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Books by and about 2020 presidential candidates
Crippled America,
by Donald J. Trump (2015)
by Cory Booker (2016)
The Truths We Hold,
by Kamala Harris (2019)
Smart on Crime,
by Kamala Harris (2010)
Guide to Political Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2017)
Where We Go From Here,
by Bernie Sanders (2018)
Promise Me, Dad ,
by Joe Biden (2017)
Conscience of a Conservative,
by Jeff Flake (2017)
Two Paths,
by Gov. John Kasich (2017)
Every Other Monday,
by Rep. John Kasich (2010)
Courage is Contagious,
by John Kasich (1998)
Shortest Way Home,
by Pete Buttigieg (2019)
The Book of Joe ,
by Jeff Wilser (2019; biography of Joe Biden)
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Our Revolution,
by Bernie Sanders (2016)
This Fight Is Our Fight,
by Elizabeth Warren (2017)
Higher Loyalty,
by James Comey (2018)
The Making of Donald Trump,
by David Cay Johnston (2017)
Books by and about the 2016 presidential election
What Happened ,
by Hillary Clinton (2017)
Higher Loyalty ,
by James Comey (2018)
Trump vs. Hillary On The Issues ,
by Jesse Gordon (2016)
Hard Choices,
by Hillary Clinton (2014)
Becoming ,
by Michelle Obama (2018)
Outsider in the White House,
by Bernie Sanders (2015)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

What A Party!
My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals
by Terry McAuliffe

(Click for Amazon book review)

BOOK REVIEW by OnTheIssues.org:

Terry McAuliffe is running for Governor of Virginia. But this book gives few hints about how McAuliffe proposes to run the state government. McAuliffe is, first and foremost, a politician: not a policy analyst; not a policy wonk; and if elected he will assuredly not be a hands-on detail-oriented kind of governor. The primary skill that qualifies him to run for Governor is his fundraising ability -- he is the undisputed master of fundraising (details below).

But McAuliffe's history -- and the possibility of McAuliffe getting elected as Governor -- are not the reason people read this book. They read it because McAuliffe is a "Friend of Bill" (he served as Clinton's lead fundraiser in 1996 and as DNC chair right after Clinton's presidency), and also a "Friend of Hillary". McAuliffe's relationship with Hillary is the most important aspect of this book, from the political reader's perspective -- the McAuliffe gubernatorial run is widely seen as a "warm-up" for Hillary's 2016 presidential campaign. Hillary has helped the 2013 McAuliffe campaign substantially; at the end of the campaign in November, we can expect to see many McAuliffe staff move directly to a nascent Hillary-for-President committee.

McAuliffe didnít write this book to provide insight into Hillary (or Bill) Clinton. He wrote it to crystallize and publicize his political history. McAuliffe substantiates his claim to be the best fundraiser in the history of politics fairly well:

  • As chair of the Democratic National Committee (Feb. 2001-2005), he inherited an $18 million debt but left his successor with a more active DNC, with a large bank account, and with a working electronic mailing list that had not previously existed (except for Republicans).
  • As finance chair of Bill Clinton's election campaign and co-chair of his re-election campaign, he raised unprecedented amounts, including a long-standing record of $26 million from one event (p. 216).
  • McAuliffe also worked with Hillary on HillaryCare in the 1990s and fundraising for her Senate campaign, as well as chairing her 2008 presidential campaign (immediately after this book was written).
  • McAuliffe met his future wife at a Jimmy Carter fundraiser (she was 16 years old at the time, and the daughter of Carter's fundraising chair).

McAuliffe makes clear in this book that he did not approach politics from the fundraising side -- he just ended up there because he was good at it. Evidently, in 2000, he asked Bill Clinton to appoint him to a Cabinet position, and they settled on Ambassador to England. McAuliffe got vetted, but then had to give up his ambitions because his party needed him to keep Al Gore's convention dreams afloat (i.e., another fundraising job). And of course his current gubernatorial run (he also ran in 2009, unsuccessfully) proves that McAuliffe would like to move on to a policymaker role rather than providing funding for other policymakers.

If McAuliffe wins in November, this book will become mandatory reading for Virginians interested in their new governor. But win or lose in November, this book is already mandatory reading for those interested in how Hillary Clinton will get started for 2016. Keep an eye on McAuliffe's staff after November -- where they go will determine how Hillary initiates her 2016 campaign organization.

-- Jesse Gordon, jesse@OnTheIssues.org, September 2013
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Budget & Economy
    Hillary Clinton: 2000: Eight years of a great economy is not enough.
Civil Rights
    Terry McAuliffe: When women vote, Democrats win.
    Jeb Bush: OpEd: Profited on Enron while FL lost $300M.
    Terry McAuliffe: Started McAuliffe Driveway Maintenance at age 14.
    Terry McAuliffe: TV ad: "May I please have more arsenic in my water, mommy?".
Families & Children
    Bill Clinton: Medical Leave Act made real difference in people's lives.
    Bill Clinton: 1990s: Doubled federal funding for child care.
Foreign Policy
    Bill Clinton: 1995: reached out to Irish Republican Army Sinn Fein leader.
    Terry McAuliffe: 1995: Visited Belfast early in IRA cease-fire.
    Terry McAuliffe: 2000: Vetted to be Ambassador to England.
Government Reform
    Terry McAuliffe: I favor a ban on soft money.
Gun Control
    Terry McAuliffe: 1983: On first hunting trip, show a turkey buzzard.
    Terry McAuliffe: Brady Bill was the right thing to do.
Health Care
    Bill Clinton: 1990s plan: affordable, competitive, universal healthcare.
    Terry McAuliffe: 37 million uninsured is not fair.
Homeland Security
    George W. Bush: 2004 anti-Bush TV ad: AWOL from National Guard.
    Ronald Reagan: 1981: Iranian hostages released 5 minutes after inauguration.
    Ronald Reagan: On Iran-Contra: We did not trade weapons for hostages.
    Tammy Duckworth: 2004: Lost both legs as helicopter pilot in Iraq.
    Terry McAuliffe: Soldiers at Walter Reed are upbeat despite injuries.
    Terry McAuliffe: Register voters in Spanish at citizen naturalization events.
    Bill Clinton: 1998: Highest employment rate since 1948.
Principles & Values
    Bill Clinton: 1980: Became youngest ex-governor in US history.
    Bill Clinton: 1994 Lincoln Bedroom Memo: "start overnights right away".
    George Bush Sr.: OpEd: Pardons in Iran-Contra covered up his own involvement.
    Gerald Ford: On youth apathy: I could never sit on the sidelines.
    Hillary Clinton: Comfortable in conservative agricultural settings.
    Hillary Clinton: OpEd: World-class worrier when it came to money.
    Jeb Bush: OpEd: Delivered FL in 2004, by robbing blacks of their votes.
    Terry McAuliffe: My values: patriotism, family, religion, Democratic Party.
    Terry McAuliffe: We let GOP steal Florida from us in 2004.
    Terry McAuliffe: Met future wife at age 16 at Jimmy Carter fundraiser.
    Terry McAuliffe: Hospitalized while running 1984 NYC marathon.
    Terry McAuliffe: 1994 Lincoln Bedroom Memo scandal: donations for access.
    Terry McAuliffe: 2000: Biggest fundraiser of all time: $26.3M in one night.
    Walter Mondale: Believed passionately that government was there to help.
War & Peace
    Bill Clinton: 2000 plan: Palestinians retain 97% of West Bank.
    Jimmy Carter: OpEd: re-election failed with 1980 Iranian hostage crisis.
    Terry McAuliffe: Acted as back channel between Yasir Arafat and Bill Clinton.
    Terry McAuliffe: Iraq War case built by scaring the daylights out of people.
    Terry McAuliffe: 2003: Where are WMDs? Still asking today!

The above quotations are from What A Party!
My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators, and Other Wild Animals
by Terry McAuliffe.

All material copyright 1999-2022
by Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org
Reprinting by permission only.

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Page last edited: Feb 26, 2019