Wednesday, May 9, 2007

An American Voter: My Love Affair with Presidential Politics

In my honors US politics class in college, we had to read this, a book about Congress' attempt at tax reform legislation. Yes, it was as boring as it sounds, as I'm sure Shuttsie would confirm. Along with a few naps, I came away with a huge respect for former New Jersey Senator and failed presidential candidate Bill Bradley, though I no longer remember exactly why, other than he was basically the only political figure profiled in the book I ended up liking. When he ran against Gore for the Democratic nomination in 2000, it was the first time I ever closely followed a campaign. Joan Sullivan chronicles her experience working as a volunteer for the Bradley campaign in this memoir. Until signing up to work for Bradley's advance team, she had little interest and experience in politics. After her father's death from cancer, she finds solace in the relentless days on the campaign and a sort of substitute father figure in Bradley. She exposes the insulation of life on the campaign trail, where details like the height of a podium seem so important. While such an experience could easily lead to cynicism, Sullivan ends her experience with her idealism for the political process and for Bradley mostly intact. I was reminded of this memoir now that Bill Bradley is making the round promoting his own book, which I haven't had a chance to look at yet.

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