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An Insider's Guide to a Less than Holy World of Politics

by Chris Cillizza

Pub Date: July 10th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-98709-9
Publisher: Crown

Cillizza, writer of The Fix, a political blog sponsored by the Washington Post, makes use of all the tricks of his trade in this debut about what he calls “the greatest sport,” American politics.

The author assembles a playbook that helps identify the players and strategies and proposes improvements. Like many others, Cillizza sees the economy as the major issue in upcoming elections, and he considers the effect of Hispanic population growth on the GOP and discusses the Supreme Court's contribution to campaign finance reform. The author compares the passions of Ron Paul's conservative supporters to his own attachment to his all-time favorite TV show, Friday Night Lights, and he offers his thoughts on books and movies about politics. From the blogging world, Cillizza provides websites he finds useful. In addition to his assessment of the current political climate, the author presents proposals for reform of the political arena—e.g., doubling the length of terms for House members, using nonpartisan panels for redistricting—each intended to improve the process. In a discussion of candidates who never had a chance of winning on the biggest stage, like Chris Dodd, Rick Santorum and Alexander Haig, Cillizza grants that it is possible for someone to have a reason for running for office even while knowing they will not prevail. Dodd did it, he writes because “he had always wanted to run for president and would have spent his life regretting it if he hadn’t given it a try,” and Santorum was concerned about his legacy. The author does not discuss the importance of contributing to the shaping of national debate as a reason for participating.

Some readers will welcome the breezy flippancy adopted from the Internet, but the thoughtful should look elsewhere for serious discussion.