Primary Colors Book Report

Primary Colors Book Report-10
And he will mean it.” What Stanton means, in political terms, is never particularly clear.

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If he doesn't know you all that well and you've just told him something "important," something earnest or emotional, he will lock in and honor you with a two-hander, his left hand overwhelming your wrist and forearm. I didn't have the time, or presence of mind, to send any message back at him. And then I fell in, a step or two behind, classic staff position, as if I'd been doing it all my life. The particular genius of Bill Clinton lies in his uncanny (perhaps even frightening) ability to convince people that they have connected with him in just such a sense.

(I had, but not for anyone so good.) There is Bill Clinton, his undeniable appeal and his ultimate deceit all served up in three paragraphs. This has served to create almost unbreakable bonds of loyalty not merely between him and his absurdly loyal staff, and fellow Democrats, but also (and it pains me to say it) with the American people.

“The handshake is the threshold act, the beginning of politics,” says Henry Burton, campaign manager for Governor Jack Stanton, presidential candidate in waiting, and the maypole around which the novel dances.

The book, whose author is still officially anonymous but was revealed soon after its publication, in 1996, to be the American newspaper columnist Joe Klein, is the ultimate manual on how to run a political race, warts and all.

(Any similarities to Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, are entirely uncoincidental; John Travolta and Emma Thompson look rather like them in Mike Nichols’s film of the book, from 1998.) Henry, chosen, he suspects, because he’s mixed race and the grandson of a renowned civil-rights leader, is initially sceptical.

“He’ll share a laugh or a secret then – a light secret, not a real one – flattering you with the illusion of conspiracy .

Whether this latter is a moment of genuine empathy or not, it suffices to convince Henry that the governor is ultimately a man worth serving and his other doubts are set aside.

Several matters of note arise regarding the scandal.

For all of the horrible things that he has done and for all of the really big things that he might have achieved had he only tried, there is still a core level on which most people feel that his presidency has somehow been an experience in which they shared.

No matter how much his critics may belittle that dewy-eyed look, the lip biting and that wretched phrase, "I feel your pain," there simply is some level at which people buy the whole act, accept that he really does understand them and care about their problems.


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