Posted by Jason O on Aug 18, 2012 in Books
“O, a presidential novel”, is a 2011 novel written supposedly by a high level political activist in the vein of Joe Klein’s Roman a clef “Primary Colours” about Bill Clinton and his pursuit of the Democratic nomination in 1992.
“O” is about the first black President’s 2012 campaign for reelection against a millionaire businessman and one-term governor (and former general). It’s not as charming as Klein’s book, lacking its humour, and does not have quite the same insider feel, possibly because it was allegedly written by a McCain campaign staffer.
Having said that, it’s an enjoyable read in its own right, giving an interesting glimpse at ultra-high level political operations and how über Beltway stuff snowballs into real issues in the campaign. It also offers an interesting perspective as to how technical a modern political campaign is, and how opposing campaigns throw nonsense at the other side not because they believe it will swing voters but because it will eat up the most finite resource in a tight campaign galloping towards polling day: time.
Some of the characters are interesting too, especially one character who goes on a journey from being a simple helper to O when he starts out as a political nobody, and so ends up with a bank of loyalty built up when O becomes President, a concept very familiar to people involved in Irish politics.