Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura describes his politics and his life with a simplicity that his supporters will cheer as fist-shaking bolts of truth and that his detractors will pan as loud, flippant and glib. The text first outlines Ventura's political platform ("less government is more" just about sums it up), then tracks his life through roles as blue-collar bad boy, Navy Seal, pro wrestler, wrestling commentator, film star, mayor, talk-radio host and, finally, campaigner and governor. Ventura likes to play the angry man in the bar complaining about the bums in office. Like most Reform Party candidates, he doesn't believe government can do much anyway. Eighty percent of the book is autobiography, a series of American success stories about the man who doesn't believe in the word can't. His ego appears to play such a large role in his persona that even his claim that he doesn't want to be called upon to be president exudes a scent of sham modesty. Ventura fan or not, any reader can appreciate the story of this man's desire to unseat "the old boy network" and engage the people. But the chapters on his entertainment years, and Ventura's incessant name-dropping, ultimately undermine his premise--that he isn't a politician, just a private-sector Joe. At times, Ventura is so entertaining that readers might forget, temporarily, that he's a celebrity politician employing the advantage of his fame. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
The packaging for this audio describes it as half "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Mr. Smith wanted to channel federal dollars to fund a visionary national boys camp; Ventura wants to take funds away from government programs to give tax cuts to individuals. This three-hour whining session contains not one other shred of real policy--just complaints about unfair government practices. It's the sad story of a frat house-style rebellion on Minnesota campuses that reeled horribly out of control and for which now the people of that state must suffer through the inane antics and ignorant thought processes of Ventura for the next few years. The hardest part is the governor's gloating about how the election was the result of his "plan," and how (who knows?) the next stop may be the presidency of the United States. Definitely not recommended.--Mark Pumphrey, Polk Cty. P.L., Columbus, NC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
Our final big push came seventy-two hours before the election. We rented some RVs, set up a live Internet feed, and headed out on a thirty-four-stop trip around the state, straight through, no sleep. But I knew from my background that I could do it-it was less than half of Hell Week!
As those all-important last hours ticked down, we stole all the thunder from the other two campaigns. The press jumped on board with us, because we were having all the fun. We invited people, "Come along! Jump in your cars and come with us for as long as you want to go!" We had times when we were going down the highway with twenty-five cars tooting their horns, waving banners and flags. We came into cities in a whirlwind of noise. Later, people rushed home and jumped on the Internet to see if they could see pictures of themselves. There was running commentary, "Jesse's now left for Hutchinson. . . ." We literally stole all the publicity and all the momentum that weekend. That's when I started to believe we had a shot at winning. I always knew we had an outside chance, but that's the first time the possibility really began to seem real to me.
Even Terry started to feel it. She went on the seventy-two-hour blitz with us. It was her first real involvement in the campaign. I had told her from the start that I didn't expect her to be part of it unless she wanted to be. She could be as little or as much involved as she liked.
It was during that blitz that my confrontation with Hillary Clinton took place. It was on Saturday-I think we were in Rochester that morning-that Hillary had come into town to stump for Humphrey. One of the press guys came up to me and said, "Did you hear what Hillary Clinton said about you? She said it's time to end the carnival sideshow act that's going on here and get down to the business of electing Skip Humphrey. How do you feel about Hillary Clinton calling you a carnival sideshow act?"
I said, "It seems to me, rather than being concerned about Minnesota politics, Hillary should be more concerned about leaving Bill home alone. He seems to get into a lot of mischief whenever she leaves him." You wanna start the fight, the Klingon's gonna draw the line in the sand. Strike us, and you make us stronger.
From the Hardcover edition.