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In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign, the young Republican hoped Reagan's endorsement would give a much-needed boost to his campaign. Alas, when Reagan finally stepped to the microphone, he smiled for the crowd and declared, "I'm happy to be here with my good friend, Mitch O'Donnell."
That was hardly Mitch McConnell's first setback - and far from his last. But as he learned while running his very first campaign for high school student body president, you don't have to be the most popular, most athletic, or even luckiest kid to win. You just need to run the best campaign. So he swallowed hard, put his head down, and kept going. Four weeks later he won his Senate seat, beginning a storied career that would eventually lead to his becoming the Senate majority leader.
The Long Game is the candid, behind-the-scenes memoir of a man famous for his discretion. He tells how his mother helped him beat polio by leading him through long, aching exercises every day for two years. He explains how his father taught him the importance of standing up to bullies, even if it meant taking the occasional punch. And he reveals what he really thinks about the rivalry between the Senate and the House; about the players and the stakes involved when a group of political opportunists tried to hijack the Tea Party movement; and about key figures such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid. He tells the inside story of the battle against Obamacare and explains the real causes of the chronic gridlock, his ongoing efforts to restore the US Senate, and what ordinary citizens have a right to expect from Washington.
In today's atmosphere of impatience and instant gratification, McConnell still believes the founders knew best when they instituted a government with checks and balances. As he writes, "In the end, the goal isn't a perfectly running congressional machine or a party without blemish or inner turmoil. The goal is to allow the country to work out its differences freely and energetically, confident that the institutions the founders left us are capable of accommodating the disputes and disagreements that arise in a nation as big and diverse and open as ours."
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jean on 07-24-16
A Look at a Career Politician
McConnell writes in his memoir he wanted to be a career politician at an early age. I have read a number of political memoirs and he is the first person to say they always wanted to be a politician. I read memoirs from politicians of both parties in an attempt to understand them and their viewpoints. I am always interested in how a person becomes who they are.
In the first part of the book McConnell tells of his early life. I was most interested in his fight with polio as a child. He gives the credit of his recovery to his mother who daily led him through exercises and encouraged him. He states he and his mother grew very close. He said that from his father he learned to stand up to bullies even if he had to take a punch. The middle and end of the book deals with McConnell’s political career. He says he graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in history/political science and from the University of Kentucky School of Law. He tells about his beginnings in running for elected office to becoming leader of the Senate. McConnell goes into his political philosophy and goals for himself and the nation.
The book is well written and moves at an even pace. My main criticism of the book is his one sided view of issues and government. Overall I found learning about McConnell’s life and his view of government interesting. Mitch McConnell narrated his own book.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By Catherine Spiller on 06-04-16
The best Senatorial book of the cycle
The book is an even handed, readable and enjoyable romp through the last thirty, but particularly the last few, years of Senate history, accompanied by a large dose of all American personal story. I'd particularly recommend this book to students as it provides an excellent framework from which to judge future political claims.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful