Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency

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9780385318099: Why Not Me? The Inside Story of the Making and Unmaking of the Franken Presidency

First came Theodore White's The Making of the President, 1960.  Then All the President's Men.  Now the searing chronicle that will forever change the way we view the man and the office .  .  .  

The dramatic rise and dizzying fall of Al Franken, who would become the first Jewish president of the United States.

Franken began his unique American journey in the small town of Christhaven, Minnesota, the self-described "son of the son of immigrants and the son of a daughter of a son and daughter of immigrants."

Follow the Franken campaign from its infancy as the candidate pledges "to walk the state of New Hampshire, diagonally and then from side to side." As he candidly admits "causing pain in his marriage," then boldly refuses to dignify any questions from the media regarding past, present, or future sexual behavior.  

Go behind the scenes and meet Team Franken, the candidate's brain trust.  Including brother and deputy campaign manager Otto, a recovering sex addict and alcoholic.  Campaign manager Norm Ornstein, the think-tank policy wonk who masterminds the single-issue (ATM fees) campaign.  Media consultant Dick Morris, who exploits the shocking millennium bug-induced "ATM meltdown" by building an ad campaign around a diabetic woman who loses her right foot after computers erase all her ATM deposits.  And former Grizzly Adams star Dan Haggerty.  

Cheer as Franken stuns the pundits by defeating Al Gore for the Democratic nomination, then is swept into office with a landslide victory over Newt Gingrich.  As he chooses an all-Jewish Cabinet because "America doesn't want a Cabinet that looks like America, it wants a Cabinet the President is comfortable with."

Then, through excerpts from Bob Woodward's detailed account of the first hundred days, The Void, go inside the Franken White House.  Gripped by crisis from day one, the president develops a severe case of chronic fatigue syndrome.  After the highly medicated chief executive exhibits a roller coaster of bipolar behavior, including the "slugging Nelson Mandela" incident and an attempt to clone himself, Franken is forced to cooperate with the Joint Congressional Committee on the President's Mood Swings.  And when the committee releases Franken's personal diaries to the public, his presidency faces its ultimate crisis.

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Review:

In this hilarious political satire, Al Franken reveals how, by focusing relentlessly on the issue of ATM fees, he managed to wrest the Democratic presidential nomination away from Vice President Al Gore in the 2000 elections and become the 44th president of the United States. He then wound up running the second-shortest administration in American history, announcing in his resignation speech: "It is my fondest wish that, in the fullness of time, the American people will look back on the Franken presidency as something of a mixed bag and not as a complete disaster."

Why Not Me? is divided into three main sections. The first, "Daring to Lead," is Franken's "authorized campaign autobiography," in which he lays out his life story and his reasons for seeking the nation's highest office. Then, in his campaign diaries, we follow Franken and his team of advisers--including former Clinton pollster Dick Morris and Dan Haggerty, TV's Grizzly Adams--across New Hampshire and Iowa. Finally, there's "The Void," the behind-the-scenes account by Bob Woodward of Franken's first 100 days in the Oval Office. As a writer, Franken takes aim at a lot of targets, with nary a miss; there are enough great jokes in Why Not Me? to make almost anybody break down with a fit of the giggles at some point (especially at pages 132 to 133, but don't peek! It'll spoil the buildup). --Ron Hogan

From the Back Cover:

First came Theodore White's The Making of the President, 1960. Then All the President's Men. Now the searing chronicle that will forever change the way we view the man and the office...

... chronicles the dramatic rise and dizzying fall of Al Franken, who would become the first Jewish president of the United States. Meet the president as a young man. Witness the Franken campaign in its infancy, as the candidate pledges "to walk the state of New Hampshire, diagonally and then from side to side". Go behind the scenes and meet Team Franken, the candidate's brain trust: including brother and deputy campaign manager Otto, a recovering sex addict and alcoholic, and campaign manager Norm Ornstein, the think-tank policy wonk who masterminds the single-issue (ATM fees) campaign. Cheer as Franken stuns the pundits by defeating Al Gore for the Democratic nomination, then is swept into office carrying all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

Then, through excerpts from Bob Woodward's detailed account of the first hundred days, The Void, go inside the Franken White House, which is gripped by crisis from day one. After the highly medicated chief executive exhibits a roller coaster of bipolar behavior, Franken is forced to cooperate with the Joint Congressional Committee on the President's Mood Swings. And when the committee releases Franken's personal diaries to the public, his presidency faces its ultimate crisis.

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