The winds, they ain't a changin'

I've been reading a biography of a recent US political figure. Let's see if you can guess who it is from these short excerpts from the book.

The reporters made another misjudgement, brought on their own sense of self-importance. [...] The reason the reporters assumed X meant it [...] was that he had insulted and attacked the press as he said it. No one could do that and survive in American politics, in the opinion of the press. In charging that the press was biased, untruthful, and vindictive, X had burned his bridges behind him.

X had just made the press an issue. X knew that the national press did not speak for or to millions of Republicans. He understood and enunciated a point of view: that the press was liberal, Democratic, do-gooder, pro big government and big labour, for high taxes, yet craven in the face of the [enemy's] menace, and always out to give the shaft to Republicans.

X pointed out another advantage of the last press conference. "It served a purpose," he said. "The press had a guilt complex about their inaccuracy." (this was an assertion, not a fact, and every reporter [...] would have denied it)...

...although what he said delighted most Republicans, it made the Democrats hate him even more, which pointed to his more general problem, that he was the most hated and feared man in America. No one could rouse the Democrats for an all-out effort quite the way X could; thus [...] the fervour and dedication of the anti-X volunteers in the Y campaign. This was a consequence of X's campaign style, in which he nearly always exaggerated...

X wanted to be powerful. To get power, he had to remain a public figure, speaking out on the issues of the day.

He used a favourite X technique--to deny that he was saying what he was saying--and got some revenge in the process.

X was pleased with his effort. He told his backers that "it served the purpose of setting forth some constructive alternatives to present Administration policy." Of course the opposite was true--the alternatives he had offered were jingoistic and irresponsible and inconsistent. [...] But there was one good thing about being in opposition: it freed X to slash and denounce without having to assume any responsibility for his words.

The way the press had fawned on [his predecessor] had made X furious and jealous; [...] the things [his predecessor] had gotten away with had made X resentful.

It's pretty easy to guess, right? Reply to me on this thread if you know who it is. I'll update this post tomorrow with a link to the correct answer.

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Published: 2022-07-24

Tagged: politics

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