The 1988 Race for the President
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The first memoir of the 1988 presidential campaign--from the bow-tied Senator from Illinois who, thanks to his early withdrawal from the race, has had the luxury of leisure with which to reflect on its pitfalls and triumphs. For his 11th book, Simon offers a memoir that is more than just a chronicle of his own aborted campaign. He also serves up a hefty dose of opinions on just what is going wrong with modern presidential campaigns and what can be done to correct their flaws. Along the way, there are many poignant moments: Joe Biden calling Simon when the plagiarized-speech flap broke ("I know you didn't do it. I don't know who did it, but I know who didn't. . ."); Jesse Jackson, when Simon detected an edge of weariness in his voice ("Paul, only you can appreciate how totally exhausted I really am"). The author laments the extent to which the media concentrate on trivia in their reportage of candidates (e.g., Simon's propensity for bow ties). But he also roes the tendency by staffs to play on just that sort of trivia (as when Simon was almost prevailed upon to announce during one debate that if an inaccuracy could be found in one of his ads, he would don a long necktie right then and there). Meanwhile, Simon criticizes those who wish to deny Iowa and New Hampshire their important role in the early stages of the campaign, arguing that substituting larger states or even regional primaries would result in candidates "of the wealthy and for the wealthy." As it is, he points out, the two eventual nominees turned out to be the, ones whose campaigns garnered the most funds. Simon hopes that, in the future, there might arise a system that would apportion money to potential candidates on a more equitable basis. Appealing, intelligent insider-scoop that deserves to attract more readers than its author did voters.

Pub Date: March 15th, 1989
ISBN: 8264-0428-6
Publisher: Continuum
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