Posts Tagged ‘Craig Shirley’

ALLA VALKAMPANJER har sin beskärda del av professionella politiska konsulter. Men dessa rådgivare har inte alltid haft den stjärnstatus som de har idag.

Craig Shirley beskriver bl.a. i sin bok Rendezvous With Destiny hur det hela tog sin början, men också hur vardagen ser ut för de allra flesta i en presidentvalskampanj.

Political-operatives-as-celebrities were a new phenomenon in politics. It had taken off in 1976, starting with the media’s love affair with [Jimmy] Carter’s aides and certified characters Hamilton Jordan and Jody Powell. The two made the cover of Rolling Stone. Behind the scenes were hundreds more, however, who toiled in anonymity for their candidates, including the personal assistants. (s. 174-175)


Staffers were expected to work 24/7, and most ailments to be handled by taking two aspirin. Going to emergency room or staying home sick were options of last resort. You had better know, as pro athletes did, the difference between pain and injury. What couldn’t be fixed with something out of the campaign’s medicine cabinet – or coffee, alcohol, or tobacco – would have to wait until after the election.

Arriving at the campaign office late, say after 7 A.M., or leaving early, say before 10 P.M., was not only frowned upon, it could get you fired. There were people who would give their eyeteeth to work on a presidential campaign for little money. Both campaigns had filing cabinets bulging with résumés of eager, passionate, young supplicants willing to be treated like dirt as long as they got a start in politics.

If you were on the road, tardiness meant the plane or motorcade would simply leave you behind. You’d have to catch up on your own, then sheepishly explain how you had screwed up. Toward the end of the campaign, clean underwear became an option for young men. Some simply and repeatedly turned theirs inside out. It was all splendidly ludicrous. (s. 455)

Övrigt: Tidskriftsomslaget ovan är Rolling Stone den 19 maj 1977. På deras hemsida kan man se trettioåtta av tidskriftens omslag med politiska teman. 

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CRAIG SHIRLEY har skrivit två intressanta och underhållande böcker om Ronald Reagan. De kan rekommenderas till alla med intresse för politiska valkampanjer.

Boken Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America handlar om hur Reagan 1980 besegrade president Jimmy Carter.

Bilden på framsidan av boken visar när Reagan officiellt tillkännager att han drar igång den valkampanj som skall ta honom ända till Vita huset.

Så här beskriver Shirley ögonblicket:

The setting that the campaign had chosen for the Labor Day launch provided a striking visual. With the Statue of Liberty in the background and the wind tousling his hair, Reagan looked virile and in command. The day was hot and humid, and Reagan shucked his tie and jacked, undid the top two buttons of his shirt, and rolled up his sleeves, but not before giving his cufflinks to an unknown man in the crowd who had complemented them.


On this Labor Day he scored the president for having “betrayed” the working men and women of America. Gesturing to the statue behind him, he said, “The Lady standing there in the harbor has never betrayed us once.” Then, referring to the criticism he had provoked by using the term “depression,” Reagan proclaimed: “Let it show on the record that when the American people cried out for economic help, Jimmy Carter took refuge behind a dictionary. Well, if it’s a definition he wants, I’ll give him one. A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his!” The crowd went wild.

Alla republikaner försöker idag på ett eller annat sätt signalsera att man är Reagans politiska och ideologiska arvinge.

När Jon Huntsman exempelvis drog igång sin kampanj gjorde han det också med Frihetsgudinnan i bakgrunden. Precis som Reagan 1980. Uppenbart för att väcka positiva minnen och stjäla lite av stjärnglansen från Reagan-eran.

Även Craig Shirleys tidigare bokReagan’s Revolution: The Untold Story of the Campaign That Started It All (2005) – kan varmt rekommenderas.

Boken handlar om året 1976 när Reagan försökte bli partiets presidentkandidat genom att utmana president Gerald Ford. Försöket misslyckades men kampanjen kom att förändra det stagnerade republikanska partiet och lade därmed också grunden för segern 1980.

Goda nyheter är att Shirley även planerar att skriva en bok om Reagans återvalskampanj 1984.

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