This book, whose title comes from a campaign poster I saw on a dusty desert road not far from Santa Fe, New Mexico, is not a formal history of the campaign or an insider’s revelatory account or a reporter’s diary from the campaign trail. It’s simply a real time, contemporaneous record of one person’s observations, cogitations, and indignations over the course of the quadrennial cycle that ended with the election of Barack Obama The first section, The Wreckage, deals mostly with the second term of George W. Bush, without which a break with the past as emphatic as Obama’s probably wouldn’t have been possible. The Marathon concerns the long eventful primary campaign, which was as severe a test of stamina and character as any our functionally sadistic political system has ever imposed on a set of candidates. The Sprint takes the story to its gladiatorial finish in the fall.Having grown up informed on presidential campaigns by Theodore White’s memorable The Making of the President series (1960, 1960, 1968, 1972), the sort of coverage which took a more entertaining if not informative direction with Timothy Cruise’s The Boys on the Bus and Hunter Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, it’s been years since I have encountered both a campaign and a chronicler that drew my interest. Obama’s election and Hertzberg’s account have changed that.
Obama si? Obama no?
Hendrick Hertzberg's new account brings us up to Obama's biggest problem: being elected.