An author (and his publisher) with a political message debut with this massive, ponderous novel. A foreign-run business cartel is bent on buying the presidency, manipulating Congress and reshaping the Constitution, but the patriotic fervor of one American magnate, who backs his own presidential candidate, launches a counterattack. In this battle between opposing think tanks, idealistic CEO Ian MacAuliffe is wooed by fellow executive Ward Cowell to join Polaco--a group that bribes, tricks and even murders to elect candidates who will remove government regulations and all barriers to profit-making. Ian goes double agent, giving $45 million to Polaco while he secretly plays kingmaker to Adrian Daggett, patriot, businessman and ex-governor of Illinois. Daggett runs a tough love, ""reality"" campaign, in contrast with Polaco's ""perception"" agenda of smear tactics, negative ads and poll-generated reassurance. Balcar posits business acumen as the savior of the system and business greed as the main threat to freedom. Powerful women figure ubiquitously in high-level roles in the military, politics and business, giving an optimistic, if unrealistic, feminist twist to what is in reality a mostly male dominion. Every major character's love life is vigorously depicted, each enjoying a balanced spread of romance and lust. First in a proposed trilogy that claims it will stress the need to elect functional, productive government that serves the people instead of special interest groups, this book's insistent message, dense prose, painfully excessive detail and unwieldy cast of characters amount to a long harangue rather than a literary experience. 40,000 first printing. (Oct.) FYI: Olin Frederick is a new publisher whose aim is to issue books that confront the Washington political establishment with the ""truth"" about public issues.