BuzzFeed political writer Coppins turns in a resounding study of the “clash of egos and personalities” that is the Republican primary scramble.
And what a clash it is. The author’s ground zero is the defeat of Mitt Romney in the 2012 race, refracted through the viewpoints of the different players: Paul Ryan, “fucking livid” at his running mate’s devastating 47 percent gaffe; Jeb Bush, wealthy, unambitious, and resistant to Florida Republicans’ ardent wish for him to occupy the job that his “dull-witted older brother had unjustly landed”; Marco Rubio, a “youthful, dynamic, Spanish-speaking superstar just waiting to take center stage and begin rectifying Romney’s failures”; and many others. The darkest horse is the ubiquitous Donald Trump, busily carving out a third party in full view of the GOP. Having crossed Trump by reporting the facts—among them, Trump’s contempt for Romney, who, Trump growled, “had a really shitty plane…not presidential at all”—Coppins has a prime spot on the candidate’s enemies list. He is doubtless not Rubio’s favorite journalist, either; among other things, the author airs Rubio’s snide boast, “I can call up a lobbyist at four in the morning, and he’ll meet me anywhere with a bag of forty thousand dollars in cash.” That’s just one of several scoops that ought to bring this book considerable buzz. Supporters of Trump, Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, and a dozen or so other players in GOP politics aren’t going to like it. However, though it’s pretty clear that Coppins isn’t wowed by any of the slate, he seems fair-minded. A few of his subjects, including Paul Ryan and Rand Paul, emerge as more substantial and more interesting than they are generally conceived to be, even as Ryan quietly seethes over the insubstantiality of the others, some of whom emerge as much worse than one might think: think Ted Cruz.
Solid reportage though without much flair; one wishes Christopher Hitchens were still around to bring these revelations to life. Still, the book is a must for politics junkies.