Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America

Dan Balz. Viking, $32.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-670-02594-7
Washington Post chief correspondent Balz’s The Battle for America 2008 (coauthored with Haynes Johnson) explored that truly groundbreaking campaign, which left him struggling to find a similarly enthralling story in the race between a Republican nobody wanted, and an incumbent Democrat with whom voters were disillusioned. The book provides an astute postmortem of the election and a remarkably unbiased depiction of a flawed process feeding on a polarized electorate, which, if little else, demonstrates the preposterous expense of the 2012 campaign. Balz shares revealing accounts of his firsthand experiences with the candidates, with the bulk of the book focused on the Republic primaries, in which the G.O.P. sought an “anyone but Romney” solution. As Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, and Herman Cain incongruously blaze to front-runner status before self-immolating, Newt Gingrich bides his time and gives Balz the story each step of the way. Given Obama’s opaque public persona, it’s not surprising that less is revealed of the incumbent, which leaves Balz reporting on strategy over substance. In framing the book, Balz asks, “Can or will the election resolve any of the fundamental issues before the country?” After scrutinizing this season of destructive political gamesmanship, he answers gloomily, “There was little competition or innovation in the battle for ideas... each [candidate] pursued a strategy designed for one thing: winning.” Agent: Philippa Brophy, Sterling Lord. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/24/2013
Release date: 08/06/2013
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Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-62276-6
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