Dec. 9th 2009
Nov. 23rd 2009
It sounds pretty arrogant–”I’m going to find a new way to write about politics” — but that was my objective with Destiny Calling: How the People Elected Barack Obama. My sense was that the old hierarchy — newsroom elites deciding what was important, reporters following orders and each day filing dozens of very similar stories from the campaign trail — was melting away.
I was out of the game, one of a small army of veterans who either chose to leave the Chicago Tribune or were invited to leave to cut costs. But I wasn’t done with politics yet, particularly in light of Obama’s campaign, its epicenter in Illinois, and an awareness that a new kind of history was being written. Media may have been in collapse, but I wasn’t. I needed to find a better (and frankly, cheaper) way to do it. (More @ HuffingtonPost.com)
Democratic Party reform after the disastrous convention in Chicago in 1968 had the unintended consequence of making it easier for a strong campaigner with little experience or endorsements from party regulars to win primaries and, ultimately, the election. That was a formula tailor-made for the candidacy and ultimate victory of Barack Obama in the 2008 election. But it couldn’t have happened without an electorate fed up with the condition of the nation and open for change. Madigan uses his 40 years of experience as a reporter, much of it following political campaigns, and his current freedom as a professor to examine Obama’s victory. He talked to blue-collar workers in Pennsylvania, a retired military officer, a black woman in Mississippi who lost her home to Hurricane Katrina, teachers, municipal workers, and many others for a revealing look at voters and their concerns. Madigan also looks at the intersection of new technology and youthful supporters that held tremendous sway in the 2008 election. A thoughtful look at the voters behind Obama’s victory.
— Vanessa Bush