as possible. Get money from as many sources as possible, but don’t forget the company in a company town—it makes the place tick. Not all is sweet and nice: Rauch isn’t above bad-mouthing (“get someone else who is unconnected to you to do the dirty work”); he believes in the art of the leak and the spin (when it is solid or there is an appropriate fall-back position), and he counsels on how to run for cover, or as he puts it, “someone to hide behind.” He tries unconvincingly for a Machiavellian edge, but despite his instructions in skullduggery, he’s really an affable guy, promising only what he can deliver and not straying from his principles, which may or may not be to the reader’s taste. The term “representative,” however, hasn’t yet lost all meaning for Rauch.

The dope on how to get the drop on a small-town political scene.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-27855-5
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2004


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by Ed Rendell