Playing with fire : the 1968 election and the transformation of American politics / Lawrence O'Donnell.
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- ISBN: 9780399563140
- ISBN: 0399563148
- Physical Description: 484 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
- Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2017.
- Copyright: ©2017
Contents / Notes
Includes bibliographical references (pages 431-470) and index.
Seizing the moment -- Declaring war -- "Why isn't he a priest?" -- Sleepy Hollow -- "A hard and harsh moral judgment" -- Dump Johnson -- The general -- "We will never be young again" -- Old politics -- "A decent interval" -- Peace with honor -- Peter the hermit -- "Clean for Gene" -- The new Nixon -- "Nixon's the one" -- "Abigail said no" -- The poor people's campaign -- "Something bad is going to come of this" -- "Stand up and be counted" -- "It's not important what happens to me" -- "I've seen the promised land" -- The happy warrior -- Don't lose -- "Everything's going to be okay" -- Stop Nixon -- "Great television" -- The last liberal standing -- The peace plank -- "The whole world's watching" -- "The government of people in exile" -- The perfect crime -- Epilogue.
The celebrated host of MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell presents an account of the 1968 presidential election to evaluate its lasting influence on American politics and the Democratic party, exploring the pivotal roles of RFK and McCarthy, two high-profile assassinations and the Chicago riots.
"The 1968 U.S. Presidential election was the young Lawrence O'Donnell's political awakening, and in the decades since it has remained one of his abiding fascinations. For years he has deployed one of America's shrewdest political minds to understanding its dynamics, not just because it is fascinating in itself, but because in it is contained the essence of what makes America different, and how we got to where we are now. Playing With Fire represents O'Donnell's master class in American electioneering, embedded in the epic human drama of a system, and a country, coming apart at the seams in real time. Nothing went according to the script. LBJ was confident he'd dispatch Nixon, the GOP frontrunner; Johnson's greatest fear and real nemesis was RFK. But Kennedy and his team, despite their loathing of the president, weren't prepared to challenge their own party's incumbent. Then, out of nowhere, Eugene McCarthy shocked everyone with his disloyalty and threw his hat in the ring to run against the president and the Vietnam War. A revolution seemed to be taking place, and LBJ, humiliated and bitter, began to look mortal. Then RFK leapt in, LBJ dropped out, and all hell broke loose. Two assassinations and a week of bloody riots in Chicago around the Democratic Convention later, and the old Democratic Party was a smoldering ruin, and, in the last triumph of old machine politics, Hubert Humphrey stood alone in the wreckage. Suddenly Nixon was in the lead, having masterfully maintained a smooth façade behind which he feverishly held his party's right and left wings in the fold, through a succession of ruthless maneuvers to see off George Romney, Nelson Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, and the great outside threat to his new Southern Strategy, the arch-segregationist George Wallace. But then, amazingly, Humphrey began to close, and so, in late October, Nixon pulled off one of the greatest dirty tricks in American political history, an act that may well meet the statutory definition of treason. The tone was set for Watergate and all else that was to follow, all the way through to today."--Dust jacket flaps.