Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics

Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics - Anonymous, Joe Klein When I bought this book the name on the cover was still "Anonymous" and the book was getting tremendous buzz because it was obvious Henry and Susan Stanton stood for Bill and Hilary Clinton and everyone was speculating someone close to them had to have written the book. But the reason I picked it up was simple. Back then I worked as a campaign staffer--in a presidential campaign no less, only on the state, not national level. And a fellow staffer told me I had to read this book--that it had the best description of what it's like inside a political campaign he had ever read. He cited a particular passage about the ferocious pace and momentum of campaigns, and I skimmed through the book trying to find it, and this might have been it: We moved into all of this so quickly that it was difficult to comprehend. It was as if we were being borne, actually propelled, through our schedule by a lunatic tide--we were sucked out of high school auditoriums. Kiwanis club luncheons, all the other stations of the cross, sucked into this narrow vortex, a combination of gauntlet and undertow. But yes, this took me back--back to the land of coffee and donuts and no sleep, to all the cussin.' (I had been a rather priggish girl who wouldn't say even the mildest of oaths, a few months into campaign work I was lobbing F-bombs and S-words left and right. It has taken years to scrub my language clean of casual obscenity and I haven't completely succeeded.) But most of all the book gets right both what whets your taste for politics and for many causes distaste and disillusion. How Americans will forgive anything if you're charming and likable. That in politics you sell your soul for power and it's all good because you'll make up for all the reprehensible, dirty things you've done because you'll change the world! But what changes is you. Note, I'm not involved in politics anymore.