From the blurb:
The explosive story of the Republican Party's intensely dramatic and fractious efforts to find its way back to unity and national dominance
After the 2012 election, the GOP was in the wilderness. Lost and in disarray. And doggedly determined to do whatever it took to get back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
McKay Coppins has had unparalleled access to Republican presidential candidates, power brokers, lawmakers, and Tea Party leaders. Based on more than 300 interviews, The Wilderness is the book that opens up the party like never before: the deep passions, larger-than-life personalities, and dagger-sharp power plays behind the scenes.
In wildly colorful scenes, this exclusive look into the Republican Party at a pivotal moment in its history follows a cast of its rising stars, establishment figures, and loudmouthed insurgents--Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, and dozens of others--as they battle over the future of the party and its path to the presidency.
What will be of interest to libertarians will be the coverage of the Rand Paul campaign.
This morning at BuzzFeed, Andrew Kaczynski gives us a taste:
Doug Stafford, the chief strategist for Kentucky senator Rand Paul’s presidential campaign and a former senior staffer in his Senate office, was the culprit behind most of the plagiarized writings that went out under the Kentucky senator’s name...
Paul had yet to understand the seriousness of the charges, Coppins reports.
“But while Rand’s advisers understood the seriousness of the charges, the senator himself was convinced he was the victim of a fevered witch hunt,” he writes. “He thought the evidence of his supposed lapse in ethics was outrageously thin and nitpicky. He’d been recapping movie plots in these speeches, not reciting Tolstoy and calling the words his own. He felt certain that if he could just explain this in a neutral setting, his attackers’ petty animus and partisanship would be laid bare.”...
Politico then ran a story alleging Paul’s 2013 State of the Union response had taken language from a Associated Press article. And as Paul raged, Doug Stafford, a senior aide to Paul began to panic, Coppins reveals. Stafford had been with Paul since he launched his political career and wrote much of writing that went out under his name, including ghostwriting Paul’s second book Government Bullies.
“He wrote at home and on weekends, in between meetings and during dull conference calls, on trains and planes and all throughout the long daily commute from and to his far-flung Virginia suburb,” Coppins writes. “From speeches to essays to op-eds to books, Stafford was in charge of it all — and his corner cutting was now costing them.”...
BuzzFeed News posted on the Saturday night before Paul’s appearance that three pages of Paul’s book Government Bullies were lifted nearly word for word from a 2003 Heritage Foundation study. Subsequent BuzzFeed News stories would show he plagiarized in his Washington Times column and in Senate testimony. The Timeswould end Paul’s columns over the allegations...
Still, as Coppins later reveals, the incident didn’t dash Paul’s faith in Stafford, who ghostwrote Paul’s next book Taking A Stand.
“Many in the senator’s orbit had privately urged him to find a different ghostwriter for his upcoming book after the egregious cribbing in his last title set off a media firestorm,” Coppins writes. “But Rand, defiant and loyal as ever, stuck with repentant plagiarist Doug Stafford as his chief scribe. Stafford labored over the manuscript as if it were his own masterpiece: researching, writing, rewriting, carefully — very carefully — compiling citations, submitting the drafts to Rand, and then starting all over again once the senator returned the pages with handwritten notes scribbled across the margins.”
Kaczynski reached out to Stafford for comment. Stafford responded with an email statement that, though not entirely original in sentiment, doesn't appear to have been plagiarized:
I love fiction, so I am looking forward to reading more Washington media machine stories from ‘sources,...Also I lived on Capitol Hill from 2011-2014 with a four block commute. And I avoid conference calls like the plague.-RW