Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Anything For A Vote - Book #86

Title Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap
Shots, and October Surprises in U.S.
Presidential Campaigns

Author Joseph Cummings
Genre Nonfiction – Politics
Pages 293
Publisher Quirk Books
Copyright 2007

Synopsis (from web-site)
Today's political pundits express shock and disappointment when candidates resort to negative campaigning. But history reveals that smear campaigns are as American as apple pie. Anything for a Vote is an illustrated look at 200-plus years of dirty tricks and bad behavior in presidential elections from George Washington to G. W. Bush. Highlights include:
1836: Congressman Davy Crockett accuses candidate Martin Van Buren of secretly wearing women's clothing: 'He is laced up in corsets!'
1912: Theodore Roosevelt is shot in the chest while preparing to give a campaign speech, then proceeds to deliver it anyway: 'I don t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a bull moose!'
1960: President Harry Truman advises voters that 'if you vote for Richard Nixon, you might go to hell!'
Arriving a full year before the 2008 presidential election, Anything for a Vote is a valuable reminder that history does repeat itself, that lessons can be learned from the past (though they usually aren't), and that our most famous presidents are not above reproach when it comes to the dirtiest game of all political campaigning.

Why I read It
It was referenced in an article I read.

The Good
A fun little book covering all the US Presidential campaigns. Chocked full of fun facts and trivia presented in a light style.

The Bad
A little too light at times. He dismisses everything as silliness that opposing parties said about each other in order to get elected. I wonder how much was true and how much was just politics as usual.

The Ugly (my opinion)
Anyone interested in political elections should read this fun book. It also puts to rest the false claim that we used to be more civil in the past. George Bush versus John Kerry doesn’t even come close to as bad as it gets. And it is true, history does repeat itself.

The Truth? (other reviews)
Couldn't find any easily, but here is an article in the New York Times where the author is quoted and the book mentioned.

Mormon Mentions
Unfortunately it was written before the last election or we may have got some Mitt Romney talk.

Author Biography

I am the author of Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential History, available now from Quirk Books. This blog, like the book, takes a historical look at dirty politics----and the 2008 Presidential contest is already building up to be one of the dirtiest in history-- showing that, much as we bemoan how contentious our elections have become, dirty presidential contests are as American as apple pie and television.

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