ALL BY MYSELF: The Unmaking of a Presidential Campaign by Chris & Thomas Oliphant Black

ALL BY MYSELF: The Unmaking of a Presidential Campaign

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Boston Globe reporters Black and the always perceptive Oliphant dissect the Dukakis campaign--and along the way discover the roots of his collapse from strong front-runner in August to landslide loser in November. The title stems from what were supposedly Dukakis' first words as a child--which, the authors contend, were also the seeds of the fatal flaw that cost him the 1988 election (and which similarly lost him the governorship of Massachusetts in 1978). Dukakis, a stubbornly logical man, insisted on being a hands-on candidate, therein categorically refusing to follow the advice of his professional campaign staff. But, as Black and Oliphant demonstrate, competence is one thing, national politics another. In attempting to duplicate the effort that had twice won him the governorship--via dedicated precinct staffers--Dukakis trivialized the national effort, turning it into a massive primary election. As one of his operatives stated: ""He was running for governor of America."" The authors show the truly thoughtful Dukakis balking at using heightened rhetoric, quips, and rejoinders, and exhibiting an unpolitical quality of stating his case only once (when an advisor suggested that he repeat an emotional response to Bush's criticisms of the Massachusetts prison furlough program, Dukakis blandly objected: ""But we did that""). Black and Oliphant also present this analysis in the spirit of petitioning future candidates to avoid Dukakis' pitfalls: ""Beware of candidates who start spending most of their time deciding whether to run, instead of why and how. . .beware of nomination-fixated strategies. . .beware of inner circles. . .tied by their close-knit insularity. . .beware of buttoned-up candidates who instinctively distrust rhetoric, television and other politicians. . ."" Altogether, a masterful analysis that gives us the lowdown on one half of the Presidential story of 1988.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Publisher: Globe Paquot