The Battle for America 2008
The Story of an Extraordinary Election
by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson
(Click for Amazon book review)
Massscorecard.org BOOK REVIEW:
This book is a blow-by-blow description of the 2008 presidential campaign from the preparation for the early caucuses through the election. It focuses on Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Sarah Palin, and John McCain, but mentions the other candidates from time to time.
It's the sort of book that political reporters love to write, straight from their daily journals and note-taking at the time. The problem with that approach is that it gives undue importance to events that the author happens to have witnessed, rather than looking at the race from outside. In other words, this book is has a lot of "inside baseball" -- minutia that the typical voter really doesn't care about. However, the pair of reporters who authored this book are important members of the mainstream media -- so they got to see a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that typical reporters would not. Mostly, it's about the "horserace" aspect of political campaigns -- who's ahead every minute -- the focus that Massscorecard.org was established to avoid.
This is a great book for political junkies. For the rest of us, reading the excerpts here should be plenty.
-- Jesse Gordon, editor-in-chief, Massscorecard.org, December 2010
| Massscorecard.org excerpts: (click on issues for details)
Mitt Romney: OpEd: baroque circumlocutions on evolving abortion stance.
Rudy Giuliani: OpEd: Compromise left all sides unhappy.
Hillary Clinton: Heads movement of women looking to America's true promise.
Hillary Clinton: OpEd: "18 million cracks" meant "lingering sexism".
John McCain: Businesses need a stable and predictable tax policy.
Rudy Giuliani: Mob-busting prosecutor; cracked down on NYC crime.
Sarah Palin: Believes in evolution; "My father's a science teacher".
Energy & Oil|
Barack Obama: Offshore drilling ok if part of comprehensive energy package.
Barack Obama: 2007: Pledged to meet with leaders of Iran & North Korea.
Barack Obama: 2007: Raids into Pakistan to kill high-value terrorists.
Hillary Clinton: 2007: Naive to meet with leaders of Iran & North Korea.
Sarah Palin: Alaska governor deals with Russia and Canada.
John Edwards: OpEd: went kamikaze against Hillary's lobbyist funding.
John McCain: Led bipartisan "Gang of 14" on judicial nominee standoff.
Sarah Palin: Often cites Exxon Valdez Supreme Court case.
Barack Obama: Midwestern "bitter clingers" frustrated over broken promises.
Barack Obama: Promised Ted Kennedy he'd push for universal healthcare.
Hillary Clinton: We need a movement to get healthcare done this time.
Hillary Clinton: 2006: If I can't do universal coverage, why run?
John Edwards: On wife's cancer: "We have a dysfunctional health system".
Rudy Giuliani: Don't strip back Patriot Act; keep electronic surveillance.
Chris Dodd: Healthcare for illegals ok; licenses not ok.
Hillary Clinton: NY licenses for illegals fills federal gap.
John McCain: Party that attracts immigrants becomes the ruling party.
John McCain: Doing nothing on immigration is really de facto amnesty.
Mike Huckabee: We're a better country if we allow scholarships for illegals.
Mitt Romney: Attacked Arkansas program for scholarships for illegals.
Principles & Values|
Barack Obama: 2006: Started from scratch compared with Hillary & McCain.
Bill Clinton: Exited office with peace, prosperity, & historic popularity.
Bill Clinton: OpEd: The ultimate surrogate campaigner, popular everywhere.
Bill Richardson: Endorsed Obama despite intense pressure from Bill Clinton.
George W. Bush: Exited office with war, recession, & historic low popularity.
Hillary Clinton: Initially seemed inevitable nominee, even among blacks.
Hillary Clinton: Lives by Weselyan credo: Do all the good you can.
Hillary Clinton: 2007: Portrayed as lobbyist-funded status quo candidate.
John Edwards: OpEd: Connects viscerally with working class & rural voters.
John McCain: July 2007: Stalled campaign seemed hopeless.
John Roberts: Strongly supported by religious conservatives.
Mitt Romney: 2008: Cast himself as a doer, not just a dreamer.
Newt Gingrich: 1994 goal of durable conservative majority lasted until 2008.
Samuel Alito: Strongly supported by religious conservatives.
Ted Kennedy: Endorsed Obama despite intense pressure from Bill Clinton.
Barack Obama: Iowa 2007: Tracked every college student & high school.
Barack Obama: My.barackobama.com key to campaign, like Wall St to finance.
War & Peace|
Barack Obama: 2002: Opposed war while all other candidates supported it.
Christopher Shays: 2006: Supported Iraq War, but with numerous reservations.
Hillary Clinton: 2007: Opposed funding Iraq War; no escalation.
Joe Biden: 2007: Supported funding Iraq War, against Obama.
John McCain: 2004: Iraq War was "necessary, achievable, and noble".
John McCain: 2006: No good options in Iraq, but we can't afford to lose.
John McCain: 2006: Supported Iraq War, but with numerous reservations.
John McCain: McCain Doctrine: when we go to war, complete the mission.
John McCain: Waving a white flag in Iraq will cause chaos and genocide.
Mitt Romney: Military should have private timetable for Iraq withdrawal.
The above quotations are from The Battle for America 2008
The Story of an Extraordinary Election
by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson.
Autobiographies for 2012 GOP primary candidates:
- Bloomberg by Bloomberg, by Mike Bloomberg, Aug 10, 2001
- Never Give Up, by Donald Trump, Jan, 2008
- Pour Your Heart Into It, by Howard Schultz, 1999
- Where The Right Went Wrong, by Pat Buchanan, Aug. 2004
- The 100 Greatest Speeches, by Simon Maier & Jeremy Kourdi, 2010
- Give Us Liberty: A Tea Party Manifesto, by Rep. Dick Armey, 2010
- The Battle for America 2008, by by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson, 2009
- Known and Unknown, by Donald Rumsfeld, Feb. 2011
- Suicide of a Superpower, by Pat Buchanan, Oct. 2011
- Saving Freedom, by Jim DeMint, July 2009
- Pigs at the Trough, by Arianna Huffington, 2004
- Right Is Wrong, by Arianna Huffington, 2008