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The Memoirs of 92
Sander Hicks on
All's Fair: Love, War, and Running for President

by James Carville and Mary Matalin.



Below, we have a raw document, but these notes are an ideal guide to the impending campaign. My notes sum up the highlights of this book and provide a character study of today's modern campaign managers. James Carville and Mary Matalin were the respective directors for the races of Clinton and Bush, in 92. They happened to fall in love, but that's not our subject here. All's Fair is an oral history. Written in their own words, it displays the mercenary natures and flaws of both, a side seldom seen past their celebrity profiles.

All's Fair gives a blow-by-blow history of a Bush defeat, with plenty of strategy lessons for today. You can't help but choke a little when Carville frankly compares the Dems and Repubs to a choice between Pepsi and Coke. You can't believe he actually admits that money is his prime motivator.

Mary Matalin, now a senior "Counselor" to VP Cheney, was old friend of GOP dirty-fighter Lee Atwater. In the campaign, she showed contempt for the voters by quoting Atwater's axiom: she claimed that people's attention span about Iran/Contra was the size of a thumbnail. Matalin was caught dead wrong on that account. This document (and this book) shows that Bush's guilt in Iran/Contra caught up with him.

Similar surprises could await the present Bush's White House cover-up of 911. After all, the same Iran/Contra players (Powell, Dick Armitage, Elliot Abrams, Dick Cheney) are back in the saddle.

Especially hilarious is the Bush the First's unravelling late in the campaign, as the groundswell against him builds. Perhaps under the influence of his prescription narcotic Halcyon, Bush enjoyed being mooned by a family of three in Ohio, as his campaign train sped by. In a surreal development, he keeps talking to the Chicken that the Clinton Campaign sent to his public appearances, challenging him to debate. Matalin had to urge him to stop talking to the Chicken instead of giving his speeches. Then, in what many remember as the death blow to his chances, Bush didn't recognize what a bar code price scanner was at a grocery store trade show. His alienation from the daily life of average people became grossly apparent.

—Sander Hicks



All’s Fair

by Mary Matalin and James Carville

Outline of Pertinent Info on ’92 Campaign

p. 41 — Carville ran "guru" spot depicting a rival candidate as a spiritual hippie. Does this show an amoral, apolitical nature? Why are the 1960’s such anathema to people (like Horowitz, and Magnet and Carville) also in 92 campaign Bush used a letter Clinton wrote to an ROTC director. Instead of dodging this, Carville deliberately exposed the letter (like Rove exposed the Cocaine arrest?) Carville’s strategy emphasizes the visual (spine, envelopes and later the "health card"). The "guru" spot made up 10 pts in one week. The candidate was Pro Life, not Carville’s politics. WHERE ARE the politics here?

 

Notes TOWARD THESIS—

To be apolitical is to be amoral.

U.S. Politics embrace pop/pomo relativism as an antidote to real thinking, ideas, politics. There is a looseness here, a commercial slickness.

 

p. 50 — MM: Atwater couldn’t handle losing a softball game.

p. 55 — Carville — "I never worked on a campaign that has engaged in any kind of racial appeal."

low standards?—

"...no one is perfect. I will work for a Democrat who I can get along with who is neither a bigot nor a crook.

But let’s say there is a smart, well-meaning person who I agree with on the issues who is running for office and can pay me $5,000 a month. There is also a tough, sort of cynical but not dishonest Washington insider who has raised a lot of PAC money and can pay me $20,000 a month. I’m going to work for the second guy. I mean, this is what I do for a living. If you would ask me who I would stay up nights licking stamps for or who I would write a check to, that’s another question."

p. 65 — MAJOR! Carville inadvertently compares Dem.s/Republicans to Pepsi/Coke.


p. 100 — Republican money in Little Rock circulated in ‘91 and created the "strumpet circuit" — but does this negate the "Secret Life of Bill Clinton?" by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, probably not, no one can handle that book, Dem or Repub.

notice that there is no serious criticism of Secret Life on Amazon. And no Democrat will discuss or comment on the book.

p. 126 — MM on the Media — accuses them of "pack mentality"

Info is disseminated in levels, over time—Leading National (what Chomsky calls ‘elite media’) to local dailies to weekly magazines. Takes two weeks. BUT She’s talking here about Bush in the NH Primary (Jan 15 1992 start) in which Bushspeak painted Bush as discombobulated: "economy is in free fall" "Don’t cry for me Argentina" "Message, I Care." — she explains it all away and whines the media didn’t get it right. But the reader feels spun here. Of course, her love for Bush will bias her. Bush really does sound foolish here, repeatedly.

p. 129 — Matalin:

The media’s trickle-down effect keeps a bad story in circulation for two weeks, "it’s like food poisoning."

p. 130 — Bush's Grocery Store Scanner incident [GHW Bush had never seen a price tag/bar code scanner]— is she spinning? What exactly happened? Who was an eyewitness?

p. 173 Carville on Message Discipline:

Answers have to be succinct and clear

He talks about a lack of message in the Clinton Campaign at this point (April 92)

MAJOR — Compare to Horowitz in Art of Political War

p. 175 Carville’s Clinton message became "Putting People First"

(Is this like "Up With People")

— "gov. should invest in health care and job training for its people."

—"if you say 3 things, you don’t say anything. You’ve got to decode what’s important."

— "when you say a little you say a lot. Repetition is your friend. Our job is often taking a full vessel and emptying it." (oddly similar to what David Horowitz says in Art of Political War.)

 

p. 186 Carville on Media—

— "the power they have is staggering"

— the media decide collectively and quickly what is news, they stick to their story

—they often try to get a source to say what they want to hear

— "the original take is the one that’s going to last." (ah, all too true with Jim Hatfield)

 

p. 299 Matalin on TV w/out Briefing (early summer ‘92) on a breaking Iraq story (and also earlier on a breaking Jennifer Fitzgerald affair allegation)

Lack of Briefing showed up in media, it showed the Bush campaign in disarray.

 

p. 313 Carville got into practice of thinking like the enemy, even coming up with suggestions for them. Carville feared that if Bush compromised on capital gains, that would cause Bush’s economic plan to actually get some air time.

—"basic flaw in Republicans is to defend their record and say, ‘it’s not as bad as you think.’"

—Clinton camp was afraid Bush would hit them harder on spending and taxes, but Bush camp did not.

p. 324 MORE GRATING BS SPIN FROM MM on the debate commission’s scheduling of debates! She doesn’t even answer JC’s claims.

THE CHICKEN starts to haunt Bush. Bush loves the Chicken.

p. 334 Carville STOPS JIM BAKER from giving a speech at Harvard on economics. It would have cast Baker as the brains, not Bush. It would have been bad for the Bush Campaign. Did Carville do them a huge favor here? "Frankly I think the man’s a genius."

p. 352 MM sloppy with terms

p. 353 MORE CHICKEN

"He did not stop talking to the Chicken."

Bush is losing it?

"It is my job to inform you that the press is making much ado about our talking to the chicken."

"George Bush did love that chicken. He thought it was hilarious. He’d find that chicken in the crowd. ‘Where’s that chicken?’....he’d tell fish jokes to the chicken."

 

P. 359 MAJOR LINK TO THE CORE D.Horowitz/Madisonian Conservative principles—

MM on Atwater — Atwater said, "people’s capacity to focus on politics is about the depth and breadth of their thumbnail." THIS WAS IN RESPONSE to New Iran Contra allegations in mid-September.

Gen. Richard Secord said Bush was IN THE LOOP in 1986. MM Spins here, because she has no defense. (And Bush’s pardon of Weinberger, et. al. on Dec. 24, 1992 is never mentioned here by either author)

Was Secord pardoned? (No, he was sentenced to two year probation)

 

She mentions the Dan Rather spin job (that Bush coached his father on according to Fortunate Son)

But there’s a link between bin Laden, Iran Contra and the both Bushes.

Also—note that Dan Rather broke down with emotion twice on the Late Show about his feelings of patriotism and his good feelings about the President, but it was Bush I who deflected his questions about Iran/Contra on television in 1991 (?)

 

 

ON THE BUSH CAMPAIGN TRAIL—

p. 361— Bush is mooned by a family of three, while his Presidential train goes by. He enjoyed it.

p. 362 ‚ Bush meets 11 farm hands in Ohio. They ask him "why did you raise my taxes?" & "That Perot, he’s got something to say."

 

 p. 381 — J.C. on generational shifts in paradigm—

Voters no longer judged candidates on their "patriotism" but their "sensitivity and judgement." (Ref to Bobos in Paradise here?)

"Republicans could never come to grips with what their fundamental problem was."

 

p. 382 MM— like Rove later, repeated that Clinton, "was incapable of telling the truth."

 

Rove said almost the exact same thing—

"This is a man who has difficulty telling the truth," Mr. Rove said. "He constantly exaggerates and embellishes." In the debate, he said, Mr. Gore had exaggerated "about being at the Parker County fires." (Locked in a Dead Heat, Both Sides Drop Civility By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA, NYTimes Oct. 9, 2000)

p. 402 — A rare moment of frank honesty from JC in spin room post debate. He reveals that he doesn’t actually believe any of this matters.

p. 408 MM — Gore did not defend Clinton enough in debate re: "Slick Willie" charges.

J.C. says this is false.

Transcript, please.

OK, the transcript seems to make the case for MM. Gore was obsessed with details, about his own record, rather than defending attacks on Clinton. Quayle must have repeated the GOP mantra, " Bill Clinton has trouble telling the truth." at least 4 or 5 times....[check this later for exact count]

Gore never really addressed Quayle’s nailing Clinton for trying to be on both sides of an issue.

p. 429 Carville seems to take Reagan’s 11th Commandment very seriously.

—Is this a distancing from GS’s book?

—THERE SEEMS TO BE A BIG AVERSION to anyone speaking the truth about the system. (Witness the Pollock quote, on background.)

 

 

p. 442 JS says they ran on health care but there’s little mention of it here in this book.

(RESEARCH— check debate trans for Clinton/Bush)

p. 480 JS blames Whitewater for scuttling the health care reform efforts of the Clintons

(RESEARCH this— IS THAT JUSTIFIABLE AT ALL?)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     
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