The inside story of the 2016 presidential campaign, told by a once-powerful political operative pushed to the fringes of her own party.
Brazile (Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics, 2004), the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, is angry, and she wants everybody to know it. Ultimately, this supposedly fiery book, a tell-all chronicle of the election that gave us President Donald Trump, is more a tale of simmering resentment than a full-on bridge-burner. There aren’t that many bombshells to be had, and they’re often couched in rationales that don’t always add up. Brazile inherited her role from Debbie Wasserman Schultz in an organization bleeding cash and failing to recognize its own dysfunction. “As I saw it, these three titanic egos—Barack, Hillary and Debbie—had stripped the party to a shell for their own purposes,” she writes. The author has plenty of targets, and she begins by slinging bile at Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook and liaison Brandon Davis. Brazile’s core argument is that the Clinton campaign exerted an unethical influence over campaign funds, pointing to an obscure fundraising agreement, but her case is thin. Less persuasive are her waffling explanations and a nonapology apology for those controversial debate questions. The author also displays disturbing naiveté, particularly regarding WikiLeaks and the much-publicized Russian hacking of the DNC—although the author does make a solid case for fighting back against this unprecedented interference. An undercurrent of paranoia, however valid, also undercuts the narrative as Brazile ponders the murder of Seth Rich and gets advice from an intelligence operative she only identifies as “The Spook.” This is a portrait of a professional political operative marginalized and still suffering from wounds that have yet to heal. In a memoir replete with profanity, Brazile’s post-election mindset might boil down to this: “You know, fuck ’em.”
A messy, self-serving rationalization of one of the biggest debacles in recent American political history.