Friday, November 13, 2015

Presidential Candidates’ Books Are As Weak As The Candidates Who Write Them

In 1992 I read United We Stand, a book by a crazy-talking Texan named Ross Perot.  It was one of the first of many books I’d read that were written by presidential candidates.  He was a Republican running as an Independent who actually made sense even when he said outrageous stuff.  He was tenacious, insightful, and a real passionate campaigner.  He helped Bill Clinton become president as he clearly took millions of votes from the incumbent, George H W Bush.

Now it’s become the norm for presidential hopefuls to pen a book that introduces their life story, beliefs, political views, and solutions to the day’s leading problems.  But sometimes these books not only rally readers and further campaigns, they turn the press onto things worth scrutinizing.  We set it now with Ben Carson.

His memoir was published two decades ago, when he wasn’t running for anything, but now it’s being picked apart to discover who he really is.

One media report questioned his claim he was offered a scholarship to West Point Academy.  He never applied to the school and thus, never received anything from them.  It is a lie, right?  He says someone informally told him that he could get a scholarship if he chooses to go there.  Okay, makes sense, but that’s his explanation now and not the way he wrote it back then.

It seems the books of candidates inform us of who they are, not just by what they write, but how they hold up to the news media’s questions about such writings.

Of course, a lot of this discussion moves away from policy analysis.  God forbid we discuss real issues like his views on important things that impact real lives.

The next issue with Carson centered around his claim that he tried to kill a student while in his youth, and that he had violent confrontations with his mother, attacking her with a hammer.  Now you’d think people would be: “Hey, he’s a violent guy who can’t be president,” but instead, the controversy is not that but what he says happened, that it may be bullshit and untrue.

Why would one lie about something they probably shouldn’t go out of their way to make public in the first place?  I don’t know, maybe it was to sell books or he wanted to sound like someone who overcame his demons and to live a model life.

Or he’s a liar.

Some political books are good at showing which polices are being championed by a candidate.  These blueprints then get analyzed and either help propel a candidate or they just get lumped with campaign literature that gets ignored or gets dismissed.

There are no shortage of political books.  Behold:

Ben Carson, A More Perfect Union
Ted Cruz, A Time For Truth
Carly Fiorina, Rising To The Challenge
Donald Trump, Crippled America
Hillary Clinton, Hard Choices
Jeb Bush, Reply All
Lindsey Graham, My Story
Rick Santorum, Blue Collar Conservatives
Bernie Sanders, The Speech

Plus there are books written about the candidates, political parties, specific issues, and prescriptions for what America needs.

We still hear from former presidents and wannabe candidates and past presidential candidates.  George Bush, the first, just came out with a book. He wrote 41 last year.  His son, Bush II, released his book in 2010, Decision Points.  Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Al Gore, and a cavalcade of powerful politicos still crank out books.  All of these books however, still leave the country divided, confused, and worn down.

I would love to see a book written by a fresh face that offers a new voice to the political landscape.  America needs a new kind of leader and we all need a new type of political book that doesn’t just share resumes, make outrageous claims, or dig up tired proposals and unworkable solution to problems. 

Sorry, but the current crop of political confessions, memoirs, and manifestos fall way short.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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