Jimmy Carter and Political Maxim

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Hardball by Chris Matthews: Quotes

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...
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