How Politics is Played

Before I read the book Hardball: How Politics is Played, Told by One Who Knows the Game written by Christopher Matthews (1988), I had a preconceived idea of what it might contain. From the title, I thought of it as a collection of past records of some kind of a dark game, that is, politics. Exaggerating as it may be, I think of Matthews portrayal of politics in the book would be a deadly sport with players shedding their blood.

I’m not really interested in politics but the book was worth reading for it gave me light about many things that are happening in politics and are affecting our daily lives. Hardball, in my own light after reading the book is “hard-politics” or in other words “raw politics”. In the book, Matthews gives lessons about how to play hardball game in a clean manner. After all, I realized my preconceived view was too exaggerated. Now, let me talk about some of the lessons which Matthews brought about in the book (which retained in my head).

I’m not going to focus on the anecdotes in the book as those were not really the essence of hardball. Politics is a recurring process and obviously, it is more important to determine the basic steps in the process rather than focus on each unique sample (as Washington is being cited more frequently by Matthews). However, I had to admit that Matthews provided really fascinating case studies and history. As others might say, the book was fun to read as you got to know a lot about building relationships particularly to the key players in the game, the public.

We know that in order for us to win in an election, we must have a good hold on the voting population which is all about maintaining a good relationship with the opponents and most importantly, with the public. I have here a list of key statements which is the very juice of Matthew’s Hardball. In them, I have given meanings that befit them. Want to know how to play hardball? Follow these simple rules: 1. “It’s not who you know; it’s who you get to know. ” Well, its simple to comprehend, isn’t it?

Matthews’ rule is simply thinking of the people you get to know and not those you already know. This statement is applicable not only in politics but perhaps in our daily lives as well. In building a strong relationship with others, we need to know them in detail so that we may understand them easily. 2. “Don’t get mad, don’t get even—get ahead. ” Here, Matthews teaches players (politicians) to be patient when something gets out of control. Instead, move on and do what is necessary.

I firmly agree on this and I also believe that everyone must behave this way. It applies not just to politicians but also in our own lives as we live through day by day. 3. “Hang a lantern on your problem . ” This means instead of hiding from an issue, why not focus on it? Take a closer and deeper understanding of the problem. Show it off. If you committed a mistake, admit it… and move on. 4. The press is the enemy. Matthews said that “Like policemen, they are always on duty. Don’t trust any of them. ” Maybe he’s right.

Well, the press is a tool that can be used for grandstanding purposes but in most cases, the cameras can not capture the essence of some situations. As a result, it can cause misrepresentation and totally ruin the player’s reputation. Rules Applied As part of this review, I am going to cite some of the presidential candidates for the 2008 elections, particularly candidates from the Republican and the Democratic Parties. For each party, I have taken two candidates. Here, we are going to examine how these candidates utilized the lessons in Matthews’ politicking manual or ignore them.

I do not include my opinion of who’s going to win but maybe next time. For the Republican Party, I choose to work with Mr. Rudolph W. Guiliani and Sen. John McCain. Rudolph Guliani. This former New York City mayor is popular particularly in tobacco issues because he was the one responsible for the prohibition of smoking in many workplaces except for stand-alone bars and some other locations. He was also popular when he (and Hillary Clinton) fought for the vacated senate seat for registering domain names (such as HillaryNo. com and HillaryNo.

org; still functioning today). However, despite his good reputation, he was able to release a bigger bomb for himself that blew tremendously and resulted to him called the “Hypocrite of the Week” by BuzzFlash for deliberately saying “that any Republican presidential candidate would prevent another 9/11, while any Democratic presidential candidate would not. .. Beyond being plain stupid, as Keith Olbermann noted, 9/11 happened during the administration of George W. Bush, a Republican, in a city where the Mayor, Rudy Guiliani, was a Republican.

” I guess this is such a big no-no and applying Matthews’ rules, he must not have at least told it in public, that is, through media. John McCain Sen. John McCain had long been representing the state of Arizona in the US Senate (since 1986). On 2000 presidential elections, he run but was defeated by George W. Bush in the Republican preliminaries. There’s a lot of to say about this guy but let me go directly to an example of deliberate violation of Matthews’ rules. According to records, McCain and other four senators were reported to have collaborated and supported Charles Keating’s secret manipulation of savings and loan banks.

Though he was not convicted of the act, the jury criticized him for this ‘questionable conduct. ’ What do we have here? Well, it is clear that McCain failed to follow one of Matthews’ lessons, that is, “hanging a lantern on your problem. ” As a public figure, he must not allow these things and that he must not be a questionable being. For the Democrats, I have considered Sen. Joe Biden and Sen. Hillary Clinton. Below is an examination of their actions with reference to Matthews’ rules. Joe Biden In one occasion while he was deliberating with Indian-Americans living in Delaware, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. or better call him Sen.

Joe, said “…You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin’ Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent…,” and he was asked to explain further. Delaware is populated with Indian professionals and businessmen and his answer may cause something bad to him, particularly in his public image. Luckily, his spokesperson, in the name of Margaret Aitken, said that Biden “admires, supports and respects the Indian-American community…” In connection with Matthews’ lessons, as a politician, “it’s not who you know, it’s who you get to know. ” Biden had followed this rule and indeed he gained the support of Indians in Delaware.

Hillary Rodham Clinton As a lady of strong and competent character, Hillary had taken a lot of prominent position in policy matters. This includes her current state as a junior Senator in the US Senate. She began as a lawyer and had made it to the top 100 most influential lawyers in America and she even entered in the world’s most powerful people in both Forbes and Time magazine. To cut it short, Mrs. Clinton is someone who had acquired Matthews’ lessons and had applied it excellently. The awards she got show what kind of personality she has and how she deals with other people.