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Books by and about 2012 presidential nominees
Do Not Ask What Good We Do
about Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Ten Letters
about Pres. Barack Obama (2011)
A Life of Trial and Redemption
about V.P. Joe Biden (2010)
No Apology
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2010)
Young Guns
by Rep. Paul Ryan et al (2010)
The Path to Prosperity
by Rep. Paul Ryan (2012)
Promises to Keep
by Vice Pres. Joe Biden (2007)
The Audacity of Hope
by Pres. Barack Obama (2006)
Turnaround
by Gov. Mitt Romney (2004)
Dreams from My Father
by Pres. Barack Obama (1996)

Book Reviews

(from Amazon.com)

(click a book cover for a review or other books by or about the presidency from Amazon.com)

Behind the Oval Office
Winning the Presidency in the Nineties
by Dick Morris



(Click for Amazon book review)

    Click on a participant to pop-up their full list of quotations
    from Behind the Oval Office, by Dick Morris (number of quotes indicated):
  • Bob Dole (1)
  • Hillary Clinton (1)
  • Newt Gingrich (1)
  • Ted Kennedy (1)
    OR click on an issue category below for a subset.
This book is Dick Morris' memoir of his time as Bill Clinton's lead adviser. For those who don't recall who Dick Morris is, that's because he has always preferred the role of eminence grise, the unseen adviser who is offstage but directing the actions of those onstage. Morris accomplished that while Clinton was governor, but even more so when Clinton became president, when Clinton invented a codename, "Charlie," so that Morris could call the Oval Office privatey (pp. 26-7). The title of the book, with emphasis on "Behind," indicates how enamored Morris was with the off-stage role.

Morris' primary credential is his invention of the policy of "triangulation," which is widely credited with winning Clinton his second term. "Triangulation" means (according to Morris on p. 80) "the president needed to take a position that not only blended the best of each party's views but also transcended them to constitute a third force in the debate." In other words, Clinton would come up with his own policy that used some Democratic components and some Republican components, and then implement the policy as his own. Clinton applied triangulation most famously to welfare reform, but also to "don't-ask-don't-tell" for gays in the military; the "middle class tax cut"; and defusing the school prayer debate. Bill Clinton was good at triangulation; astute voters may assume that Hillary Clinton will apply the same policy method, but Morris doesn't reveal that.

Dick Morris does reveal more of his personal story than in his other books (we've reviewed Take Back America and Condi vs. Hillary.htm). Morris reveals his own story of how he fell from power due to a sex scandal (pp. 285ff, including his apology, p. 107); how he established a "back door" for the Republican Senate leader to communicate with Clinton (pp. 74ff); and how Bill Clinton most feared Colin Powell as an unbeatable opponent in 1996 (p. 155). Morris also reveals that this book was "authorized" by Bill Clinton (p. 103), at least in concept, if not in detail.

So will Dick Morris return for the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign? Maybe not: Morris has always been primarily a friend-of-Bill, not fully a friend-of-Hillary, and he burned a lot of bridges with Democrats when he fell from grace in the 1990s. Many Democrats question Morris' Democratic Party credentials, since he has worked for several Republicans -- he says "sometimes I vote Democrat and sometimes I vote Republican" (p. 19). Morris' self-description of his politics is an Alinskyite: "I organized my own political machine… using the political organizing tools of the activist Saul Alinsky, author of the famous Rules for Radicals" (p. 44). Who else have we heard of who has been accused of being an Alinskyite? Why, Hillary Clinton, who wrote her Wellesley thesis about Saul Alinsky! So maybe we will see Dick Morris -- or sense his presence behind the scenes -- on Hillary's 2016 campaign...

-- Jesse Gordon, editor, OnTheIssues.org, October 2013
 OnTheIssues.org excerpts:  (click on issues for details)
Health Care
    Bob Dole: Let workers keep insurance when they change jobs.
    Hillary Clinton: 1994: can't fix just part of problem; it's all or nothing.
    Newt Gingrich: 1995: Let Medicare wither on the vine.
    Ted Kennedy: Let workers keep insurance when they change jobs.


The above quotations are from Behind the Oval Office
Winning the Presidency in the Nineties
by Dick Morris.

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Page last edited: Oct 25, 2013