I consider myself fairly aware of what is going on in terms of current news, books being published, etc., but I had no idea that Karl Rove was out with a new book, published Thanksgiving weekend (duh), until I saw it mentioned in the fun but small traffic David Warsh blog.
Warsh reports on the book, The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters:
As befits an expert fundraiser, Rove ends the books with what amounts to a literary PowerPoint presentation: eight reasons for McKinley’s first victory. He conducted a campaign based on big issues, sound money and protection for infant industries. He attacked his opponent, turning a strength (free silver!) into a weakness (inflationist!). He sought to broaden the Republican base, appealing with considerable success to Catholics, labor unions and immigrants, formerly excluded groups. He put more states in play than had previously been the case. He campaigned as an outsider against traditional GOP bosses in New York and Pennsylvania. He successfully portrayed himself as an agent of change. He adopted the language of national reconciliation, in sharp distinction to Bryan. Finally, he raised plenty of money and brought his advisers into his campaign – Mark Hanna in particular. And he did all this from the comfort of his own home in Canton, Ohio – receiving one delegation of would-be constituents after another, including a body of former Confederate soldiers, in his “Front-Porch” campaign.WARNING: This video is an extremely boring interview. I multitasked why listening to it.
In other words, says Rove, McKinley was the first modern president. If all this still seems a little remote in time, here is a video of Rove himself zestfully describing what he sees as the parallels. He writes, “McKinley’s campaign matters more than a century later because it provides lessons either party could use today to end an era of a 50-50 nation and gain the edge for a durable period.”
I continue to be amazed that such a bland marketer played such an important role in getting Geroge W. Bush elected and re-elected, but this book is going nowhere.
From the Amazon reviews:
Maybe Rove will turn to Roger Stone for help in marketing the book.
To me this was boring to read.Lots of info but just did not captivate me. Do not recommend it.
This had to be a very hard book for the editor to prepare for publication. From what I've heard Karl wrote the entirety of the manuscript on a stack of handheld dry-erase boards. Karl hasn't been relevant in the discourse of politics since before the mid-terms of W's second term. And that isn't to completely discount the fact that he has no relevancy when it comes to the study of history - cause when it comes to history he has no relevancy...I'm advising one and all to take a pass on this book. I think Rove chose the 1896 election cause he figured the relative dearth of books on the subject would give him a free pass from history book reviewers cause who either knows that much about that election or cares to look into it to see if Rove is right or wrong in his various sentences in the book.