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.
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
Mary Matalin and James Carville
of Pertinent Info on 92 Campaign
41 Carville ran "guru" spot depicting a rival
candidate as a spiritual hippie. Does this show an amoral,
apolitical nature? Why are the 1960s 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?)
Carvilles 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 Carvilles politics. WHERE ARE the politics
be apolitical is to be amoral.
Politics embrace pop/pomo relativism as an antidote
to real thinking, ideas, politics. There is a looseness
here, a commercial slickness.
50 MM: Atwater couldnt handle losing a
55 Carville "I never worked on a campaign
that has engaged in any kind of racial appeal."
one is perfect. I will work for a Democrat who I can
get along with who is neither a bigot nor a crook.
lets 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. Im 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, thats
65 MAJOR! Carville inadvertently compares Dem.s/Republicans
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.
that there is no serious criticism of Secret Life on
Amazon. And no Democrat will discuss or comment on the
126 MM on the Media accuses them of "pack
is disseminated in levels, over timeLeading National
(what Chomsky calls elite media) to local
dailies to weekly magazines. Takes two weeks. BUT Shes
talking here about Bush in the NH Primary (Jan 15 1992
start) in which Bushspeak painted Bush as discombobulated:
"economy is in free fall" "Dont cry for me Argentina"
"Message, I Care." she explains it all away and
whines the media didnt 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.
medias trickle-down effect keeps a bad story in
circulation for two weeks, "its like food poisoning."
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?
173 Carville on Message Discipline:
have to be succinct and clear
talks about a lack of message in the Clinton Campaign
at this point (April 92)
Compare to Horowitz in Art of Political War
175 Carvilles Clinton message became "Putting
this like "Up With People")
"gov. should invest in health care and job training
for its people."
you say 3 things, you dont say anything. Youve
got to decode whats 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.)
186 Carville on Media
"the power they have is staggering"
the media decide collectively and quickly what is news,
they stick to their story
often try to get a source to say what they want to hear
"the original take is the one thats going to last."
(ah, all too true with Jim Hatfield)
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)
of Briefing showed up in media, it showed the Bush campaign
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 Bushs economic plan to actually get
some air time.
flaw in Republicans is to defend their record and say,
its not as bad as you think."
camp was afraid Bush would hit them harder on spending
and taxes, but Bush camp did not.
324 MORE GRATING BS SPIN FROM MM on the debate commissions
scheduling of debates! She doesnt even answer
CHICKEN starts to haunt Bush. Bush loves the Chicken.
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 mans a genius."
352 MM sloppy with terms
353 MORE CHICKEN
did not stop talking to the Chicken."
is losing it?
is my job to inform you that the press is making much
ado about our talking to the chicken."
Bush did love that chicken. He thought it was hilarious.
Hed find that chicken in the crowd. Wheres
that chicken?....hed tell fish jokes to
359 MAJOR LINK TO THE CORE D.Horowitz/Madisonian Conservative
on Atwater Atwater said, "peoples 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.
Richard Secord said Bush was IN THE LOOP in 1986. MM
Spins here, because she has no defense. (And Bushs
pardon of Weinberger, et. al. on Dec. 24, 1992 is never
mentioned here by either author)
Secord pardoned? (No, he was sentenced to two year probation)
mentions the Dan Rather spin job (that Bush coached
his father on according to Fortunate Son)
theres a link between bin Laden, Iran Contra and
the both Bushes.
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 (?)
THE BUSH CAMPAIGN TRAIL
361 Bush is mooned by a family of three, while
his Presidential train goes by. He enjoyed it.
362 Bush meets 11 farm hands in Ohio. They ask
him "why did you raise my taxes?" & "That Perot,
hes got something to say."
381 J.C. on generational shifts in paradigm
no longer judged candidates on their "patriotism" but
their "sensitivity and judgement." (Ref to Bobos in
could never come to grips with what their fundamental
382 MM like Rove later, repeated that Clinton,
"was incapable of telling the truth."
said almost the exact same thing
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)
402 A rare moment of frank honesty from JC in
spin room post debate. He reveals that he doesnt
actually believe any of this matters.
408 MM Gore did not defend Clinton enough in
debate re: "Slick Willie" charges.
says this is false.
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]
never really addressed Quayles nailing Clinton
for trying to be on both sides of an issue.
429 Carville seems to take Reagans 11th Commandment
this a distancing from GSs book?
SEEMS TO BE A BIG AVERSION to anyone speaking the truth
about the system. (Witness the Pollock quote, on background.)
442 JS says they ran on health care but theres
little mention of it here in this book.
check debate trans for Clinton/Bush)
480 JS blames Whitewater for scuttling the health care
reform efforts of the Clintons
this IS THAT JUSTIFIABLE AT ALL?)