download ePUB Believer: My Forty Years in PoliticsAuthor David Axelrod – Vansonphu.com

interesting and a bit sad at the same time.David Axelrod takes us through the presidential story from a very early time before Obama was even in the U.S Senate Having been in campaigns and even run for office I can sympathize with him in trying to keep the candidate on the proper path, and at the same time not so antagonize him so not to be excluded from additional advice and a personal bond There is an underlying sadness that the relationship although close somehow didn t develop the intimac interesting and a bit sad at the same time.David Axelrod takes us through the presidential story from a very early time before Obama was even in the U.S Senate Having been in campaigns and even run for office I can sympathize with him in trying to keep the candidate on the proper path, and at the same time not so antagonize him so not to be excluded from additional advice and a personal bond There is an underlying sadness that the relationship although close somehow didn t develop the intimacy you would ve thought it would have No doubt this is almost always true with a candidate and elected official and their aides Axelrod does a good job being constantly reminding the reader of Obama s aspirations and hopes that he can transform the political process and achieve substantial goals It helps a lot in the understanding of President Obama I have to admit I read this for a book discussion group but I found it a very enjoyable and readable book Once I got into it, the 500 pages went fast It certainly made for a good discussion, pro and con It does help if you have an interest in politics Axelrod not only gives us an insider s look at the Obama campaigns and presidency, but relates the story of his life It all started in New York when he was taken to a JFK rally during the election of 1960 Although only a small child at th I have to admit I read this for a book discussion group but I found it a very enjoyable and readable book Once I got into it, the 500 pages went fast It certainly made for a good discussion, pro and con It does help if you have an interest in politics Axelrod not only gives us an insider s look at the Obama campaigns and presidency, but relates the story of his life It all started in New York when he was taken to a JFK rally during the election of 1960 Although only a small child at that time, he became very interested in politics I was interested in dinosaurs at that time A crucial decision that he made in his life was to go to the University of Chicago and then become a journalist there in the city run by Boss Daley In this way, he learned a lot about big city politics He especially learned a lot from Harold Washington s campaign to become the first African American mayor of Chicago and this would help him guide Obama when he ran for senator and then president Axelrod left journalism to become a political operative, advising a number of candidates on their campaigns One strong liberal candidate was Paul Simon who became US Senator from Illinois and Axelrod worked for him in his presidential bid in 1988 anyone remember that But at the heart of his story is Axelrod s growing bond with a young black man with the strange name of Barack Obama and his helping him to become a senator and then president It was certainly his strategy that beat Hillary Clinton in the hard fought primaries in 2008 After Obama s historic victory over McCain Palin, Axelrod was there in the White House helping to fight the battles for a healthcare system, the stimulus, Wall Street reform etc Finally, after the eight years of the Obama presidency, Axelrod retired to spend time with his family I think the Democrats really could have used his help in 2016 the book was written before Trump s election and it would be interesting to hear his opinions on that Parts of this book were fascinating I was very interested in learning about Axe s rise through politics, and the ups and downs of the campaigns.However, he lacks the self awareness to make this a truly great memoir He seems to be unconscious of the amount of spin he puts on everything Axelrod is a campaigner has built his career on spin, so it shouldn t be surprising But at a certain point, it became incredibly frustrating to feel that the entire book was just one long campaign ad for Obam Parts of this book were fascinating I was very interested in learning about Axe s rise through politics, and the ups and downs of the campaigns.However, he lacks the self awareness to make this a truly great memoir He seems to be unconscious of the amount of spin he puts on everything Axelrod is a campaigner has built his career on spin, so it shouldn t be surprising But at a certain point, it became incredibly frustrating to feel that the entire book was just one long campaign ad for Obama.It doesn t feel at all like a memoir, it feels like a retroactive ad He writes in sound bites He mentions over and over the cold political calculus of Washington, but never acknowledges that HE S DOING IT TOO I felt that there were several scenarios throughout the book where he failed to tell the whole story in a fair and balanced way in order to elicit a specific reaction from the reader That s the goal of campaign ads, but it s frankly a bit insulting to the intelligence of readers when you try to do it in a memoir So much better than the usual political biography David Axelrod has an authentic voice and actually tells about his whole life, not just working for Barack Obama as a campaign manager and speech writer There were so many great things about this book Axelrod as a little boy, seeing JFK in 1960 The descriptions of machine politics in old time Chicago Fans of the 70 s cult TV series KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER will recognize the deli food from Manny s, as well as brothers Sidney and Marshall K So much better than the usual political biography David Axelrod has an authentic voice and actually tells about his whole life, not just working for Barack Obama as a campaign manager and speech writer There were so many great things about this book Axelrod as a little boy, seeing JFK in 1960 The descriptions of machine politics in old time Chicago Fans of the 70 s cult TV series KOLCHAK THE NIGHT STALKER will recognize the deli food from Manny s, as well as brothers Sidney and Marshall Korchak Even though Axelrod is best known for working with President Obama, he gives candid pictures of many political greats and not so greats from John Edwards to John McCain I also thought the family sections about his wife s many sacrifices and the long term illness of his daughter were incredibly moving My only complaint is that the book runs out of steam once Obama reaches the White House The last few chapters feel rushed, and it s obvious that Axelrod is painfully embarrassed by some of the decisions Obama made, particularly prolonging US involvement in Afghanistan While there are some very caustic and cynical remarks about the generals, it s highly revealing that there are no first hand accounts of President Obama interacting with regular combat troops, or explaining the reasons for their mission, let alone comforting the grieving families of troops who did not come home One gets the impression that Axelrod is secretly embarrassed that the President was forced to support a war he never really believed in, and at the same time vaguely resentful of the troops for suffering and dying and becoming such a drain on the president s valuable time We re told that Obama went to see a cargo plane of flag draped military coffins from Afghanistan being unloaded, but what emotions, if any, the great man actually felt are not revealed here Regardless of Obama s human shortcomings, however, David Axelrod seems like a genuinely nice man, and this is a really wonderful book and an unusually candid look at modern politics New York Times Book Review A stout defense indeed, the best I have read of the Obama years A New York Times BestsellerDavid Axelrod has always been a believer Whether as a young journalist investigating city corruption, a campaign consultant guiding underdog candidates against entrenched orthodoxy, or as senior adviser to the president during one of the worst crises in American history, Axelrod held fast to his faith in the power of stories to unite diverse communities and ignite transformative political change Now this legendary strategist, the mastermind behind Barack Obama s historic election campaigns, shares a wealth of stories from his forty year journey through the inner workings of American democracy Believer is the tale of a political life well lived, of a man who never gave up on the deepest promises our country has to offer Believer reveals the roots of Axelrod s devotion to politics and his faith in democratic change As a child of the s in New York City, Axelrod worked his first campaigns during a tumultuous decade that began with soaring optimism and ended in violence and chaos As a young newspaperman in Chicago during the s and s, Axelrod witnessed another world transformed when he reported on the dissolution of the last of the big city political machines Richard Daley, Dan Rostenkowski, and Harold Washington along with the emergence of a dynamic black independent movement that ultimately made Obama s ascent possibleAfter cutting his teeth in the rollicking world of Chicago journalism, Axelrod switched careers to become a political strategist His unorthodox tactics during his first campaign helped him get Paul Simon unexpectedly elected to the Senate, and soon Axelrod s counsel was sought by the greatest lights of the Democratic Party Working for path breakers like Hillary Clinton, Deval Patrick, and Rahm Emanuel and morally conflicted characters like Rod Blagojevich and John Edwards Axelrod, for better and worse, redefined the techniques by which modern political campaigns are runThe heart of Believer is Axelrod s twenty year friendship with Barack Obama, a warm partnership that inspired both men even as it propelled each to great heights Taking a chance on an unlikely candidate for the US Senate, Axelrod ultimately collaborated closely with Obama on his political campaigns, and served as the invaluable strategist who contributed to the tremendous victories ofandSwitching careers again, Axelrod served as senior adviser to the president during one of the most challenging periods in national history working at Obama s side as he battled an economic disaster navigated America through two wars and fought to reform health care, the financial sector, and our gridlocked political institutions In Believer, Axelrod offers a deeper and richer profile of this extraordinary figure who in just four years vaulted from the Illinois State Senate to the Oval Office from the perspective of one who was at his side every step of the waySpanning forty years that include corruption and transformation, turmoil and progress, Believer takes readers behind the closed doors of politics even as it offers a thrilling call to democratic action Axelrod s Believer is a powerful and inspiring memoir enlivened by the charm and candor of one of the greatest political strategists in recent American history DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, author of The Bully Pulpit and Team of Rivals Beautifully written with warmth, humor, and remarkable self awareness, Believer is one of the finest political memoirs I have ever read Frank and disarmingly honest accountIt s not surprising that a master of messaging would write an engrossing book largely covering one of the most eventful periods of world history But what comes across most starkly is Axelrod s immunity to the effects of the very process he so expertly deployed throughout his career unbridled faith through repetitive exhortations and self delusion.It s not hard to find partisanship or excuses or willful dismissal of opposing viewpoints in this book But the Frank and disarmingly honest accountIt s not surprising that a master of messaging would write an engrossing book largely covering one of the most eventful periods of world history But what comes across most starkly is Axelrod s immunity to the effects of the very process he so expertly deployed throughout his career unbridled faith through repetitive exhortations and self delusion.It s not hard to find partisanship or excuses or willful dismissal of opposing viewpoints in this book But the innumerable exposesthan make up for bias No one is spared, not least President Obama or David Axelrod or even his mother Axelrod demonstrates a unique honesty in his narrative He never stops believing, and yet he never fully succumbs to purpose or passion I truly learnedabout writing than about politics from this book, and the exposition on politics was quite substantial.The book was an absolute joy and pleasure to read, both for its content and its presentation Great book about an interesting man who was close to many well known politicians He tells of his personal tragedies and also of his triumphs in a way that makes it hard not to like him a great deal Given his support of mostly Democrats, this book will likely be viewed as highly partisan Maybe it is I loved it, especially the lead up to Obama s presidential campaign. An amazing memoir buy a guy who s life I wish I could have David Axelrod is truly an inspiration for me I love politics and I hope one day I can get into it like he did He speaks with such passion about his work, beliefs, and of course his family He wrote this in a way he could try to be as personal to a person as possible I loved it. David Axelrod s book provides an in depth understanding behind the scenes about Chicago politics and Barack Obama He provided this behind the scenes through his perspective and his history in politics It was so fascinating to hear about his journey in politics and I just wanted to read. David Axelrod started his career as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune before becoming a political consultant with three decades of experience culminating in Barrack Obama s election and reelection Because political views color the lens one uses to read a book like this, full disclosure my outlook is not easy to pigeon hole, but to call me a small l libertarian, neverTrump, moderate Republican is fair I enjoyed Axelrod s Believer even though I don t share a lot in common with him David Axelrod started his career as a political reporter for the Chicago Tribune before becoming a political consultant with three decades of experience culminating in Barrack Obama s election and reelection Because political views color the lens one uses to read a book like this, full disclosure my outlook is not easy to pigeon hole, but to call me a small l libertarian, neverTrump, moderate Republican is fair I enjoyed Axelrod s Believer even though I don t share a lot in common with him Axelrod is, unsurprisingly for someone in his role, very partisan and a down the line liberal Democrat It appears some of the areas where Obama veered from party orthodoxy, like free trade, are places where Axelrod eschews the party line.The book moves as a rapid pace from Axelrod s childhood to college to his brief career in journalism and onto his political consulting career His prose is excellent.It s easy to hate political consultants who bring us silly little sayings like Yes, we can In fairness to the trade, they are giving the voting public what it wants, which is snippets of information shrouded in emotion, out of context quotes, and platitudes I found it fascinating to see how Axelrod justifies his clients and his opponents As one would expect for someone who worked for Chicago office seekers, he backed a few who went onto jail such as Danny Rostenkowski and Rod Blagojevich He also backed the slimy Senator John Edwards for president In these cases, Axelrod writes he was taken by their stories and charisma and, at least, speak of reform It is obvious, long shot stories like Obama or Mass Gov Deval Patrick or Blago impressed Axelrod This book inadvertently shows the risk of getting too impressed about people who rise above difficult childhoods because they may be as crooked and dishonest as any other He had seen some of this as a reporter with Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne who pretended to be a reformer to get elected, but then, cynically opted for machine politics when in office.There are interesting vignettes with Carol Moseley Braun, Dick Morris, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Richard Daley, Harold Washington, Vladimir Putin, Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Nancy Pelosi, the Obamas, Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, and even Donald Trump.I also noted Axelrod s partisanship A very small number of Republicans such as former Senator Lugar get positive marks, but he thinks almost all are either bad people or, if decent, completely wrong headed He has nothing but ill will towards the presidency of George W Bush, yet he commends Bush s patriotism on going the extra mile to ensure a smooth transition I imagine his day to day work was much easier being able to think the other side is always wrong and often unethical.Axelrod helped find Obama He was instrumental in Obama s improbable rise to the US Senate and, then, winning the presidency He writes of the bipartisan hope of Obama I suspect Axelrod meant it Yet, he fails to see that the partisanship he largely espoused, when coupled with mirror image stonewalling on the other side, leads to partisan quagmire Axelrod spends many pages on the promise and hope of Obama the title comes from Axelrod being an Obama believer Still, Obama hit Washington and had to cast off his promise of vetoing earmarks The first spending bill had 9,000 of them, yet, the Congress demanded them Axelrod also wrote of decisions that were made to add an individual mandate to health care ObamaCare although his ads had attacked Hillary Clinton for the same as well as to tax health care benefits after attacking John McCain for just that in the 2008 campaign On page 170, he describes Senator Obama s thoughts about the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Roberts While Obama conceded Roberts was, qualified in every way, he voted against him both out of ideology but also, interestingly, with an eye to satisfying the liberal base in a presidential primary This is hardly Earth shattering, yet, it shows why bipartisanship doesn t often occur, and these words would come back to haunt Obama in 2016 when he had his own SOTUS nominee.On the negative side, Axelrod writes a few things he must know better about On page 403, he mentions Bush go it alone foreign policy, really about the Iraq War, which is flat wrong and I wonder if he started believing his own political messaging Tony Blair s U.K famously was part of the Iraq coalition as were Italy, Australia, Spain, and many others We recall France and Germany choose not to partake, but that s not going alone.Even worse was his pg 224 comment, millions of white voters, particularly in the South, who had shifted to the Republican Party over the years almost entirely over issues of race That is wrong Issues like abortion, taxes, religion, busing, muscular foreign policy, gay rights, and others were clearly among the reasons as the GOP and Democrats shifted from being coalitions of conservatives and liberals toideologically pure entities Further, the civil rights action of the 1960 s did not cause a sudden shift from Democrats to GOP in the South It also started in themoderate parts of the South, especially in suburbs around Dallas and Atlanta, including as the suburban Houston U.S House district G.H.W.Bush would win, and took decades to hit thebackward Deep South White Southern voters were still shifting from the Democrats to the GOP in the 1990s, 2000 s, and even in the 2010 s when the Southern Senatorial delegation becameRepublican than ever before Many Southern Democrats in the US House lost and flipped their districts, for the first time since Reconstruction, to the GOP in 1994, 2010, and even 2014 Are we really to believe 2010 or 2014 voters only then realized the Civil Rights Act had passed four decades before It also is true Southern states had elected minority Republicans to the US Senate Martinez Rubio in Florida, Cruz in Texas, and the black Tim Scott in South Carolina and for Governor Jindal in Louisiana and Haley in South Carolina which aren t consistent with a wellspring of racism Racism certainly existed, but Axelrod s strong statement of almost entirely Yet, being a believer your guy is righteous and being a believer the other side is filled with crooks, idiots, hypocrites, and racists probably makes writing political ad copy palatable for nearly forty years Although I found Axelrod s virtual hero worship of Obama and his Democrat partisanship to be a bit trying, I enjoyed reading the book and award it four stars Believer: My Forty Years in Politics


About the Author: David Axelrod

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