SENATOR FOR SALE: An Unauthorized Biography of Senator Bob Dole by Stanley G. Hilton

SENATOR FOR SALE: An Unauthorized Biography of Senator Bob Dole

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An extremely unflattering portrait of Senator Robert Dole. A San Francisco lawyer and 1979--80 Dole aide, Hilton puts the Kansas senator on trial, presenting a mass of accusatory evidence to prove that the Senate majority leader and Republican presidential candidate is a cynical, vindictive professional politician obsessed with fundraising and devoid of principles. Hilton's arguments are interesting and provocative, but far from conclusive. For one, there is no rebuttal from the accused, who declined to be interviewed. For another, the sins Hilton alleges are the well-documented practices of legions of politicians and can as easily be seen as the sins of our political system. These allegations include dependence on money from political action committees; a never-ending quest for campaign financing; favors done for corporations and special interest groups in exchange for money and support; punishments dealt those who back other candidates; the cold shoulder given friends and aides when they become liabilities; violations of campaign financing laws; and a habit of changing positions on issues to suit the political winds. Hilton damages his case by dabbling in pop psychology, attempting to link Dole's behavior to his relationship with his father, for instance, or to the war wounds that left him permanently disabled. Despite the author's obvious prejudices and the book's drawbacks--including the sometimes numbing and repetitive recitation of details--Hilton has compiled a large volume of information, primarily from the public record. The book could prove a valuable resource in the 1996 presidential campaign, assuming that Dole is given a fair chance to respond. A sharp, but not totally effective, attack on one of the most powerful politicians in America today from a man who clearly doesn't want Robert Dole to become president.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's