Citizen McCain

Citizen McCain

by Elizabeth Drew

The most original, the most sought-after politician in America today, Senator John McCain is at the front of a large movement — people who are dissatisfied with the way politics is conducted in this country. They are eager for change, and McCain's independence and his vigorous leadership have inspired them.

Granted unique access to the Senator and his

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The most original, the most sought-after politician in America today, Senator John McCain is at the front of a large movement — people who are dissatisfied with the way politics is conducted in this country. They are eager for change, and McCain's independence and his vigorous leadership have inspired them.

Granted unique access to the Senator and his closest aides, prizewinning journalist Elizabeth Drew offers a close-up, fascinating account of Senator McCain as he goes about the legislative business of achieving campaign finance reform, his signature issue, building coalitions, and working across party lines. As she shows him in action, McCain is revealed as a shrewd and long-sighted strategist, someone who works with his colleagues far more successfully than his image might suggest. We see this original mind at work and get new insights into his complex personality.

Drew also shows how McCain has broadened his agenda, putting him at a pivotal place in American political life.

In this riveting narrative, replete with McCain's unusual candor, and his unorthodox ways, we see how this war hero turned political leader is showing the public — and cynical Washington insiders — that there are other ways to go about working for the public good.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Drew offers a focused narrative that follows Senator John McCain through the 2001 legislative session as he maneuvers toward his goal of campaign finance reform. The highly respected Drew, a former New Yorker political writer and author (The Corruption of American Politics, etc.), was granted extraordinary access to McCain, including many private interviews and the cooperation of his staff. She is careful to note, however, that this is not an approved biography. The result is an instructive, even suspenseful, fly-on-the-wall account of how recondite parliamentary ploys, masterful management of the press and public relations, opportunistic coalition-building and sheer tenacity, energy and conviction laid the groundwork to challenge the formidable forces aligned against finance reform. High-profile players intent on disrupting McCain's fragile coalition include White House advisor Karl Rove, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, ultraconservative Republican Congressmen Dick Armey and Tom DeLay, along with unions and various lobbyists. In the midst of her narrative, Drew is forced to change her focus from the battle over campaign finance reform to the events of September 11. In Drew's view, McCain provides a rare example of leadership as he makes numerous media appearances including one as the sole guest of Jay Leno designed to reassure the public after the terrorist attacks. In that regard, the book's title is revealing. For Drew, McCain is a man to whom the title "citizen" attaches as an honorific without irony, the reference to Orson Wells's manipulative Kane notwithstanding. Agent, Andrew Wylie. (May 13) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Arizona senator John McCain is arguably the most respected member of the Senate, says Drew, the author of 11 previous books, including The Corruption of American Politics, which investigated the origins of the McCain-Feingold campaign-funding reform bill. She here continues the story of how in 2001 McCain skillfully led the bipartisan effort to pass the Senate bill that would eliminate "soft money" contributions for national political candidates. Large Enron-like contributions from corporations and unions made possible by squishy soft money laws have alienated the public and given too much influence to special interests, writes Drew. A vote on a companion House bill was delayed by the events of September 11 but was finally adopted in February 2002. Following the terrorist attack, McCain assumed a vital role as morale booster for America, as he rallied support for President Bush. Although too independent and too sincere, according to Drew, to make many friends in Washington, McCain has earned the bipartisan support of Congress and a multitude of loyal supporters for his integrity. Drew's keen portrayal gives hope to the reader looking for elected officials who are dedicated to draining the campaign-financing swamp. Highly recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/02.] Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-A behind-the-scenes look at how legislation is handled in today's Congress. The legislation in question is campaign-finance reform; the Senate version became known as McCain-Feingold after its sponsors. Drew's account is like a snapshot in time; it begins in January, 2001, when Senator John McCain brought his seven-year-long struggle for reform before a newly convened Congressional session, and ends in March, 2002, when President Bush signed the legislation into law. Through this process, the author shows how the senator's determination to prevail transformed him from a fiery-tempered rogue into a statesman. His willingness to negotiate and to form coalitions with members of the opposition party in order to achieve reform-not just in the area of campaign financeDhas been dubbed the "new McCain centrism." Drew shifts her attention temporarily to cover the September 11 attacks and the anthrax scare that followed, but her primary focus remains on Capitol Hill, the White House, and "How Things Are Done in Washington." While few recreational readers will see this as light reading, recent corporate-fraud scandals and questions about the makeup and actions of the Federal Elections Commission prove that campaign-finance reform is still an issue; the saga that is Citizen McCain provides much-needed insight.-Dori DeSpain, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Washington insider and accomplished journalist Drew (The Corruption of American Politics, 1999, etc.) provides a fly-on-the-wall portrait of the congressional maverick and his struggle to reform campaign-finance laws. To judge by this account, Arizona senator John McCain—war hero, patrician, and thorn in the sitting president's side—has a long memory for slights, favors, and betrayals, a memory fully engaged in the business of schmoozing, cajoling, and arm-twisting his way to a major overhaul of how dollars come into politicians' hands. McCain, Drew reports, is an outspoken foe of pork-barrel spending, and as she follows him from room to room in the Capitol, she finds him battling such things as an Alabama senator's request for $2 million to repair a Birmingham-area statue of the Greek god Vulcan and "a particularly egregious boondoggle by which the Air Force was to lease a hundred new Boeing jets—which it hadn't requested—for ten years, paying ninety percent of their cost, and then give them back to Boeing with at least twenty more years of usefulness remaining." At the top of McCain's agenda throughout is a series of bills meant to curtail the corporate soft money that keeps congressmen in power, bills mostly opposed by his fellow Republicans. Drew ably captures McCain in action as he works the floor and offers vivid details on the formidable array of enemies he has attracted as he presses his cause, not least of them George Bush, who in the South Carolina primary mounted what one local politician described as "the dirtiest, nastiest campaign I've ever seen" while battling McCain for the Republican presidential nomination. Drew clearly approves of McCain, though never so much as toallow partisanship to get in the way of her usual careful reporting. A useful exposé of how things get done—and buried—in Washington. Author tour

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Product Details

Gale Group
Publication date:
American History Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.52(w) x 8.46(h) x 0.93(d)

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