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Download No Way to Pick a President epub

by Jules Witcover

Examines the state of American presidental campaigns and provides analysis of the flaws of the primary system and the electoral college
Download No Way to Pick a President epub
ISBN: 0374223033
ISBN13: 978-0374223038
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Author: Jules Witcover
Language: English
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux; First Edition (stated) edition (November 1, 1999)
Pages: 303 pages
ePUB size: 1402 kb
FB2 size: 1127 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 676
Other Formats: mobi doc mbr docx

Helpful guide to the 2016 election.
Wild Python
There has been much debate about the propriety of retaining the Electoral College, designed by the Constitution's framers, in the wake of the controversial 2000 presidential election, in which Albert Gore won the popular vote but George Bush, following the Florida recount controversy, emerged as winner by obtaining more electoral votes.
Since Jules Witcover's "No Way to Pick a President" came out before the 2000 election, and devoted much attention to the subject of the Electoral College and why it should be abolished, was the author a psychic? The answer is that he did not need to possess psychic powers to see the importance of the topic. He had a long background of political professionalism and has seen our system deteriorating for some time. As well as covering the topic of the Electoral College, Witcover devotes much time and attention to the evolution of what it has become. He is highly critical of a system increasingly taken over by public relations and advertising pundits offering snappy one-liners and spin control at the distinct sacrifice of broad discussion of the major issues confronting America domestically and internationally. Witcover cites the diminishing numbers of voters who cast ballots in presidential elections, along with the complaints of citizens indicating how turned off they have become with the system.
Witcover scrutinizes the role of the political consultant in the system, giving a historical analysis of the phenomenon, its roots, and where it has taken us. He cites the success record of pioneers in the field, the team of Spencer and Roberts in California. Witcover explains how they conscientiously boosted the image of former motion picture actor Ronald Reagan, carefully cultivating a positive image that took him initially to the governorship in California, then the presidency.
The author, a veteran of many presidential campaigns,provides both an overall perspective and possible reforms to make the system more wieldy and palatable to voters. Witcover has co-authored several books with Jack Germond about presidential campaigns they have jointly covered.
In his 1999 book entitled No Way to Pick a President, Jules Witcover barely disguises his disgust at the downward direction in which American politics appears to be spiralling. Whist he levels his attacks at most aspects of the American political scene, his main vitriol is saved for what he calls "money and hired guns"--the soft money and professional political campaign managers that are now required to secure that seat on the Hill. Witcover, a journalist and columnist of some fifty years, is able to bring much to the table when discussing politics.
Cutting his political teeth while reporting Eisenhower's presidential campaign, he has witnessed the business of politics transforming itself into what he regards as some kind of corrupting chimera. He laments that the days of off the record chats with presidential candidates are well and truly over. He cites the long lens camera, the ferreting into ancient police reports and general dirt digging as rules of the presidential game. Adding insult to political injury, all this is overseen and orchestrated by highly paid, self-seeking professional campaign managers whose eyes are more on how a victory would look on their company's sales literature, than how their employer would fare as president of the United States of America. Witcover seems to feel that presidential campaigns have been transformed into a presidential war game with all runners engaged in long drawn out trench warfare and mud slinging. And he may well be right.
Witcover's book was definitely informative, but perhaps it was the strangeness of the 2000 presidency that makes one question the book's usefulness in explaining current politics. Accusations of misuse of both soft and hard money did abound at the start of the campaign, and candidates were obviously groomed by consultants in matters ranging from "earth tones" to the most effective way to wave their hands. However, these matters did not appear to be the core issues one read about or listen to people discussing. Distrust of motives, candidates' insufficient experience, speech impediments, and accusations of dishonesty by association; these were the concerns in a campaign conducted in an issues desert. In the book's defense, Witcover does provide useful historical facts, which in part explain the progression of politics since the days of Washington. However, a valid viewpoint may be that what is occurring today is merely a natural progression in the government of a modern society, not a degradation of politics or politicians. The Wordsmyth Education Thesaurus defines politics as "the use of strategic maneuvering within a group to obtain power or control", and this is exactly what has occurred during this and recent campaigns. The difference today is that politicians use every modern media weapon at their disposal to achieve that power or control. Mr. Witcover may well just have to accept that times have changed since the days he shared a beer with Kennedy in the back of the campaign bus. Not only has the price of beer risen since then, but so has the cost, financial, moral and personal, of running for President.
Based on the titles of his other books it looks like some of the chapters of this one were plucked right out of his other work. Oh well, the book was good with interesting comments and some common sense points being brought up. The author basically takes the reader through all the issues he thinks are causing problems with the current presidential election process. From the fund raising process, the primaries and the Electoral College. The last item being the most interesting to read after the 2000 elections as the book was written in 1999 and it hit on the problems with the Electoral College. What was pleasing to me is that the author did not just provide examples from the last few elections but dug into history to bring out examples that detailed that the state we are in has been progressing this way for years.
I was also pleased to find that I could not detect a major bias one way or the other. His comments seemed to take on both parties and were grounded in common sense and fair play. I was also amused by the section on picking the Vice President. He really let Bush 1's VP Dan Q. have it. The author's insight comes from his many years in the political reporting field and makes the book an enjoyable read for political junkies everywhere. I found I enjoyed this book far more then Drew's "What went wrong" which covered many of the same topics, but was not as well written. Overall the book was entertaining and offered some interesting insights. Given the topic it may be best suited for political junkies.