Today's political pundits express shock and disappointment when candidates resort to negative campaigning. But history reveals that smear campaigns are as American as apple pie. Anything for a Vote is a look at 200-plus years of dirty tricks and bad behavior in presidential elections, from George Washington to Barack Obama and John McCain. Let the name-calling begin!
1836: Congressman Davy Crockett accuses candidate Martin Van Buren of secretly wearing women's clothing: "He is laced up in corsets!"
1960: Former president Harry Truman advises voters that "if you vote for Richard Nixon, you ought to go to hell!"
Full of sleazy anecdotes from every presidential election in United States history, Anything for a Vote is a valuable reminder that history does repeat itself, that lessons can be learned from the past (though they usually aren't), and that our most famous presidents are not above reproach when it comes to the dirtiest game of all - political campaigning.
Yes, one shouldn't pretend this is "the whole story." It is selective on some of the facts and polemically so, but that doesn't take away its essential value. Yes, the 1790s were at least as virulent as today's campaigns, actually more so, and in a much more precarious time for the formation of our nation's government branches and overall viability. This is not entirely explored here at a deep level, but rather, we see a lot of the sound and fury on the surface. And that, of course, is most of what media gives us today. This is a breezy trip through American history from this point of view.
Once I started listening, I couldn't listen to anything else till I finished. Great story, great narration.