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The ultimate "inside man" shares his know-how.
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Help You For
fter working behind the scenes for a number of
• years as a consultant and campaign adviser to
political candidates — starting in elementary
school — and writing some guidebooks along
the way, Dick Morris soared to fame over a scandal with a
prostitute, then hit it big as a political analyst on television.
Now he's trying to keep his career momentum going as
author of a new book on political strategy.
Morris, who is best known as being Bill Clinton's confidant
during his campaigns for Arkansas governor and U.S. presi-
dent, is one of the frankest and most incisive political
observers in America today. He makes more
than 400 appearances a year as a commentator
on TV's Fox News Channel and writes columns
for two newspapers and a magazine.
In 1997, he published Behind the Oval Office,
a memoir of the Clinton administration. In
April, he followed that bestseller with Power
Plays: Win or Lose — How History's Great
Political Leaders Play the Game (HarperCollins;
$25.95), an interesting survey of the most dra-
matic political moves ever made — from the
highly effective to the disastrous.
The author comes to Borders Books and
Music in Birmingham at 7 p.m. Thursday,
July 11, where he'll sign copies of the book,
discuss the issues it raises, deliver remarks on
current events and answer questions.
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A Political Animal
1)7," he said in a recent interview. 'Anyway, as a journalist I
have to be neutral."
Among his current insights, Morris deplores the actions of
his old friend Clinton; believes Sen. Joseph Lieberman has an
excellent chance of winning the 2004 Democratic presidential
nomination; and feels the security fence now under construc-
tion along the West Bank in Israel is the only solution to the
conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Morris began writing Power Plays after the 2000 presidential
election and completed it as the bombs fell on Afghanistan a
month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America.
In a chapter inspired by the aftermath of Sept. 11, he
reviews the efforts of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to mobilize
their nations against Nazi Germany,
and compares their performances to
that of George W. Bush in mounting
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America's campaign against terrorism.
The book examines the political
moves of 20 internationally well-
known figures, from Abraham Lincoln
to Bush and Al Gore, probing how
they sought power, why some succeed-
ed and why others failed.
Reading almost like a textbook on
government, Power Plays consists of case
studies of six basic strategies: "Stand on
Principle," "Triangulate," "Divide and
Conquer," "Reform Your Own Party,"
"Use a New Technology" and "Mobilize
Your Nation at a Time of Crisis."
WIN OR LOSE—HOW HISTORY'S GREAT
POLITICAL LEADERS PLAY THE GAME
Politics Of Triangulation
Winner takes all: A new tome on Morris recently discussed his new book in
Morris, 55, grew up in a Manhattan Jewish
the bloodthirsty arena of politics.
an interview with the Jewish News from
family that was not particularly religious,
his New York residence. He and his sec-
other than observing the High Holidays. In
ond wife, attorney Eileen McGann, also own a Connecticut
fourth grade, he managed a friend's winning campaign for
home. They have an 11-year-old daughter.
class president — and he's been wrapped up in political
Morris used a study of George W. Bush as a successful
battles ever since.
He worked on New York district council races as a teenag- example of one of his favorite words, triangulation, defined
in the dictionary as a geometry term: to divide into trian-
er, joined various civic watchdog groups and participated in
gles to compute distance or relative positions.
student protests on "almost every issue that came along.
"The idea behind triangulation," he explained, "is to
After receiving his bachelor's degree in government from
work hard to solve the problems that motivate the other
Columbia University, Morris assisted in the campaigns of
party's voters so as to de-fang them politically. Take the
such Jewish candidates as former Sen. Howard
best doctrines from the left and the right and combine
Metzenbaum of Ohio, former Gov. Harry Hughes of
them for your own use.
Maryland, and in New York, former State Controller Jay
"If you're a Democrat, balance the budget, reform wel-
Goldin and former Attorney General Bob Abrams, as well
fare, cut crime and get voters from the GOP. If you're a
as Elliot Spitzer, the state's current attorney general.
Republican, improve education, lower poverty and obtain
Although Morris handled the winning campaigns of
more than 30 senators or governors, he also helped with
Morris said the essence of triangulation is to use the solu-
the ill-fated presidential campaigns of Democrats Eugene
tions of your own party to solve the problems the other
McCarthy and George McGovern.
side feels are important.
In recent years, he has developed victorious election
"Bush accomplished this with his campaign slogan of
strategies for the presidents of Mexico, Argentina and
Conservatism,' consistently moving the
Republican Party to the center, reaching voters who had
Morris now calls himself a "political independent."
"I hate both the Democrat and Republican parties equal-
POWER POLITICS on page 68