What a Party! My Life Among Democrats

Terry McAuliffe, Author, Steve Kettmann, With
Terry McAuliffe, Author, Steve Kettmann, With , with Steve Ketterman. St. Martin's/Dunne $24.95 (406p) ISBN 978-0-312-35787-0
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The ex–Democratic National Committee chair and political super– fund-raiser lives up to his nickname Mad Dog in this boisterous memoir. McAuliffe is rabidly aggressive toward Republicans (whom he describes as "willing to lie and cheat any way they could"), savaging them on talk shows and facing them down in bristling social encounters. He relentlessly pursues donors, happy to wrestle alligators and sing karaoke for checks ("for $500,000 I didn't mind humiliating myself"). He golfs, dances and plays cards with his political masters Hillary and Bill Clinton ("the Babe Ruth of American presidents"), forever preening over the role his advice and prodigious fund-raising played in their success. But on the exchange of money for access implicit in his activities, he is blustery but evasive. McAuliffe has incisive comments on the Democrats' shortcomings, especially their faintheartedness in fighting Republicans. Though he champions the Democrats as the party of the little guy—contrasting their jeans-and-barbecue shindigs with "swank, hoity-toity" GOP fund-raising events —that stance is undercut by all the name-dropping ("Ben Affleck joined Robin, Marsha, Dorothy and me for a quick tour of the skeet range") and elbow rubbing with grungily dressed billionaires. McAuliffe's inflated self-regard may give more ammunition to Republican opponents than his partisan vitriol does to Democratic allies. Photos. (Feb. 1)

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