Today, I'm reviewing Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney... for non-fiction Tuesday. This is a book that's just one of many about the 2012 elections.
Non-fiction Tuesday is where I review the latest and the greatest non-fiction (and most likely, political) titles.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Viking Adult
Format read: Hardcover, owned
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Four years ago, a bright young presidential candidate named Barack Obama campaigned on a theme of hope and change, and made history. Today, he finds himself in another bitter, divisive presidential race but without the buzzwords. Instead, an embattled president struggles with a dysfunctionally divided Congress, the controversial healthcare bill, a decade-long war, and a stagnant economy.
Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, former corporate tycoon and former governor of Massachusetts, faces his own controversies in the form of vague policies, fluctuating positions, and questions about his business practices in the private sector. Romney’s personal fortune and business background seemed at odds with the Republican base until he named Wisconsin congressman, Tea Party darling and fiscal conservative Paul Ryan as his running mate.
Using sources deep inside both campaigns and on the campaign trail through primary and battleground states, Washington Postcorrespondent Dan Balz writes with a keen political mind and a seasoned reporter’s ear. He traces the highs and lows of the Obama presidency as well as the ruthless Republican primary as both laid the groundwork for one of the most crucial, contentious elections of our time. Collision 2012puts the race for the White House in context and explores just what the election means for the future of the democratic process and America.
This is a book that deftly covers the 2012 election, while making it wholly accessible to even the most non-political reader.
Things that worked:
The GOP race for the 2012 nomination was clearly the larger tale of the 2012 election. As President Obama cruised to an easy re-nomination, the GOP side of the race was beset with political and personal upheavals. This rise and fall of potential nominees only served to protect Obama’s hold on the electorate (as the only credible nominee) and ensured that Romney was the ‘last man standing’ in the GOP race.
2012 was hardly an easy win for the GOP prospective candidates, and the instability and radicalism shown in their primaries only served to undermine the party’s chances in the general election.
* Balz’s writing style
Dan Balz wrote a thoroughly accessible book, one that ensured that even if you had been living under a rock in 2012, you would very clearly be able to understand how the 2012 race ultimately shaped-up and was decided. Whether you are a Tea Party Republican or a Liberal Democrat, you will appreciate this honest attempt to analyze and explain American history.
* The role of advisors in 2012
The 2012 election, even more than in 2008 and elections that came beforehand, was decided by the actions taken by advisors and aides. Like several book written recently, including An Act of Congress, this tale examines the role of staffers and paid officers who led their respective parties to this point. These unsung heroes may never achieve the same level of fame as their candidates or campaign leadership, but the author does well to examine their efforts.
Things that didn't work:
One issue the book did not cover was President Obama’s public embrace of same-sex marriage. Certainly, the conversion occurred at a politically beneficial time for the President. The public mood on same-sex marriage was clearly already heading towards supporting it. However, the President’s embrace not only served as a game-changer for the issue, giving other Democrats the cover to come out in support, but is also served as a major contrast with Mitt Romney. Obama entered 2012 with his own liberal based dispirited with his performance. By embracing same-sex marriage, Obama
* Discussing Obama’s ability to re-energize his base
As with the previous section, much was ignored by Barack Obama’s efforts to re-engage and revitalize the energy of his political base that not only overcame the Clinton political machine, but also won him the 2008 election. Certainly, the author devotes plenty of attention to the 2011 speech in Osawatomie, KS, where the values Obama would eventually run on were first articulated.
However, in many respects, the ‘new’ Obama had been energized in last few months of the 2010 midterm election, where the under-fire President faced the growing likelihood of a major political rout and accepted that he had failed to play the political game. While Obama’s actions in 2011 were largely based on a Clinton-esque attempt at neo-Triangulation (and were largely political failures), his willingness to play the game of politics and deal-making in Washington were certainly something new.
* Neglecting mentioning the impact of the 2010 Election
As the previous two areas, the 2010 election was indeed covered, but not sufficiently to this viewer’s tastes. Certainly, the narrative in this book works very well and flows perfectly. My critiques, I realize, might have made the book overly long and boring, but considering that the size of GOP’s win in 2010 was the largest swing in House seats since 1928, more could have been added.