Though David Plouffe's hardcover book The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory was published last year, the paperback edition could not be more timely with the new subtitle of How Obama Won and How We Can Beat the Party of Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin and an added chapter on this year's elections and the current political atmosphere. And damn, Plouffe's got some dead-on analyses for the Republican Party and the three notorious crazies that have become the "rock stars of the hard-right punditocracy."
Regardless of the chapter and subtitle addition, both editions of this tell-all book make for an excellent read and we would highly recommend it to anyone--no matter what your political agenda, knowledge or background may be. Plouffe delves deep into the architecture of Obama's presidential campaign and details the under-dog pathway that led up to the historic moment of Obama's inaguration and the overall dreamy feeling of hope that swept over our country.
When Plouffe first signed on as then-state senator Barack Obama's campaign manager, he had serious doubts about the potential of the campaign actually making it past the primaries. In an early conversation with close friend and future Obama top advisor David Axelrod, Plouffe says, "I think he wants to run, but he's drawn more to the idea of running than actually running...He clearly has a good sense of why he might want to run, and it's not about power or politics or some long-held ambition...How many people have just sort of, last minute, with no planning, rolled the dice and jumped into a presidential race against maybe the strongest front-runner in history? With young kids to boot?"
Plouffe also admits that early on he realized that he would possibly "get to have his cake and eat it too" by becoming Obama's campaign manager--he could agree to manage the campaign, do something for the greater good of the country and then never have to actually see it through. He could potentially be home in a year with his wife and young son and go back to his everyday life.
Clearly, Plouffe could have not been more wrong in this early assumption. But it was this assumption that inevitably took Obama's campaign to higher grounds in many instances, considering that it was the exact same idea that the Clinton campaign took for fact as well. Throughout Audacity, it is shown time and time again just how confident Hilary Clinton's team was that Obama would not ever become a threat to Hilary's "inevitable" presidency.
Plouffe writes about an early campaign trail video and press release that Clinton's campaign had issued, proclaiming, "I'm in it to win it.":
"Hilary is going to win, her campaign insisted, so why would any donors, activists, or elected officials support one of the other campaigns? We thought it was a terrible misreading of the electorate--inevitability doesn't speak to a hunger for change--and they certainly misread the electoral terrain of the primary. The early states really do not like to be told the election is over before it has started.
"That said, we all had enormous respect for the Clinton political machine and assumed they were three steps ahead of us. The Clinton campaign may have underestimated us, but we never made that mistake regarding them."
Two great things we will note about this book--Audacity is written with impressive simplicity, making it an easy read for even those that are fairly clueless when it comes to current American politics. Additionally, Plouffe details all dirty laundry--that of the other campaigns and that of Obama's--with no exception. And though he is obviously biased as a strong Democrat and Obama faithful, Plouffe does an incredible job of telling his story with both sides, relaying his own mistakes and miscalculations as they actually happened; no sugar coat included.
Read an excerpt of The Audacity to Win here.