The United States of Ambition

Alan Ehrenhalt, Author, Paul Golob, Editor Crown Publishers $23 (309p) ISBN 978-0-8129-1894-6
Ehrenhalt asks why we elect and re-elect people who fall pitifully short of our ideals of statesmanship. His unsatisfactory answer: we don't. Those with the right kind of ambition and the ability to ``manipulate the instruments of the system'' (particularly in fund-raising and campaigning) simply nominate themselves and often succeed in garnering the needed votes. While the crucial task of self-nominees is to manufacture issues and constituencies, according to Ehrenhalt, what matters most is how they look and sound rather than what they say. Reaching across the spectrum of American politics from county courthouse to city hall, from state legislature to presidential primary, Ehrenhalt shows how various candidates and incumbents turn themselves into marketable political commodities. Nothing much new here. Ehrenhalt is executive editor of Governing magazine. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1991
Release date: 04/01/1991
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-8129-2027-7
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