Al Gore’s presidential campaign manager explains what went wrong.
Among other topics, that is, including the long struggle for voters’ rights in longtime Democratic operative Brazile’s native Deep South: racism prevailed in the ’60s, racism prevailed in Florida in 2000. While working to make Gore president, Brazile writes, she remarked to a Washington Post reporter, “As a Black woman, I was the most invisible person on the planet. And I told her, ‘I’m in the White boys’ world now and I’ve got to beat them just to get a seat at the table, but I’m ready for them.’ ” Which, of course, led to wounded cries of reverse racism on the part of offended white politicos, who dug up graveyards full of dirt on Brazile: her having been fired from the Dukakis campaign in 1988 (“I had ended up flying all over the country with Dukakis just so he could avoid having an all-White campaign,” she grumbles) and her involvement with gay-rights organizations. “Race is the third rail of American politics,” she observes, theoretically off-limits until, as if by magic, it becomes an issue—usually, the author suggests, thanks to Republican machinations. (“Whenever Republicans go down in the polls, they unleash the most horrific personal attacks on a candidate.”) Not that the Dems are faultless, she notes: to her anger, Gore refused to accept the possibility, at least publicly, that racism had a role in the disenfranchisement of black voters in Florida, which contributed to his losing the election. And, Brazile hints, not that Gore was any great shakes; after the race he abandoned leadership of the Democratic National Committee, putting it back into the hands of the Clintons and shunting her aside in favor of Terry McAuliffe “without consulting the Black leadership.” In other words, politics as usual.
Though not without bland tropes of its own (“God never abandoned me on my journey,” etc.), Brazile’s insider account will appeal to wonks, activists, and reformers.