CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Power and Leadership in America by David S. Broder

CHANGING OF THE GUARD: Power and Leadership in America

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KIRKUS REVIEW

After the assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, after Vietnam and Watergate, there should be a generation of savvy new politicos who cut their teeth on protests, the Peace Corps, and the Great Society--or so Washington Post columnist Broder assumes. Setting out to find them, he interviews scores of young government bureaucrats, community organizers, New Right activists, media consultants, pollsters, elected politicians, etc. But with a few exceptions, his Future Leaders are a rather depressing group of ambitious managers and political technicians. For every Paul Tsongas, the 39-year-old senator from Massachusetts who got his education in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia after graduating from Dartmouth, there are three counterparts of Richard Luger, the Indiana senator (48) who is ""smart. . . tenacious . . . and. . . organized""--and whose past runs from the Eagle Scouts to Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar) to ""Richard Nixon's favorite mayor"" (of Indianapolis). Among Broder's new political pros is Robert Squire, 46, a TV adviser who successfully packaged a millionaire !and developer, Robert Graham, for his 1968 race for governor of Florida; Graham is so malleable that Squire wished he could ""clone"" him: the perfect candidate of this generation is vacuously sincere. President Carter is more typical of these developments than Broder can easily acknowledge, but Carter's youthful aides fit in perfectly. Oddly, though, pollster Patrick Caddell is one of the most reflective of the group, since only he seems to be remorseful about the style of politics they represent--survival and ""followership"" instead of political leadership. The fragmentation of today's politics is reflected by Broder's concentration on interchangeable individuals--this White House Fellow could be that direct mail ""genius""--and that could be the reason why no coherent profile of a political generation emerges. Or it just may be--since the age-span here exceeds 20 years, since there is no correlation between age and outlook--that the idea of a ""generation"" was wrong in the first place.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Simon & Schuster