Hardball by Chris Matthews is an interpretation of what many know as “hard-politics”. The book describes the skill of playing the game in Washington and how to be successful at it. The book is a guide that teaches a series of maxims that would be in favor of politicians to learn in order to be successful. The different tactics provided in the book hold a lot of knowledge that would make the life of anyone following these strategies much easier when trying to get ahead in life.
Matthews describes a countless number of examples of successful politicians that rose to the top.
Those politicians are the ones who learned how to play hardball in Washington. Matthews provides many of his observations over the years and describes them with quotes from various sources. Quoted by Chris Matthews, he states “JFK would call 5 or 6 … LBJ would take 19 names and call them all. ” The quote lies deep in the heart of the political maxim retail politics.
Retail politics is the management of one-to-one communication among voters or other politicians. Lyndon B. Johnson was a mastermind of retail politics and embraced every moment of it.
Johnson’s success came from his unique instinct to work at a man’s ego. While JFK was more of a wholesaler, Johnson worked retail politics like it was candy. That is exactly what the quote is symbolizing, the difference between a wholesaler and a retail politician. JFK was more widespread and focused more on voters than other politicians. Johnson had the patience and humility to work with every legislator one at a time and get that connection that he needed.
This type of networking is what made LBJ successful in politics and it’s what made him stand out from an average politician.
Another quote provided in the book Hardball was in Chapter 3. It stated, “He’s not going to win. It’s a Republican district. He’d be better for us is he loses. He’ll work for me. He’ll bring his organization with him. ” This was a strategy that President Jimmy Carter used to benefit his campaign. Jimmy Carter played smart politics in this quote that is connected to the “it’s better to receive than to give maxim. ” The maxim means to let others give to you because it makes them feel involved. Carter played this strategy to a tee.
Carter knew that his best line of defense would come from those who had lost their elections and were looking for a job. The quote symbolizes the tactic Carter used and how his intelligence allowed him to take advantage of the situation. He knew that those individuals faced a tough race and when they lost, they would become his support because people like to be used and not ignored. Another quotes that is related to the “it’s better to give then to receive,” maxim is a quote I found to be very witty. The quotes states, “I’ve lived across the street from you for 18 years …
I shoveled your walk in winter. I cut your grass in summer… I didn’t think I had to ask you for your vote. He never forgot her response. ‘Tom, I want you to know something: people like to be asked. ” The lady knew Tip O’Neil and all he had done for her over the years, but out of respect she found that all he needed to do was ask. She wanted to make sure she was considered and thought about, so she wouldn’t be taken for granted. The main point from this quote is that people don’t mind being used, but they do mind being taken for granted.
It’s important to know that asking favors only brings in more supporters. People want to invest in others and are often not critical of that person because they also have a lot invested in them. An important maxim that a politician can learn is “don’t get mad, don’t get even; get ahead. ” The following quotes states, “Cry Baby”, screamed the headline of the New York Daily News above a picture of Newt in diapers. “Newt’s Tantrum: He closed down the government because Clinton made him sit at the back of the plane. I find this quote to be the funniest of the rest of the quotes.
It clearly demonstrates the fallout of trying to get even with someone. It doesn’t work so ignore the revenge part and surpass your expectations. The political maxim “don’t get mad, don’t get even; get ahead,” means to maintain calm and concentrate all your power on progressing and becoming a success. Newt Gingrich didn’t apply the political maxim to his career which resulted in the quote above. His ego allowed a government shutdown to occur and the pressed slammed him in all newspapers.
Gingrich forgot to concentrate on moving past the government shutdown, but instead played a game and lost the political game. My favorite political maxim in the book is “Leave no shot unanswered. ” The following quote corresponds with the political maxim as it states, “The purpose of the war room was not just to respond to Republican attacks … It was to respond to them fast, even before they were broadcasted or published, when the lead of the story was still rolling around in the reporter’s mind… ” Bill Clinton knew of that certain political maxim and he knew it well.
Attacks to a candidate are harmful if left alone. They stick to you and become a reality if they are not disputed. Aided by George Stephanopoulos, Bill Clinton was alerted of the lethal combination of an unanswered shot. It was an important strategy because if a shot is unanswered, people start to believe that it is true which can sometimes ruin an entire campaign. The quote also makes you realize the necessity of responding to an attack. Clinton had to create an entire new room named, “the War Room” in order to fire back. That shows how much of an importance it is to leave no shot unanswered.