AGAINST ALL ENEMIES by Ervin & Ben J. Wattenberg Duggan


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Washington speechwriter Duggan and political analyst Wattenberg have fallen into nearly every one of the inside-Washington traps that Full Disclosure (p. 450) so deftly sidestepped: glorification Of the gee-whiz White House aide, oversimplification of complex issues, and dÉjà vu moralizing about ""your world, our world, this little world of politics and hustle and stop-at-nothing ambition."" The soon-tobe-disillusioned speechwriter is John Cardwell, who rises in the W.H. ranks while Pres. Carlton Rattigan faces, in an election year, what could be ""another Vietnam""--Marxist Chile is out to spread the Red into Bolivia, and US troops are among those dying to protect faraway South American borders. Veep Abner Hoffman, a neo-isolationist who's ""sick of being doormat, flunky, errand boy, and stand-in"" for the Prez, does what so many wanted HHH to do to LBJ--speaks out, refuses to resign, and enters the New Hampshire primary. Though Rattigan is rattled enough by the challenge to yell ""Fuck you all!"" at a campaign-stop fracas, his belief that ""this country still has a role to play in the world"" is vindicated at the polls--aided by Cardwell's scare-tactic TV commercials. Hollow triumph, of course, and Cardwell, despite the lures of fame, power, and swank newswoman Sarah, decides to shuffle on back home and write editorials for his daddy's newspaper. Despite some attempt to convey the ""airsickness, writer's cramp, and . . . sore tall"" that accompany campaign trail glory, this is a phony, dated package stuffed with corn and clichÉs--and a dubious manifesto for interventionism to boot.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1977
Publisher: Doubleday