Quest for the Presidency, 1992

By Peter L. Goldman; Thomas M. Defrank et al. | Go to book overview

II.
The Doom Crier

I f the Marquis de Sade had written the climactic scenes in the story of Bill Clinton's march to the nomination, he would have been hard put to invent a torment more exquisite than Jerry Brown. For months, Brown had been the antimatter candidate in the race, largely invisible to what the analysts of our politics suppose to be the real world. His occasional victories had been minimally noted in the press, like the scores of Division III college football games, and Clinton's handlers had never really bothered with him in their strategic planning. But Brown had outlasted everybody else in the field, and when Clinton arrived belatedly in Connecticut, Brown was already there, choosing among his implements of pain.

The usual rules of war in late presidential primaries hold that you don't unduly bloody the probable nominee of your own party -- not if you want a future in politics. But it was in the very nature of Brown's candidacy to break the rules, since he was running against the club that had written them, and Clinton, in his view, was its embodiment. They were opposite men, so unlike that, by the end, their differences of mind and spirit appeared to have taken physical form. Clinton, a junk-food junkie, had picked up a layer of McFlab in his travels and was in danger of swelling up into a Thomas Nast cartoon. Brown more nearly resembled a prophet rendered by El Greco; a regime of jogging and fasting had burned away forty pounds and left him sunken of belly and hollow of eye.

The contrast suited his mocking definition of the race; it had come down finally to the 800-pound gorilla against the 800-number guerrilla, he said, and so far as he was concerned, the hour of the guerrilla was at hand. He had never had a real chance to win the nomination, and the possibility that he might stop Clinton had shrunk to the vanishing point the day Tsongas packed it in; it would have taken the two of them, campaigning actively, to deadlock the process and open the convention to somebody less tarnished than the favorite. The media were in the process of declaring the race over and were treating

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Quest for the Presidency, 1992
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • I - A Quiet National Crisis 1
  • 1 - The Autumn of a President 3
  • 2 - The Age of Anxiety 11
  • 3 - The Winds of Rebellion 20
  • II - The Challenger 29
  • 4 - The Man Who Would Be President 31
  • 5 - Waiting for Godot 48
  • 6 - The Look of a Winner 73
  • 7 - The Scent of a Woman 89
  • 8 - The Comeback Kid 126
  • 9 - Goin' Home 156
  • 10 - The Downside of Charisma 185
  • 11 - The Doom Crier 208
  • 12 - The Manhattan Project 245
  • 13 - The Man from Hope 269
  • III - The President 295
  • 14 - Where Was George? 297
  • 15 - The War against the Crown 318
  • 16 - The Last Inaction Hero 341
  • 17 - He Doesn't Get It 358
  • 18 - The Quayle Hunt 368
  • 19 - The Return of Little Brother 387
  • 20 - This Way to the Jihad 398
  • IV - The Billionaire 411
  • 21 - Citizen Perot 413
  • 22 - The Age of Innocence 424
  • 23 - The War of the Worlds 436
  • 24 - Point Counterpoint 449
  • 25 - The Long Goodbye 463
  • V - The Choice 481
  • 26 - The Boys on the Bus 483
  • 27 - The Search for a Silver Bullet 508
  • 28 - The Second Coming 538
  • 29 - Nine Days in October 553
  • 30 - To the Wire 579
  • Appendix - The Campaign Papers 615
  • Index 736
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