Sense of Direction (Campaign Trail)

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9781938467639: Sense of Direction (Campaign Trail)

What starts out as a routine assignment for Professor Steven Kaye becomes a race to survive and find a new sense of direction.

Kaye is enjoying country club life in Florida when his son Ross volunteers him as the chauffeur to presidential candidate Senator Dallas Dunn. During a weekend of political rallies, fundraisers and a presidential debate, Kaye must think on his feet to protect the senator and himself from evil forces.

Recent national events prompt Dunn to make a bold speech about securing America’s borders, triggering attempts by his many detractors to sabotage his candidacy. Due to a highly charged political landscape, various factions adopt strategies that call for the senator’s demise.

A Mexican druglord, a Vietnam vet, a distressed defense contractor, a handsome cartel henchman, and former members of the Bulgarian Secret Police all stand in the way as the senator tries one last time to secure his party’s nomination.
 

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About the Author:

Cash Kushel is an accomplished storyteller whose novels include Lotto Trouble, The Choosers and Stockhammer.  He holds a Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin. He has been an award-winning professor for the past thirty-three years at both Fordham University and New York University. Kushel has appeared on television numerous times as a business and legislative analyst.
 

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

CHAPTER ONE
Wallington Circle
Professor Steven Kaye was half-way through his power walk around the two-mile circle inside the lavish Wallington Country Club. The hot Florida sun brought beads of sweat to his face. The iPhone sitting in his right pocket began to vibrate. Without breaking stride, he grabbed it and noticed that the call was from his son Ross.
Steven’s Boca Raton home stood inside a magnificent gated community of thirteen hundred well-appointed residences. He migrated south ten years earlier after winning a substantial amount of money playing the New Jersey lottery. He packed up and moved with his wife Susan and their three sons surrendering his suburban New Jersey roots.
The move brought forth the pursuit of an active lifestyle. He took advantage of all Wallington Country Club had to offer. Golf, tennis and working out in the state-of-the-art gym kept him from finding a hole in his day.
The Kayes made many new friends leading to a feverish social life. Entering the club’s bar for a quick bite often turned into many hours of socialization, as did grabbing lounge chairs at the club’s magnificent swimming complex. The ten years in Boca Raton had flown by quickly. With their children grown, the empty nesters had even more free time to enjoy club life
“Tough life,” Steven would often say, sarcastically. He had no regrets as to what his life had become. He pinched himself once a day asking if he really lived in this incredible paradise.
Whenever he returned from being away he was still in awe as he drove past the fountain at the Wallington entrance. As he walked the circle, he marveled at the beauty of the foliage and the majestic palm trees lining the two-mile oval.  
Previously, Steven was an accounting and taxation professor at Fordham University in New York City. After moving, he accepted a similar position at Florida Atlantic University, his ninety minute commute having been replaced by a quick ten minute jaunt. On occasion, he still flew around the country when his expertise was needed in connection with lucrative consulting projects. But his normal schedule consisted of teaching at Florida Atlantic two days each week.
His oldest son, Scott, graduated Lynn University in Boca Raton. A criminal justice major, he found employment as a Deputy in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Steven’s youngest son Jordan attended the University of Miami as a communications major. He became the voice of the Miami Hurricanes on the college radio station, having called many of the play-by-play broadcasts for football, basketball and baseball.
His middle son, Ross, graduated Cornell University with a double major in American studies and economics. He was earning a six figure salary working for a major Wall Street investment bank. He spent his long days dealing in treasury securities and fixed income derivatives.
He excelled in his job and had a great attitude, earning a top bonus for a first year analyst. He took the job at his father’s urging but he wanted to do something else with his life.
 
“Hi Ross, how are you?”
“Great dad, I just took a walk away from the trading desk for some privacy. I have some exciting news.”
Steven held his breath. He knew what was coming.
“I’m giving notice this afternoon.”
“I can’t convince you otherwise?”
“I don’t enjoy staring at a computer monitor all day long, surrounded by the din of the trading floor. Every morning I leave my apartment and it’s still dark out. My colleagues are at their Bloomberg terminals checking out where the ten-year note trades overnight in Tokyo and London. They get excited if interest rates fluctuate two basis points. And I’m checking out political websites.” Ross paused. “Seriously, something is really wrong with this picture.”
“I hear you. I wish you’d stay. There’s a lot to be said about financial security. But if you’re really passionate about this...”
“I don’t know what I want to be doing in five years, but I do know what I want to be doing in the short-term.”
“Sounds...”
“What the hell is going on? Why are you breathing hard?”
“You caught me walking around the circle at Wallington.”
“Can’t you stop for just a minute? This is important.”
Steven slowed his pace to a slow crawl and leaned up against a palm tree surrounded by a strip of well-manicured plantings.
“Okay son. I understand. You’ve decided to go work for that man.”
“I’ve been tapping my network. Do you remember that alum of my frat, Sean Lowell? He graduated fifteen years before me and is CEO of a DC think tank. He said I’d be crazy if I failed to take advantage of this opportunity. He put me in touch with ‘the general.’ ”
“The general?”
“Yeah, I spoke with him by phone last week. He’s an old-school Washington guy and lives next door to Barefoot Fredricks, Senator Dunn’s campaign manager. Fredricks offered me a position. I start next week.”
“Look, son, I want to be supportive, but Dallas Dunn? I predict you’ll be out of a job in a month. Don’t give up Wall Street for something so transient.”
“It’s only July. The New Hampshire primary isn’t until January.”
“I’m telling you, by August, his campaign will be over.”
“Show some faith.”
“I’m just being realistic. Dallas Dunn is tracking near the bottom of the polls. He almost won the nomination eight years ago, but this time he’s just too damn old.”
“His real Achilles heel is a lack of money. His military career and service in Congress never allowed him the opportunity to amass a fortune. It’s almost impossible to run for president these days without adequate funding. His campaign is limping along because he sponsored a bipartisan bill giving illegal aliens a path towards citizenship. The conservative base of the party labeled the senator’s plan ‘amnesty.’ causing terrible political fallout.”
""But Ross...”
“Look, Dunn made a bold attempt to address one of the defining issues of our time. He must convince the party rank and file to overlook his earlier position on immigration. He can’t let that define him.”
 “I suppose.”   
“Dad, I can’t think of a better opportunity. Imagine being in on the ground floor attempting to reshape and communicate the positive ideas and policies a Dunn candidacy stands for.”
“But the campaign is in crisis. If he throws in the towel in a month’s time because of money, or lack of support, then what will you do?”
“I’ll find a job in Washington on the Hill.”
“What salary will the campaign pay you?”
“Nothing at first – I’ll be a full-time volunteer. Hopefully I’d transition into paid staff at some point. They want me on the ground in Manchester, all the way through the primary in January.”
“Ross, his campaign is in the toilet. This job is going to evaporate.”
“I’ll bet you twenty bucks he sees New Hampshire through.”
“Save your money. This is already costing you six figures.”
“I’ll be meeting and working with many influential people. If things break right I could parlay this into a job in the West Wing.”
“Keep your expectations realistic.”
“The timing couldn’t be better. I don’t have a wife, kids, a mortgage, a dog or even a girlfriend. There’s nothing holding me back. In sixteen months there’ll be a presidential election. I have a golden opportunity to work on a campaign for a man I truly believe in.”
“Zimbalist seems to be a decent man. He’s the front runner. If you want to be part of history then I suggest you place your efforts behind his candidacy.”
“I don’t want to work for him. The man has no character, substance or ideas. He never takes a real stand on the issues.”
“If your goal is to work on a campaign, his is going the distance.”
“Zimbalist would be a terrible president. I’m not doing this out of desperation. I won’t work for someone I don’t believe in.
“That’s admirable. No one will accuse you of being an opportunist.”
“All Dunn has ever done is to serve his country with honor and dignity. He was a prisoner of war for five years. He was tortured and mistreated in ways the rest of us can’t imagine. He has moderate views and tells things the way they are. You’ve always told me how much you admire him.”
“Yes, Ross, that’s true. I think he’s a good man, but time has passed him by. His real chance was eight years ago. Are you sure you won’t reconsider?”
“If I’m going to work sixteen hours a day for little or no pay then it’s going to be for Dallas Dunn. Trust me – my guy is going to win.”
“I hope you’re right son.”

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