Political columnists Germond and Witcover (Blue Smoke and Mirrors, 1981; Wake Us When It's Over, 1985) return with their now quadrennial analysis of the presidential campaign that was. In a pedestrian account of the 1988 campaign, the authors provide little that was not available in the post-election issues of Newsweek and Time. Germond and Witcover successfully incorporate the 1988 campaign into the historical trends evident in presidential campaigns of the TV era, beginning with Kennedy vs. Nixon in 1960--particularly the emphasis of style over substance. After placing the campaign in historical context, the authors cover 1988 campaigning from its beginnings in 1984, when Democratic runner-up Gary Hart was established as the favorite for the Democratic nomination in 1988, to George Bush's ""near landslide"" victory over Michael Dukakis. Along the way, they recount and analyze Hart's self-destruction, Joe Biden's choice of words (not always his own), George Bush's rise from the ashes of Iowa in the snows of New Hampshire, the return of Robert Dole's dark side, and just what Jessie Jackson wanted. While their inclusion of personal anecdotes as observers of the changes in elections are often awkward, it is unfortunate that they provide little ""Inside Baseball,"" since the authors are Washington insiders who might have offered more than a glimpse at what was thought about the campaign inside the Beltway. An ordinary, though thorough, recounting.