An early fax machine was procured for Thompson after he inquired about the device while visiting venture capitalist Max Palevsky , who concurrently served as chairman of Xerox and Rolling Stone for several years in the early s. Dubbing it "the mojo wire", Thompson used the nascent technology to capitalize on the freewheeling nature of the campaign and extend the writing process precariously close to printing deadlines, often haphazardly sending in notes mere hours before the magazine went to press. Fellow writers and editors would have to assemble the finished product with Thompson over the phone.
Like his earlier novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas , Thompson employed a number of unique literary styles in On the Campaign Trail , including the use of vulgarity and the humorous exaggeration of events. Despite the unconventional style, the book is still considered a hallmark of campaign journalism and helped to launch Thompson's role as a popular political observer. A self-described political junkie, Thompson fixes his sights early on McGovern as the candidate to whom he will attach himself.
Dismissing Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey as a "hopeless old hack" and presumed nominee Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine , whose campaign he said exuded a "stench of death", Thompson was vindicated in his choice of McGovern. The nomination of McGovern was not assured, however, as others in the Democratic party attempted to recruit Ted Kennedy to run or focused on George Wallace 's perceived ability to win the South. With brutal honesty Thompson narrates the smallest decisions on what speech to give where from school gymnasiums for young voters, to public halls in heavily Polish districts of Milwaukee , to the attempt to create buzz for Muskie through an old-fashioned and disastrous whistle-stop train tour through Florida dubbed the Sunshine Special to the ill-fated selection of Thomas Eagleton as the Vice-Presidential candidate.
The book is notable for its introduction not only to the candidates of but also its early glimpses of future political leaders. Gary Hart of Colorado , who served as McGovern's campaign manager and would later run for and win a seat in the U. Senate, and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter , who would himself capture the Democratic nomination and Presidency, are two examples.
Thompson's hatred of Richard Nixon is on display throughout—in diatribes on policy, as well as personal invective directed at Nixon and his inner circle. Despite this, Thompson humanizes the incumbent through several episodes, including recounting a private interview with Nixon in New Hampshire during the presidential election that largely focused on their mutual fascination with football. In later years and articles, Thompson recounted his amazement that Nixon wasn't just talking about football but that he seemed to have a "genuine interest" in the game, and often cited the encounter as further evidence of how Nixon's every public maneuver was politically calculated even if it hid his true self.
By the end of the campaign and its disastrous defeat for McGovern who won only Massachusetts and Washington D. As much as it is about the candidates and their various political processes, the book is equally a critical look at the mainstream media coverage of the campaigns and politics. Criticizing the various pundits and political "experts", Thompson rails against the often incestuous relationships between politicians and those who write about them. One of those who met Ms. Corsaro said.
He said he had hoped to have the same kind of access when he started covering the presidential campaign almost a year ago. Maybe the press should be pushing harder, as lack of access to John MCcain should be sending up a giant red flag. I can only imagine what a John McCain Presidential news conference will be like. But, images of Kremlin control come to mind. What a stark contrast to even just a month ago. People ought to pay attention to this complete reversal and ask why?
1972 ‘Campaign Trail’ by Thompson worth following
What is McCain afraid of? Does he not have the knowledge to answer important questions? Is there a new message being controlled by people other than Mr. He was one of the most honest and insightful political reporters with one of the most creative and unique voices in all of journalism.
Kind of an odd development for McCain — limiting the press like they have recently. When you can only speak from a script, your disciplined campaign machine does well to keep you from impromptu contact. What would you have made of the lacklustre McCain, and his oily handlers?
Instead, we are pummeled daily by bland, toothless corporate apartchiks, pretending to report the truth about the candidates, but only whoring their services out in the name of conglomerate profit. This is such …???
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