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2010-09-04 17:12:41
chris matthews

Book Summary
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  1. Chapter 1: It’s Not Who You Know; It’s Who You Get to Know
    This chapter highlights the power of the one-on-one conversation/relationship and it’s potential as a political tool.During the Great Depression, Lyndon B. Johnson would stay at the Dodge Hotel, which had become a boarding place for many of the United States senators. Despite his lack of charisma and clumsy behavior, Johnson would accost any Congressman that he could using what is now known as retail politics – approaching a customer once a at a time. Johnson failed miserably on T.V, but individually he was able to figure out the exact motives of others and use that to curry favor without seeming an annoyance.One of the biggest things Johnson did was realize the importance of party cloakrooms, which had become places for congressman and senators to “hang out” in their off time. Johnson quickly separated the sharks from the minnows, the leaders from the followers. For example he realized that one very exclusive club (just Senators in very close work) in the Senate was led by Richard Russell. He decided to approached him by becoming appointed to his committee. He made sure to create a relationship beyond a professional level – inviting Russell to dinner, and staying as long as he did after work. This type of treatment has become known as the Johnson Treatment. Some describe this treatment as the ability to make your (the intended audience) concerns seem like the most important in the world. Good politicians get to know a lot of politicians. Lyndon Johnson would take four showers a day and brush his teeth over and over again so he would be in the same room with a bunch of politicians and he could talk to them briefly and make good connections. Lyndon Johnson also hired a man who would later turn corrupt named "Bobby" Baker who answered phones for the White House cloak room (a cloak room is like the break room for politicians.) With Bobby Baker, Johnson was able to know the inner workings of politics. Ronald Reagan also worked very hard to have good relationships in politics although he talked about Washington as if he'd never visited the place.Lyndon Johnson used a specific method to get to know important people called retail politic. In retail politics, a politician wins over one person at a time by learning about them specifically. Unlike LBJ and Reagan, Jimmy Carter lacked the charsima to win over people. Then Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill asked for seats to the inauguration ceremony, Carter offered him seats in the back of the hall; this incident hurt his support from the Speaker for many years.The author ends this chapter by explaining that he himself got to his position by networking with many important people.
  2. Chapter 2: All Politics is Local
    People always care about what is closest to them. Keeping in mind what these people care about is important in gaining votes or acceptance. Here are the examples Matthews uses:- Edward J. Patten is able to win primary over a tough anti-wart candidate by placing ads emphasizing opposition is not a local person.- Al Ullman loses reelection to Senate position because he “did not visit home enough”- Lawton Chiles of Florida keep local favor by refusing to dress in typical Washington style.- Tip O’Neill defeats criticism by naming certain bridges that new national regulation will help. (Makes a wholesale problem a retail one)- Rostenkwoski eliminates taxes to appease fellow House Members who are pressured by corporate lobbyists ( no tax allow corporation thrive)- FDR makes a deal with Kennedy which allows Kennedy’s sons to thrive (FDR found what mattered the most)- Another Kennedy is defeated by Robert Byrd who simply plays on local favors and street-level appeal. Kennedy seemed to “superioir” and focused on issues that were not local.- McCarthy played upon reporters constant need of stories, and fed them stories to his liking.-- Nixon needs backing of the governor Earl Warren (who was running against FDR’s son) for Senate Election. Nixon forces his opposition (Douglas) to advocate FDR’s son by paying reporters to ask if she endorsed the presidents son. When she did, Nixon reports this to Warren, and Warren is forced to advocate Nixon. However, a similar plan to help “wokring families” proved extremely effective as gave help to those who “deserved” it. This short commercial by Harris Wofford won him the election because it kept him middle class votes. Hillary lost middle class votes because they felt their money was helping bums. When a politician becomes too disconnected from his home base and gives the impression that he did more than make good in Washington DC he can lose his base. He should give people the sense that he never left town in the first place."If the politician is present in person he can discover disorders in the bud and prevent them from developing but if he is at a distance in some remote part, they come to him only by hearsay and thus, when they are got to a head, are commonly incurable" -Machiavelli He should dress like the common person or else people will sense that he's not a common person and reject him. Harris Wofford knew this when he made a commercial that was pro universal health care that said "if the criminal has a right to an attorney, the working family has a right to a doctor." He gave a sense that he knew the people and that made them feel empowered. When Hilary Clinton tried to sell her health care plan she made people feel like the hard working would be paying for the poor and lazy and so people rejected it. Famed Communist catcher McCarthy is said to have used this tactic when working with reporters.
  3. Chapter 3: It’s Better to Receive Than to Give
    • This chapter of Hardball discusses the methods necessary to gain power by asking people for a favor. This will allow the person to come back and do favors, and eventually a loyalty will form. The chapter cites an example of a campaign manager not allowing a volunteer to leave the campaign without doing anything. Best Quote for ch: "How can you vote against someone who slept on your couch?" Ross Perot: Billionaire ask for people votes, forget 2 party system Carter: Starts campaign from ground through favors, ask losers to join his side. Big names help fundraise and get support in 76 elections, small people use to get a name. State to State stay out houses supporters, and strong loyalty build. “cant vote against if sleep on ur bed”JFK: go door to door ask working class for votes (irish, catholic, Armenian), people sign up to help and donate money, send campaign director to get local governors and AFL-CIO treasurer supportPPl no like taken for granted – Tip O’Neill “people like being asked..”Friends and contributors Corbin – low license plate please = just want to be in the crowd.
    • If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor. Ross Perot told the country he would run if regular people would buck the two-party establishment, cut through the red tape and get his name put on the ballot of all fifty states. It was a good plan because people felt energized and excited and wanted to change things and make Ross Perot president. By recruiting these people who otherwise may have not joined politics he created a massive political movement that rivaled the two major parties. Jimmy Carter hired people who worked on failed campaigns to work for him because he knew they were looking for work and would appreciate the invitation. People don't mind being used, and actually prefer it because they want to be involved, they just don't like being taken for granted. Ed Kennedy would actually stat at supporters' houses, the idea being "how can you vote against someone who slept on your couch?" It's good to let people do you favors because it's as if they're betting on you. Once they start doing stuff for you it's int heir interest that you win otherwise all their favors went to waste. Also, it's much more difficult to criticize someone whom you're advising and helping because their mistakes are seen as partially your fault
  4. Chapter 4 - Dance with the One that Brung Ya
    • This chapter discusses the issues of loyalty maintaining a good relationship with those that helped you get power. The chapter cites examples of Reagan supporting numerous conservative media as well as several conservative leaders, after his election into the presidency. The chapter also goes on to explain how to keep the relationship strong even after many years: "I remember what you've done for me. But what in hell have you done for me recently?" Bush: Taxes, raises after promise wont Tip O Neill: “Digger” Reagan: always made sure to gain courtship of strong conservatives, attend journal anniversaries etc.., Played on conservative movement of Republican Party, and made sure to gain their favor and act in their cause – except Iran Loyalty very important: Connally (Democrat for Nixon good but fail as Repub.) and Lindsay (because lost nomination for Repub and when try run as Dem.)
    • Always be loyal. Nobody trusts a traitor and reputations are hard to build up again. Some argue that a good personality and the ability to communicate are all that matter. However John B Connally and John V Lindsay of New York had first rate minds and proven skills as media performers. However when both men tried switching parties they fell. The author suggests that in order to swtich parties, you must first quit the seat you are in because of your party to maintain integrity. Reagan was good at being loyal except for the Iranian arms affair. This scandal hurt bad because it was the one time he didn't dance with the conservative partner that had "brung" him. He was caught dancing with the Ayatollah Khomeini. There are two corollaries to this rule: 1) You hire your boss. Be careful who you work for and who you are in association with. 2)What have you done for me lately? You always need to keep yourself necessary. One reason congress doesn't make a permanent minimum wage standard is because they like to proudly declare that they're helping the economy every ten years when they up the minimum wage. There's always a feeling of "what have you done for me lately?" Even if you do something really great for someone, they'll soon forget. It's better to give them little bits over long periods.
  5. Chapter 5: Keep your enemies in front of you
    • This chapter deals with keeping constant tabs on your enemies. It talks about keeping former as well as current enemies at one's whim. This will allow one to not only gain friends efficiently, but also keep the power of the enemy in check. Reagen kept one of his worst enemies, Jim Baker, under his eye in a position where Baker could not do well without Reagen doing well. Therefore it was an incentive for Baker to perform his duties for and not against Reagan. Reagan: lose nomination to Ford (campaign led by Baker against Reagean Scheswicker alliance), Reagan capture nomination against Bush by name Baker to his dep’t FDR: beat then hire Willie Br.Carter: Califano runs free ruins, cuz not put in place where he has to succeed to help other. Califano anti-tobacco, no education board, hotly pursue antidiscrimination cases
    • After the Battle of Saratoga, the two troops dined together, showing that it is "Better to have your enemies inside the tent pissing out than outside the tent pissing in". Good politicians shake hands and easily talk with their enemies. It is a sign of strength and many times they may have to work with each other later. Lincoln had an entire administration filled with people who were angry and all felt that they'd make a better president than Lincoln. This is smart because once you have your enemies working with you they can't bad mouth you and their interests collide with yours. FDR made his opponent Wendell Willkie an envoy to Britain. Reagan had someone on the other side of the spectrum on the ticket with him before he even won the nomination because it said he wanted to bring bipartisanship. Having your enemies work for you makes people trust you to be open minded.
  6. Chapter 6: Don’t Get Even, Get Ahead
    • This chapter discusses ways one can not waste energy trying to get back at an enemy. It says how one should focus efforts on getting simply ahead of the enemy. The chapter cites the plight of former Speaker Newt Gingrich who attempted to shut down various government institutions after Bill Clinton forced him to exit Air Force One from the back. All this did was ruin Gingrich's political spine.Pat Sullivan: fail, 8 years to just get even. Help Herbie win and Herbie does not return favor. Then two next elections makes him lose 1 with pro drug second with anti-nuke Rostenkowski takes power through presidential order, instead of House Majority Leader Albert (after Chicago rits) Albert then makes sure Ros. Not put to Speaker, instead call O Neill even though Ros. Turn Bailey: Bailey then starts over and works to beat Bowles and surpass in accomplishments Newt Gingrich new Speaker of House shut down gov. b/c Clinton makes him exit from back of Air Force One. Clinton try protect social safety net,
    • Always throw your golf clubs in the direction you're going. It's not worth getting mad, and getting even takes a lot of time and energy that could be better spent advancing. If you do get angry, put that anger and use it as fuel to get ahead. When Nelson Mandela was made prime minister of South America, he didn't hold a grudge that he had been imprisoned but rather worked past it. Francis Sulliven is an example of someone who was stuck on one bad break for eight years and was determined in ruining his opponent's career.
  7. Chapter 7: Leave no Shot Unanswered
    • his chapter discusses the ways in which to attack a wrongful, or truthful claim. It cites the hillarious example of Mike Dukakis' political campaign for the presidency shattered by the Bush Campaign's claims that Dukakis was unpatriotic and unsympathetic to first degree murderers and rapists. Michael Dukakis--leave no shot unanswered guy, depicted as crazy liberal, furloughs, pledge of alleigiance Sen. Claude Pepper (D-FL)-- leave no shot unanswered, red pepper campaign, got screwed over by George Smathers who called him Commie and took picture of him with a black man. This was not received well in segregationist FL. helen gahagan Douglas—ran for senate against Nixon. Nixon used “pink card” and branded her commie. Killed her politically, Sen. Frank Moss (D-UT)-- catch em in the lie, charged with supporting violent demonstrations against war in vietnam, then published a letter that he had sent to protesters saying opposite. Published in newspaper and won election easily Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY)- very liberal incumbent who faced tough election, had tim russert as campaign adviser, caught opponent in a lie about war record FDR—ridiculed republican attacks that claimed that he went to rescue dog fala by sending a navy destroyer. Strategy worked. Virginia State Senator Joseph Gartlan—on the issue of bussing, used force of opponents attack to bring him down (known as “jujitsu”). Released clever campaign flyer that had Washington monument with a bus aimed at it that said, “John Watkins [opponent] believes it is constitutional to ubs your children into Washington” Jack Brooks- running for House seat in TX, accused of being commie, retorted by saying he spent years fighting fascists in WWII, would not hesitate shooting anyone who called him commie.
    • When you ignore an insult, to the public that can be seen as an admission of guilt. Respond to attacks immediately and don't let them get away with anything. Dukakis was accused of being a bleeding heart liberal and then went to an interview and said he wouldn't push the death penalty on someone who raped and killed a girl. Since he didn't respond to the attack, and then made if worse he had to pay the price. At the 1950 Senate Democratic debate in Flordia a lot of dirty tricks were played. It was an infamous "Red Pepper" campaign in which the incumbent senator was painted as a dupe of Stalin and as an enemy of free enterprise. Absurd but sinister-sounding charges were pressed including "Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert!" "pepper has a sister who was once a thespian!" "Pepper practiced celibacy before his marriage!" That year 7 senators were defeated for reelection. Pepper failed to deflect the personal attack and lost because of it. There are a few methods to deflect attacks including: catch 'em in a lie so you ruin their credibility, ridicule them to make them seem silly, or use the force of the opponent's own attack to bring him down. There are three corallaries to this rule. 1) Catch 'em in a lie Daniel Moynihan won an election by catching inconsistancies in his opponents' stories. 2) Ridicule When FDR was accused of sending a military destroyer to find his dog Fala, he gave his famous "Fala" speech that made his opponents look stupid 3) Jujitsu - "Force of the opponents own attack to brign him down." When Texan Jack Brooks was accused of being a Communist, he said he'd shoot the next man who called him a Red.
  8. Chapter 8: Only Talk When it Improves the Silence
    • This chapter talks about ways to get ahead just by remaining quiet. Matthews talks about how remaining silent and allowing others to do the talking will allow one to gain information without needlessly expelling any. An example of this is when, Lord Halifax, Neville Chamberlain, resigns the prime minister position to Churchill. In a conversation, Churchhill sat silent while Chamberlain listed all of Churchill's accomplishments to the King. Churchill became the Prime Minister in the morning.Fmr. House Speaker Tip O’Neill—asked right questions, “whaddaya hear?” loved information, Other Fmr. House Speaker Newt Gingrich—loved cameras, always had a press conference in reaction to bad news, eventually slipped and got caught saying “men like to hunt giraffes.” Should have only talked to improve silence.Sen. Edmund Muskie (D-Maine)—deal-making senator. During committee markup sessions, sat there the whole time and listened, and sat until everyone was done. Patience was a good quality. PM of GB Winston Churchill—gained position because he did not talk when asked by Chamberlin why another man—a peer-- shouldn’t be PM. The other man ended up filling the silence by saying that he did not seek the Prime Ministership. JFK—in response to USSR’s 2 famous messages during Cuban Missile crisis, responded to the first peaceful one and did not reply to the belligerent one. The situation was quickly defused.
    • Silence is the ultimate weapon of power. You should always have your ears open and ask everyone around you to tell you everything. Tip O'Neill was a big fan of this rule. Newt Gingrich, his successor, failed to do this and allowed press in conferences, which led to his name being associated with bad news amongst the public. Lyndon Johnson said "I ain't never learned nothing' talkin." Churchill became prime minister because he remained silent and forced the previous prime minister to speak freely about his wanting Churchill to advance. JFK's silence helped him in the missile crisis.
  9. Chapter 9: Always Concede on Principle
    • This chapter discusses a politician's ability to use an oppponent's argument to win a piece of legislation or whatnot. It talks about being able to distinguish, in a debate, what the real outcome is, and then working the argument in such a way as to "win the argument" Minister of Commerce of Swaziland Simon Xhumalo—conceded on principle to the fact that everyone was dissatisfied and named frustrations. Maneuver that European empires used to give colonies freedom. Ronald Reagan—In the controversy surrounding use of MX missiles (large cumbersome missiles) got what he wanted by conceding on that principle, but getting his way on the actual legislation. 11th hour compromiser.Another example was Nicaragua crisis. Reagan conceded to the people that there were many good reasons on why or why not going into Nicaragua was a good idea. But he also basically won his goal after his speech.
    • Sometimes if you tell someone they're right, you can get them to concede on the more important tangible issues. Reagan launched a campaign for an MX weapon that got rejected by congress. But, when he told congress he agreed that the weapon was bad and wanted to do the best he could and improve upon it they agreed and he got what he wanted. The principle is negligible next to your real objectives. Reagan repeated the trick when lobbying for military aid to the rebels fighting the communist government of Nicaragua. No one liked it, but when he admitted and agreed with them that the rebels they were helping were killing innocents he got them to support him and he got to help the rebels anyway. "Yield to a man's tastes, and he will yield to your interests."-Edward Bulwer Lytton, 1835.
  10. Chapter 10: Hang a Lantern On Your Problem
    Tell your constituents about the skeletons in your closet and make sure they hear it from you and not from someone else. Jimmy Carter—Hung lantern on his own problems by listing them out before running for President. Carter showed his problems to the people. Understood that people were flexible and would accept him as long as he backed up his offbeat resume. Reagan—also hung lantern on his own problems when he was charged with being too old and senile for job. Responded to a question about age in a debate by saying, “I will not make my age an issue in this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” Cleverly kept the issue from becoming an issue. JFK—hung a lantern on his Catholicism. Made a brilliant speech that allayed fears of Americans that he would take orders from Pope. John D. “Jay” Rockefeller—hung a lantern on his wealth “problem’ that many people did not like (because he had bought the election in West Virginia). At a Washinton Press Foundation dinner (where many people were nowhere near as rich as him and felt antipathy towards him), he immediately acknowledged the fact that he had paid 12 million to get to where he was. Broke the ice. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)—when he realized that he would not receive endorsement of United Mine Workers President, immediately announced it himself to steal the thunder of this opponent. The strategy worked and he won the race. Douglas Bennet—when applying for Senate Budget Committees’s Staff Director, came clean about his inexperience in finance. But he argued that they did not need an economist, they needed someone who could cultivate constituency in Senate. Got the job. Got NPR job same way. Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-maryland)—brought attention to her shortness with the quip, “that introduction was as short as I am.” JFK—took sole responsibility for Bay of Pigs. RWR—didn’t take responsibility for Iranian Arms scandal, tried to coverup. This was bad. Nancy Reagan—cracked image of being a Mary Antoinette figure by appearing in front of many WH journalists and sang self-parodying lyrics to “Secondhand Rose” Bill Clinton—countered the effects of his horrible DNC keynote speech by going on The Tonight Show. Played sax and made fun of himself. When you put your problems right up on the table it is a sign of strength and it allows people to move past it much more easily. Also, if you appear weaker you can receive a David and Goliath type sympathy and people will root for you as the underdog. Carter used his lack of experience in Washington as an asset to make him more appealable to the average person. During his campaign, Reagan was attacked for his old age. He acknowledged this and twisted it to his advantage by making it look like his younger opponent lacked his experience. When Tylenol had problems with their product they went out and told them that they agreed with the public and were outraged as well and would fix it. Tylenol's stock didn't go down. When Clinton made a fiteen minute speech at a DNC no one listened and the only applause he received was when he said "in conclusion." However, when he went and joked about himself on Johnny Carson people were able to forgive him and he ended up president.When JFK took full responsibility for the Bay of Pigs Invasion, he was seen as a more credible president.
  11. Chapter 11 - Spin!
    • turn that frown upside down and make your flaws into jokes. Put everything negative into a positive light “Comeback Kid” – Bill Clinton turns New Hampshire primary lost (2nd place) into triumph1984 Walter Mondale: favorite Democratic primary, but kept losing to Gary Hart of Colorado Mondale’s campaign manager, Beckel, got a lot of people out for a tv coverage thing. Turned one victory in Georgia into victory overall. 1. hang latern on problem 2. then you can exploit it with spin Richard Nixon’s Checker’s speech against charges of corruption. Financially undressed himself, turned, and placed spotlight on accusers Reagan and David Stockman Affair. Tax cuts for rich. Stockman called out Reagan on it. Reagan made Stockman basically seem very sorry for doing that Jessie Jackson – used race card. Told of Bill Bradley white basketball player & senator.
    • By acting like you've won something you haven't you don't lose any credibility. Or by setting very low standards for your campaign you can appear a victor.Clinton acted like a winner during his whole campaign and ended up winning. The definition of a Spin is to hang a lantern on your problem, then exploit it to your benefit. Walter Mondale needed Georgia to win an election, so he made it seem like a big deal when he won and announced his victory at a staged ball to make it seem like a huge deal that he won. Likewise, when Nixon was accused of having an illegal trust, he gave his famous "Checkers" speech where he listed his personal worth, then he spun the charges against him by saying that all politicians should give the public a list of their assets
  12. Chapter 12 – The Press is the Enemy – Nixon; also “I have been right, and I have been paranoid. It’s better to be paranoid.”
    he press is always looking for the story that will get them the most viewers/readers. A politician's job is to avoid becoming the subject of the story by providing journalists with the juicy story they're looking for. Kerrey (Dem. Opponent of Clinton) – caught telling lesbian joke1996 – Don Regan – chief of staff – “the women ready to give up their jewelry?” sexism, insensitive; on/off the record doesn’t really matter, if it benefits reporter to print, it goes.Earl Butz – embarrassing racist joke to Rolling Stones. Politicians have their own reporters. Never get too friendly with the press. Don't make racial slurs with them (as did Clinton's rival Kerrey) don't say anything you wouldn't want the whole world to know, and especially don't say something that could severely harm you. There's no such thing as "off the record" if you say something huge. Even if later you say "but it was off the record!" it is like an admission of guilt and no one will feel sorry for you. Be very clear with any reporter you talk to what you want, but still realize that the rules only remain as long as it's convenient to the reporter. Terminology: "on background" -a journalist cannot paste the source's name "on deep background"- a journalist cannot post a description of the source (ex: a White House advisor) "off the record- cannot be printed at all.
  13. Chapter 13: The Reputation of Power
    There is a lot of “Wabashing” in Washington politics. A lot of reputation-building rests on Wabashing. The term comes from painting, in which the painter drowns the paint in thinner and applies the flimsy paint on houses and then leaves. The paint will only last a few weeks. Wabashing in politics is very often based less on reality than on appearance, on making people do thing they don’t want to do by making them think they want to do the. As Harry Truman put it, “A leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do and like it.” In democracy, some people get to power by appearing to be powerful. Play your strengths. Senator Edward Kennedy played his strength of experience, knowledge of and concern for social issues and a homegrown devotion to the people of Massachusetts to defeat opponent Mitt Romney. When your in a hole, stop digging. The Republicans under Reagan learned this the hard way when they kept on harping on the Social Security issue after Democrats reveals the letter send by the National Republican Congressional Campaign Committee asking pollsters is Social Security should be voluntary. Admit your failings and your opponents strengths because after that, the only thing left to debate are your strengths and his weaknesses. Lowball- something Reagan always did. He played himself down and called himself an “amateur” when in fact he was much better than that. It psyched the opponents out. Sandbagging- Diminishing your opponents stature by setting unreasonable expectations on his potential and see him fail! Passing the buck- shift responsibility on tough calls to your opponents. Review Nixon’s opening of relations with China. It was a magnificent demonstration of power. Use people's good reputations against them. A nasty trick you can pull is to make your opponent's reputation seem higher than it is so they are doomed for failure. This is called "sandbagging". Another tactic politicians use is "lowbagging" - set low expectations, then surpass them. 1) Create your own commandments - make your own rules to play by. For example, say that you will not attack someone within your party. This will make an attack towards you from someone in your party look bad. 2) Passing the buck -In ths technique used by both Eisenhower and Reagan, one delegates the authority to do something so that he or she doesnt have to take the fall in case of failure.
  14. Chapter 14: Positioning
    Find where people are thinking politically and go there. Reagan knew this very well and tried to act as spontaneous and unscripted as possible even though he was very scripted. He did this because he knew people wanted unscripted speeches. He never forgot that he himself was the product and not his issues. He made sure people knew that while he worked at Washington he wasn't OF Washington.