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The Long Game: A Memoir

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“I have learned that the story of a nation’s success, and the success of each one of us, is a slow awakening to the timeless value of the long game.” In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign, the young Republican hoped Reagan’s en “I have learned that the story of a nation’s success, and the success of each one of us, is a slow awakening to the timeless value of the long game.” In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign, the young Republican hoped Reagan’s endorsement would give a much-needed boost to his campaign. Alas, when Reagan finally stepped to the microphone, he smiled for the crowd and declared: “I’m happy to be here with my good friend, Mitch O’Donnell.”         That was hardly Mitch McConnell’s first setback, and far from his last. But as he learned running his very first campaign for high school student body president, you don’t have to be the most popular, most athletic, or even the luckiest kid to win. You just need to run the best campaign. So he swallowed hard, put his head down, and kept going. Four weeks later he won his Senate seat, beginning a storied career that would eventually lead to his becoming the Senate Majority Leader.         The Long Game is the candid, behind-the-scenes memoir of a man famous for his discretion. He tells how his mother helped him beat polio by leading him through long, aching exercises every day for two years. He explains how his father taught him the importance of standing up to bullies, even if it meant taking the occasional punch. And he reveals what he really thinks about the rivalry between the Senate and the House; about the players and the stakes involved when a group of political opportunists tried to hijack the Tea Party movement; and about key figures such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid. He tells the inside story of the battle against Obamacare and explains the real causes of the chronic gridlock, his ongoing efforts to restore the U.S. Senate, and what ordinary citizens have a right to expect from Washington.         In today’s atmosphere of impatience and instant gratification, McConnell still believes the Founders knew best when they instituted a government with checks and balances. As he writes, “In the end, the goal isn't a perfectly running congressional machine or a party without blemish or inner turmoil. The goal is to allow the country to work out its differences freely and energetically, confident that the institutions the Founders left us are capable of accommodating the disputes and disagreements that arise in a nation as big and diverse and open as ours.”


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“I have learned that the story of a nation’s success, and the success of each one of us, is a slow awakening to the timeless value of the long game.” In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign, the young Republican hoped Reagan’s en “I have learned that the story of a nation’s success, and the success of each one of us, is a slow awakening to the timeless value of the long game.” In October 1984, a hard-charging Kentucky politician waited excitedly for President Ronald Reagan to arrive at a presidential rally in Louisville. In the midst of a tough Senate campaign, the young Republican hoped Reagan’s endorsement would give a much-needed boost to his campaign. Alas, when Reagan finally stepped to the microphone, he smiled for the crowd and declared: “I’m happy to be here with my good friend, Mitch O’Donnell.”         That was hardly Mitch McConnell’s first setback, and far from his last. But as he learned running his very first campaign for high school student body president, you don’t have to be the most popular, most athletic, or even the luckiest kid to win. You just need to run the best campaign. So he swallowed hard, put his head down, and kept going. Four weeks later he won his Senate seat, beginning a storied career that would eventually lead to his becoming the Senate Majority Leader.         The Long Game is the candid, behind-the-scenes memoir of a man famous for his discretion. He tells how his mother helped him beat polio by leading him through long, aching exercises every day for two years. He explains how his father taught him the importance of standing up to bullies, even if it meant taking the occasional punch. And he reveals what he really thinks about the rivalry between the Senate and the House; about the players and the stakes involved when a group of political opportunists tried to hijack the Tea Party movement; and about key figures such as Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Harry Reid. He tells the inside story of the battle against Obamacare and explains the real causes of the chronic gridlock, his ongoing efforts to restore the U.S. Senate, and what ordinary citizens have a right to expect from Washington.         In today’s atmosphere of impatience and instant gratification, McConnell still believes the Founders knew best when they instituted a government with checks and balances. As he writes, “In the end, the goal isn't a perfectly running congressional machine or a party without blemish or inner turmoil. The goal is to allow the country to work out its differences freely and energetically, confident that the institutions the Founders left us are capable of accommodating the disputes and disagreements that arise in a nation as big and diverse and open as ours.”

30 review for The Long Game: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Grossman

    I read this book with an open mind, or at least with the mindset of, "Donald Trump is unprincipled and insane. I want to know more about what a *real* Republican believes." Mitch McConnell has been my home state senator since before I was born, so I thought this was a good place to start. What was good: 1. I feel like I have a better sense for how McConnell views campaign finance reform. He thinks money is speech, and that having few limits on campaign finance is good for people like him, who was I read this book with an open mind, or at least with the mindset of, "Donald Trump is unprincipled and insane. I want to know more about what a *real* Republican believes." Mitch McConnell has been my home state senator since before I was born, so I thought this was a good place to start. What was good: 1. I feel like I have a better sense for how McConnell views campaign finance reform. He thinks money is speech, and that having few limits on campaign finance is good for people like him, who was a relative nobody but was well-funded by business people, and for conservatives in general, because the media, as he sees it, has a liberal spin, and will be the primary source of information about candidates if the corporate influence is lessened. This seem like a fine, reasonable position. 2. On three occasions (voting for LBJ when he ran against Goldwater, supporting a primary challenger against a Republican who didn't support the Civil Rights Act, voting for sanctions against South Africa during apartheid) McConnell took a stand in support of civil rights. 3. He thinks that Obama does not compromise, that instead he lectures and tries to get you to change your view to his. He compared this to Joe Biden, who he says acknowledges your positions differ and then works to cut a deal. (He likes Biden's way better.) I think it's useful knowing this is how McConnell perceives Obama, without getting in to whether or not that's fair. What was bad: 1. Throughout the book, he compares politics to violent sport. He talks about his elementary school teacher encouraging students to physically fight to solve problems, even providing them with boxing gloves to do so. His own father encouraged him to beat up his bully. McConnell sees this as perfectly fine behavior and good advice for working in the senate. He said he noticed the kids who won the fights were those who planted their feet firmly and stood their ground. Yeesh. 2. He's mean. More than that, he's mean on the same page he derides other people for being mean. He says Al Gore has the personality of a cardboard box. He says that Nancy Pelosi just repeats talking points without saying anything of substance. A caption of a picture with him and Obama reads "As usual, President Obama is doing most of the talking." This all strikes me as petty and sniveling. There's a polite way to criticize people and this is not it. 3. He states that he regrets two of those great stands he took in support of civil rights (voting for LBJ and supporting a primary challenge) because party loyalty is the most important thing. And this is after he says: "A century of principled advocacy for civil rights was forgotten the moment we nominated Barry Goldwater as our party's candidate for president." But he still regrets voting against him? I guess that makes it easier to understand his support for Trump, but, goodness, this is super wrong. 4. I feel neutral about the way he portrays ACA and the government shutdown. He blames the Democrats, as expected, for partisanship. I expect a Democrat's memoir would do the same thing, just reversed. He makes the point that most pieces of monumental legislation have at least some bi-partisan support. That's fair enough, but he also explains that he made it clear to Republicans that not a single one of them was to support it. And he did that so that they wouldn't be blamed for this disastrous bill. Why didn't he try to make it better? Or compromise? He doesn't say, but it seems related to his view that the senate is the same as two schoolchildren fighting and standing their ground. 5. With the exception of money is speech, he doesn't talk about his principles or beliefs. I assume he has *some* beliefs. He doesn't even explain really why he's a Republican. What came across is that he loves to win (he was class president in high school, college, and law school) and loves politics as sport. My opinion of Mitch McConnell after reading his memoir is that he's an unprincipled, power-hungry person who sees Democrats in general, and President Obama in particular, as the enemy. So...pretty much the same as before.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    McConnell writes in his memoir he wanted to be a career politician at an early age. I have read a number of political memoirs and he is the first person to say they always wanted to be a politician. I read memoirs from politicians of both parties in an attempt to understand them and their viewpoints. I am always interested in how a person becomes who they are. In the first part of the book McConnell tells of his early life. I was most interested in his fight with polio as a child. He gives the cr McConnell writes in his memoir he wanted to be a career politician at an early age. I have read a number of political memoirs and he is the first person to say they always wanted to be a politician. I read memoirs from politicians of both parties in an attempt to understand them and their viewpoints. I am always interested in how a person becomes who they are. In the first part of the book McConnell tells of his early life. I was most interested in his fight with polio as a child. He gives the credit of his recovery to his mother who daily led him through exercises and encouraged him. He states he and his mother grew very close. He said that from his father he learned to stand up to bullies even if he had to take a punch. The middle and end of the book deals with McConnell’s political career. He says he graduated from the University of Louisville with a B.A. in history/political science and from the University of Kentucky School of Law. He tells about his beginnings in running for elected office to becoming leader of the Senate. McConnell goes into his political philosophy and goals for himself and the nation. The book is well written and moves at an even pace. My main criticism of the book is his one sided view of issues and government. Overall I found learning about McConnell’s life and his view of government interesting. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. Mitch McConnell narrated his own book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I've always said you shouldn't base your opinion on what you hear on CNN, MSNBC, or FOX. I have long had an unfavorable opinion of this politician, but I decided to practice what I've preached and give him a chance to tell me his story in his words. After reading this book.....I still think he's a liar and an egotistical dick-head. I've always said you shouldn't base your opinion on what you hear on CNN, MSNBC, or FOX. I have long had an unfavorable opinion of this politician, but I decided to practice what I've preached and give him a chance to tell me his story in his words. After reading this book.....I still think he's a liar and an egotistical dick-head.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Justin Tapp

    This is, I believe, the 4th autobiography by a Senator that I have read (Clinton, Cruz, Paul, Rubio). I read it because I'm a Kentuckian and I like to know who is representing me. This book lends Mitch McConnell to the criticisms of liberals lately, namely that McConnell lives to empower McConnell at the expense of anything else. In fact, the New York Review of Books review of this book and Alec MacGillis' biography have more interesting detail about McConnell's rise than this does. The "Long Ga This is, I believe, the 4th autobiography by a Senator that I have read (Clinton, Cruz, Paul, Rubio). I read it because I'm a Kentuckian and I like to know who is representing me. This book lends Mitch McConnell to the criticisms of liberals lately, namely that McConnell lives to empower McConnell at the expense of anything else. In fact, the New York Review of Books review of this book and Alec MacGillis' biography have more interesting detail about McConnell's rise than this does. The "Long Game" McConnell's title refers to is that of his lifelong desire to be Majority Leader. He states this motivation up front, unapologetically, so I guess he gets points for not pretending to be motivated by public service or maintaining fidelity to America's founding principles. James Madison knew the personal ambitions of politicians when he wrote the Constitution, writes McConnell, so he embraces that ambition rather than hide it. He now has the power he has always sought and will fight to keep it. The tragic irony of this book is that McConnell criticizes the scorched-earth politics of the right wing of his party (Jim DeMint is the only Republican name McConnell heaps scorn on) while he has engaged in it against the Democrats for his entire career. He speaks of the need to compromise and work across the aisle but never demonstrates it himself. The Senate ceased to be the world's longest-running and most-admired deliberative body when McConnell was willing to put politics ahead of America and refuse to hear Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court. That event is not in the book, but is the logical result of an entire career built on playing political games for personal power. The only principles he fought tooth-and-nail for was to attack McCain-Feingold's campaign finance reforms all the way to the Supreme Court. That appears to be his proudest accomplishment as a legislator. McConnell was born in Alabama and lived a stint in Georgia before his family moved to Louisville. He claims his parents were "unusual" by instilling in himself a belief in the importance of civil rights despite being Southerners with strong Confederate history. (The picture below suggests McConnell may not necessarily disown that history.) His father wrote him a letter about his happiness over the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, even while McConnell was a staffer for an ultra-conservative Congressman who opposed it. Oddly, McConnell mentions admiration for Kentuckian Henry Clay, whose actions perpetuated slavery, and does not mention Henry's brother Cassius Clay. This is sharp contrast to fellow Senator Rand Paul, who writes that Cassius and not Henry is the most admirable of the two. But McConnell does not seem to be a deep thinker or particularly well-read. If he enjoys the arts, he does so with his immediate family, who he refuses to talk about in the book-- making the memoir somewhat cold and impersonal. The only thing he returns to as his love in the book is University of Louisville sports, living and dying by every game. The future Majority Leader got his start running for student body president at Emmanuel high, when he had the ingenious idea of lining up endorsements from popular kids and publicizing them. McConnell kept up the student body campaigning and even led a civil rights march at the University of Louisville while he worked for aforementioned Republican congressman. He regrets Barry Goldwater's positions. (According to McConnell, he also stood up to Pres. Reagan on apartheid in his first Senate term.) He went to law school and got married, and then regretted the marriage and divorced (and that's all he has to say about that, as well as his children from that marriage who he apparently has good relations with). It is never clear in the book why McConnell is a Republican. His dad had liked Eisenhower, but it's not clear why McConnell disliked Kennedy. Once a lawyer, McConnell realized he hated practicing law and would die if he had to do that every day, he missed politics and felt that was his calling. He got a job working in the Justice Department where the bureaucracy was like purgatory. He escaped and ran for Jefferson County Judge Executive, a powerful position over the state's largest county, beating incumbent Todd Hollenbeck (who would remain in state politics for years). He was re-elected in 1981 and mentions he went through his divorce. McConnell decided to run for US Senate on a platform of limited government, fiscal conservativism, etc. In the midst of that 1984 campaign, when things weren't going well, McConnell has what appears to be his only spiritual moment in the book. On the edge of a nervous breakdown, living alone, he seemingly almost wants to surrender his life, will, and campaign to God. But in that moment he gets off his knees, somehow puts away his doubts, and resolves that the Senate is all he really wants. McConnell hired Roger Ailes to manage his media, and a new Republican marriage was made. Aile's famous ad from this race is the bloodhound ad, attacking his incumbent opponent's voting record. McConnell squeaked out 5,100 vote win. He benefited from large campaign backing, raising almost $3.2 million in today's dollars, which was unheard of back then. Not incidentally, keeping campaign finance reform laws off the books becomes the issue he delves most deeply into in his memoir. McConnell's dad died as he won re-election but he would soon meet Elaine Chao and fall in love. He opened the McConnell Center at Louisville and attends as many football and basketball games as he can. As he advanced up the Senate leadership, he opposed campaign finance reform, refused to sign Gingrich's Contract with America (Mitch opposes term limits), and breaks with conservatives on flag burning because of the same Constitutional principles. He made the decision to expel Bob Packwood from the Senate. He liked managing the floor, whipping up votes, etc. Everything was another step closer to the Majority Leader position. The Senator from Kentucky spends much of his criticisms on Democratic presidents Clinton and Obama. He rehashes the 1990s Clinton impeachment but perhaps considers the midnight pardon of Mark Rich to be the most egregious act-- "Even Jimmy Carter said it was disgraceful." Obama, meanwhile, is professorial who wastes time lecturing Republicans rather than getting to work or letting them do their jobs. Perhaps the greatest sign of respect he shows for Obama was when candidate Obama came to DC with John McCain in the campaign suspension in the midst of the financial crisis. Obama spoke for the Democrats at the meeting, clearly understood the issues, and clearly had the Democratic establishment deferring to him. That, Mitch says, is the when they knew what they were in for. Even where McConnell basically admits that the debt ceiling debacles were Republicans' fault, and blames his right-wing, it's still Obama's fault for scolding them or giving speeches when they needed to work out negotiations, etc. He tells the old saw that Boehner or McConnell could take phone calls from Obama, put the phone down, pick it up minutes later and the President would still be lecturing about the virtues of his position. There is a noted lack of hindsight bias in his view on the 2003 Iraq war. McConnell believes we should have attacked Iraq FASTER, and states it would have been "reckless to dismiss the intelligence" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He ignores that he (like all other Senators) never looked at the intelligence report the CIA made available to the Senate-- he took the Administration's word for it. It does not enter his memoir that the intelligence was wrong, or that it's been a trillion dollar mistake, etc. He doubles down by saying Qaddafi's giving up his weapons was a vindication of Bush policy, in which he must be either ignorant or intentionally deceitful-- negotiations with Qaddafi had been ongoing since the Reagan Administration and had little to do with Iraq. We've since seen what happens when you break Libya, anyway. Maybe just as alarmingly, McConnell never mentions the sscandals and other GOP problems that cost them the 2006 midterms, which also led to Democratic overhaul of ethics. If you hadn't actually kept up with the news during this period you might not notice its absence, but fortunately I was watching closely at the time. Jim DeMint, who would go on to head the Heritage Foundation, is McConnell's only Republican foil in the book. It's clear at times he's talking about Ted Cruz but never mentions his name. DeMint would "backbite" but not air grievances privately with members, instead preferring leaks to the press or public shows. McConnell fought against his right wing in passing the TARP and was determined not to let the Senate cave to populist pressures in the face of financial meltdown. Yet, the Tea Party fervor that DeMint whipped up provided the "resurrection of the Republican Party," particularly the Tea Party outrage about Obamacare. McConnell rehashes some of the politics of the ACA but ignores the years-long negotiations with insurance companies, the town hall meetings, meetings with President Obama, input by economists and other Republicans, etc. He blasts the partisan nature of the ACA but never once mentions the partisan tricks Republicans used when passing Medicare Part D. Another enemy of McConnell is the media, particularly the Louisville Courier-Journal. McConnell oddly keeps a collection of negative stories written about him, often having the writer or cartoonist autograph it. He criticizes the C-J for forgiving Democrats like Robert Byrd for using the n-word while hypocritically calling on Republicans to resign for saying it. McConnell grew to power while his hometown grew more liberal. He got used to having organized rallies outside his home, or signs on his lawn. But he was increasingly uneasy about the growing threat from Republicans. His 2008 race was rather close and was quite emotional. His manager convinces him not to throw in the towel when he's this closer to being Majority Leader. He reserves criticisms of his 2014 primary opponent, Matt Bevin, probably because Bevin went on to become Governor, but it is clear McConnell relished the primary win. He clearly hated the Tea Party Republicans that were supporting Bevin. Fending off the Tea Party and increasing the debt ceiling while seeing sequester implemented was the next "great accomplishment" for the Majority Leader. His greatest annoyance is having to miss Louisville games either on TV or in person during these trials. He notes the need to "be at peace with imperfect outcomes" and treats his right wing like petulant children. He notes that Democrats have a similar problem of eating their own in a quest for ideological purity, and seems skeptical of functioning politics but never acknowledges that his own use of Senate rules and playing scorched-earth politics helped contribute to the environment. He is also proud of his work in support of Burmese dissident Aung Sung Suu Kyi. (Hillary Clinton also praised McConnell for this work.) That is just about the only admirable part of the memoir. Another annoying note, he's reading his own book. He pronounces 2004 "twenty oh-four" and does so for all the aughts; that's odd. I give this book 2 stars out of 5 ("It was okay" on Amazon or Goodreads). If you've followed his career, or the news enough to remember what he's not mentioning then it will irk you like it did me. If not, you probably think better of McConnell after reading the memoir.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Diwakar Ganesan

    TL;DR: McConnell, please get a new ghostwriter ---------- Read this book to get a sense of the man behind some of the worst legislative moves in modern history. He begins with a tour of key points in his childhood: a) working his way through a bout of nasty polio (impressive), b) beating up a larger kid at school who called him names (after his father threatened to punch him if he didn't), and c) becoming school president in rural Kentucky. We then get a sense of how he got his political power in TL;DR: McConnell, please get a new ghostwriter ---------- Read this book to get a sense of the man behind some of the worst legislative moves in modern history. He begins with a tour of key points in his childhood: a) working his way through a bout of nasty polio (impressive), b) beating up a larger kid at school who called him names (after his father threatened to punch him if he didn't), and c) becoming school president in rural Kentucky. We then get a sense of how he got his political power in his early years without any connections to prominent Louisville families. He allied himself with business early on and made sure to be friendly with wealthy farmers that donated regularly in local Kentucky politics. Later he describes the key political moves he made as a Senator. This is where the book goes from boring to simply ridiculous. One of his big political fights in his first term as Senator was against the McCain-Feingold act, the landmark piece of legislation that banned soft money in national politics. We don't really get a sense of why McConnell was against the bill, other than a simple one sentence explanation: "money is free speech." McConnell seemed truly proud of his work against McCain-Feingold, even in light of how disastrous the 2010 Citizens United ruling was. After losing the fight on campaign finance, McConnell comes to prominence in the Republican party by architecting Bush era tax cuts and providing funding for the war in Iraq. The book ends with McConnell's most signature legislative action: fighting Obamacare. I read the chapter on the ACA twice, and I couldn't find any substantive reasons why he thought the bill was bad legislation. He argues it would explode the federal deficit (but later on leads the vote for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act), that it wouldn't actually protect those in poverty seeking healthcare (but then slashes Medicaid in the American Healthcare Act), and that it was simply designed to increase government bureaucracy (but happily helped create the Department of Homeland Security/expand the NSA in 2002). All in all the reader is left with a sense of a political operative who isn't guided by any real values or working towards any grand vision of the country, but someone who just likes being in power and will probably do anything to stay in it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ronnie kahn

    Read by a Democrat At 67 years of age, I decided to read a memoir by one of the few Republicans who has had my respect for many years. His ideas were quite contrary to my beliefs, and I feel he was able to explain his ideology so well that I now understand that this way of thinking is simply another reasonable view of our world. This book helped me to grow as an individual and understand that there is always more than one way to look at things, and that both views while different, are valid.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Thorpe

    Look, I think we are lucky that Mitch McConnell chose to write this book. This guy played his political cards close to his vest his whole career. Now he wrote this book. Whatever is in there, it's more than we had before, and this guy is historically important. When we hear this guy's story, it adds something to our understanding of how our country works and how humanity works. So that's all to the good. And after reading this, I don't think Mitch McConnell is a very good guy and I don't agree wi Look, I think we are lucky that Mitch McConnell chose to write this book. This guy played his political cards close to his vest his whole career. Now he wrote this book. Whatever is in there, it's more than we had before, and this guy is historically important. When we hear this guy's story, it adds something to our understanding of how our country works and how humanity works. So that's all to the good. And after reading this, I don't think Mitch McConnell is a very good guy and I don't agree with his political reasoning on almost any major issue (exception: TARP, the pressing need to support). But - and I think this is important: I believe Mitch McConnell does not care - at all. Mitch McConnell did not write this book to convince people like me to like him. He isn't trying. You would be able to tell if he was. And he did not write this book to convince me of his ideas. He does not care whether I agree with his ideas. He devotes almost no words in this book to defending policies that he believes in (counter-examples: campaign finance reform - which he believes would have ruined his chances at his first election. Mitch McConnell does care his ability to win elections. And he hates anything or anyone that would reduce his ability to win elections or would diminish in any way the ones he had won in the past. This is why Mitch McConnell cannot permit campaign finance reform to occur). On the other hand, he does devote a lot of words to the American system of government: its administration and its procedure (e.g., how cloture works; what committees typically do; how seating is assigned... stuff like that). He prefers certain policies to others, but he seldom sounds like he cares all that much. He likes the familiar, comforting system. He particularly likes how good he has been at rising through that system. He dislikes people who try to change the system (almost always - but just barely not always - Democrats). He wants you to know those three things. So... I think we have to start this review by speculating on why on earth Mitch McConnell wrote this book. It's an unusual thing to do for anyone. Even folks with good stories to tell seldom devote the portion of their life to doing the work that is required to turn those stories into a finished book. Virtually everyone relates their auto-biography verbally. Even then, few do very much of it for reasons of modesty and taste. So who out there makes the bet that people are not just gonna listen to stories about them but moreover read about them but also pay money to do so? Let's start with the reasons that I do not think motivated Mitch McConnell: A) Money. Well these days I think most folks do it because they are paid to do so. It's a form of easy money. Whatever flaws McConnell has, it's very hard to detect that he ever did much to pursue money. I mean perhaps he left that out, but the guy genuinely seems scrappy / not too worried about it. I think Mitch McConnell only cares about things you can boast about. Things that prove you are superior to OTHER people. As a politician, you cannot boast about your wealth. It’s poor form. It sounds like you must have misused your position. So why bother - I mean dude lives in Kentucky and in his spare time enjoys sitting at home with his wife and does not have hobbies and literally tells you all this because Mitch McConnell somehow does believe you can brag about these things. B) Mission. Some folks appear to believe they are living a world-changing life and need to tell people about it so that other people can be more like them, to the benefit of said world. Mitch McConnell believes people exist to compete with one another and that winning those competitions, while playing by the rules, constitutes a good life. Mitch McConnell did not write this book because his mission drove him to do so. C) History. Some genuinely feel they have lived through events of historic import and write of their life. These books seek to define the record in detail and perhaps comment on the motivations of various parties and other items of historical import. Mitch McConnell contributes only two forms of information that are not already in the public sphere prior to writing this book: (i) details about how what he did was more awesome than you realized it was; (ii) details about how someone else is more terrible than you realize. For a man who says he considered becoming a historian, the book does not read like someone with a strong interest in the history that was being made around him. Mitch cares about power and about winning and about how to get power so that he can win. D) Processing your memories. It's fun to recount your stories to another person. Some enjoy writing, probably, and find it the most fulfilling way to reflect on their life. Maybe. To be honest, I think there's a little bit of that going on here. But he's not so much processing his memories in an honest way as he is reconstituting them into a narrative that supports a simple idea: Mitch McConnell works harder than everyone else and as a result he wins. He is a winner. To process your memories, you must be honest. Honesty still scares Mitch McConnell. Let's come back to this at the end of the review. Now we get to the reasons that I think Mitch McConnel did write this book: (1) He has a score to settle and he wants you to know how terrible some folks really are (e.g., Al Gore, Barack Obama); (2) He feels that he has been unfairly criticized and would like to unfairly criticize other people in return (e.g., for support of Iraq War, for opposition to the ACA, for deferral of Merrick Garland's hearings). Two notes: (a) I get the impression he genuinely believes Bush v Gore was so obviously not a problem that he doesn't even feel the need to rehabilitate his position on it. Put another way, he is either unaware of or is not speaking to the half of the country that feels Bush v Gore was a terribly partisan travesty for the Supreme Court; (b) he does not criticize opinions he does not agree with. He bluntly asserts that they are "the worst piece of legislation he has ever seen." Then he moves on. He explains how he delayed that legislation by using some political tactics and arcane knowledge of procedure. To Mitch McConnell, the interesting thing is not the policy or its impact on human beings - it's the fight to win or lose that policy. It is a game and he wants to win. And he is perfectly comfortable with that. One more note on that: (i) he genuinely is not even trying to convince you of his policy position, either because he is only speaking to people who already agree with his position or because he genuinely doesn't care whether you agree with his position, does not think that's the point of politics, and only wants to tell you about how awesome his tactics were in the political fight that ensued.* (see end of review for another anecdote on this) I genuinely think it's the second one, but I'm not sure and I guess both are extremely concerning! (3) He feels that he has won the game of life and wants to explain to you in absurd detail how awesome he was at it so that he will finally be able to satisfy his ego I'm about to get a little more speculative here, but bear with me. Related to #3 above, Mitch McConnell has what I take to be a massive inferiority complex. It began in childhood. He gives us the ingredients: introversion, moving three times (each one difficult), unpopularity, and inferiority at sports. He took this childhood and channeled it into an intense work ethic (example: at one point he says he does not understand why anyone takes vacation or has hobbies when they could be working instead). He uses that work ethic to do one thing: Win. Objectively. So that everyone can see. He wants to do this because he's afraid: he does not again want to feel like he did when he was a child. He does not want to be the unloved outsider. Mitch McConnell hates that feeling more than anything in the world. And he spent every waking moment of his adult life convincing the world, and more importantly himself, that he is not that child. He is a winner. And he wrote this book to convince all of us that he is not an inferior child but a winner in the toughest and most competitive thing there is: national politics in America, a vibrant, diverse, even chaotic democracy where merit is the only thing that matters and he - Mitch McConnell - has an undeniable amount of merit. And if he did not, then how did he win all of those campaigns that he told us about. Note he thinks other politicians do not enjoy campaigning, they would rather be legislating. But Mitch McConnell does like campaigning. This is what Mitch McConnell, in his own words, says differentiates him from other politicians. Just stop reading this review, close your eyes, and think about that for a few minutes. Let its strangeness wash over you - not just that he thinks this way, but that he wants you to know he thinks this way. He needs you to know how skillful he has been at winning all those elections. And that's why Mitch wrote the book. He wants the world to acknowledge that he is a winner so that he can finally really believe it himself. He needs you to really believe it because he knows too much to believe it himself. He remembers when he couldn't make the baseball team, he remembers being beaten up by the kid across the street, he remembers that he could not make friends when he moved to a new town. He revisits these stories throughout his book. Each story has a rejection or a failure, followed by perseverance and triumph. As if he's whispering these reassurance to himself. He falls into a well-rehearsed cadence: something threatens his ego and then Mitch McConnell works extraordinarily hard, placing everything in his life on hold in order to overcome the obstacle. Only he can do this. If others exceed him (e.g., high school baseball, where he couldn't even make the team) he simply changes venues (e.g., then he's focused on politics). Why am I paying so much attention to this behavior? Well, it's important. Maturity requires one to recognize their own limits and to develop a genuine appreciation of how remarkable other people are. Mitch McConnell does not mature. He deflects. He dodges. He reworks his world and his own history. He pushes anything threatening away. I imagine he is now wondering why it didn’t work. Why all of the triumphs and accolades still leave him feeling a dull, ever present need for more. Because if you are Mitch McConnell no win can ever fully vanquish that troubling feeling that drives you on. The one that says: "you do not actually measure up." The feeling accelerates each time some new challenge shows up. It says "all those successes on which you built your identity - they are not safe. You will lose this one and then you will be a loser again." Mitch McConnell is terrorized by that feeling. He lives in fear of it. And that fear drives him to work. He worked as his first marriage fell apart. He worked as his kids drifted away from him (note, there is not a single sentence in the book devoted to his role as a father). He worked every weekday but one from the time he turned thirty five to the time he turned sixty. He worked enough that in his entire adult life he did not develop a single hobby. He worked as Donald Trump took over and made a mockery of the very party that he spent his life trying to lead. And he still works. . He knows how to win elections. He wins elections. He likes elections. He knows Senate procedure. He likes Senate procedure. He knows how to use Senate procedure. His opponents do not understand what Mitch McConnell understands. They are bad. These are the things Mitch McConnell knows. These are the things Mitch McConnell wants you to know. A man at twilight standing on a soap box under a single illuminated lamppost proclaiming his superiority to everything he can see. He has to be very careful what he allows to come under the light. He lives in fear. Every time something new wanders into the light, he must discern whether it threatens him. What should he allow to share his illumination? What if it's something that threatens his ability to win? Or what if it brings about some change that leaves him unsure of how to win? These things scare Mitch McConnell. He does not want you to know that. But he cannot help but tell you that on every page of his book. You’ve gotta feel for the guy. A genuinely strange meditation on Mitch McConnell’s political genius written by Mitch McConnell. Three stars * Aforementioned anecdote at the end of this review: The man non-ironically says (paraphrasing here): "a lot of people think I am evil, but if you really knew me you would know that I enjoy watching sports." Like - dude that sounds nice - but in no way presents compelling evidence you are not evil and moreover would lead one to wonder if you know what the word means and - hang on - are you so far from having a perspective on ethical behavior that you've mistaken relatability for virtue? Are good characteristics - to you - essentially limited to things voters will vote for? I'm not making this quote up - it's on like the third page of the book in the introduction, after the forward by Donald Trump.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    I'm not a fan of Mitch McConnell, but this book made me understand him better, if not necessarily like him more. After reading Al Franken's entertaining book about his time in the Senate (Al Franken, Giant of the Senate) in which he talks about McConnell, I wanted to get McConnell's side. (Interestingly, both books recount the same story of Franken rolling his eyes disrespectfully while presiding over the Senate while McConnell was speaking. Their separate accounts are surprisingly in agreement I'm not a fan of Mitch McConnell, but this book made me understand him better, if not necessarily like him more. After reading Al Franken's entertaining book about his time in the Senate (Al Franken, Giant of the Senate) in which he talks about McConnell, I wanted to get McConnell's side. (Interestingly, both books recount the same story of Franken rolling his eyes disrespectfully while presiding over the Senate while McConnell was speaking. Their separate accounts are surprisingly in agreement about what Franken did, how McConnell spoke to him afterwards, and how Franken later apologized.) McConnell makes it clear that his ambitions have always been to wield political power rather than to support specific policies. Early in his career, he reports, he wanted to get into politics, so he volunteered to help a Senator get elected, promising to deliver him the youth vote. McConnell makes no mention of the candidate's politics being any factor in his desire to help him get elected. He just seems to really like the job. Two of the political issues McConnell attacks most passionately are campaign finance reform and term limits (both of which would hurt his ability to get re-elected). His political arguments are usually simplistic, often old-fashioned, and sometimes nonsensical. At one point he presents the bizarro, black-is-white argument that eliminating the electoral college (i.e. electing the president by the national popular vote) would REDUCE candidates' incentive to appeal to the entire country. (He argues candidates would spend all their time in Texas and California, when quite the opposite would be true: candidates would need to run national campaigns rather than limit their campaigning to a handful of "swing" states.) He is prone to repeating trite stereotypes about Democratic party ideals (e.g. their "contempt" for "the right to turn a profit"). His harping about the importance of Republicans opposing Obama's "far-left" policies gets tiresome immediately. He makes a righteous argument that the Senate should only pass laws that include some buy-in from the minority (at least when his party is the minority). His argument for why Obamacare is a bad bill is that it didn't earn a single Republican vote. In fact, he reports proudly, it was his strong leadership that insured no Republican voted for it! He sees no irony in this logic. The book ends with McConnell's re-election in 2014, when he finally achieves what he always wanted: Senate Majority Leader.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    Didn't know much about McConnell. A couple observations. Good memoirs are good stories told in a straightforward way. This passes that test. He is straightforward about his ambitions, beliefs, and his opinions of Barack Obama and his colleagues. He has an interesting personal story. He overcame Polio as a child and knew at an early age that he wanted to run for the Senate. Didn't know much about McConnell. A couple observations. Good memoirs are good stories told in a straightforward way. This passes that test. He is straightforward about his ambitions, beliefs, and his opinions of Barack Obama and his colleagues. He has an interesting personal story. He overcame Polio as a child and knew at an early age that he wanted to run for the Senate.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Waste of paper. "McConnell still believes the Founders knew best when they instituted a government with checks and balances." Bullshit. He's the destroyer of those American pillars of democracy and this country. Unfortunate that his constituents burden us with his presence, or that his mother helped him recover from polio for that matter. Waste of paper. "McConnell still believes the Founders knew best when they instituted a government with checks and balances." Bullshit. He's the destroyer of those American pillars of democracy and this country. Unfortunate that his constituents burden us with his presence, or that his mother helped him recover from polio for that matter.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Jacoby

    Even I can’t completely believe I’m giving this book 4 stars. I decided to read this one as a follow up to ‘Peril’ by Woodward and Costa because there is a reference to ‘The Long Game’. The title got to me and I like the strategy reference. For me, the interesting sections are when McConnell discusses his upbringing and his campaigns. It was interesting hearing about his first campaign victory as a novice and also how he held off a Tea Party challenger in 2014. It’s hard to argue against the suc Even I can’t completely believe I’m giving this book 4 stars. I decided to read this one as a follow up to ‘Peril’ by Woodward and Costa because there is a reference to ‘The Long Game’. The title got to me and I like the strategy reference. For me, the interesting sections are when McConnell discusses his upbringing and his campaigns. It was interesting hearing about his first campaign victory as a novice and also how he held off a Tea Party challenger in 2014. It’s hard to argue against the success of McConnell. He expresses well thought out beliefs of the Senate and what America should be all about. The ‘weirdest’ parts (for me) are when he argues again campaign finance reform and the Affordable Care Act. As a Canadian, these policies and laws are so entrenched they are not even questioned. I had to keep an open mind and really listen when he explained why an unlimited amount of money should be allowed in campaigns and why Affordable Care Act should be repealed. For McConnel, allowing money in campaigns is about freedom of speech and not curtailing it. Money is the modern way to get your point of view out there, and there should be no limit to that. In terms of health care, McConnell argues that America values opportunity more than ‘one size fits all’ solutions; inequality needs to be managed and to the extent that the American people want it to be managed. The book ends in 2014 when the Republicans take the Senate and he ends up as Majority Leader, and I kept on thinking about when John McCain (a couple months from his death) in 2017 stopped the repeal of the Affordable Care Act during the Trump presidency in. I wonder what McConnell’s thoughts are then. It’s a quick read with some good strategic lessons. I’m glad I read it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Lewis

    On the first page of the book, McConnell says, “I only talk to the press if it’s to my advantage...” And what follows is a look at his single-minded pursuit to be Senate Majority Leader through rose-tinted glasses. My take aways: McConnell has practiced patience and focus his whole life from his diagnosis with polio to his career as a campaigner and Senator; Al Gore was villainous and didn’t know how to share credit or quit while he was ahead; Bill Frist was someone he envied as much for being po On the first page of the book, McConnell says, “I only talk to the press if it’s to my advantage...” And what follows is a look at his single-minded pursuit to be Senate Majority Leader through rose-tinted glasses. My take aways: McConnell has practiced patience and focus his whole life from his diagnosis with polio to his career as a campaigner and Senator; Al Gore was villainous and didn’t know how to share credit or quit while he was ahead; Bill Frist was someone he envied as much for being popular as for being an amazing human; President Obama did not seek out support or input from Republicans for the ACA and that sin of hubris fueled McConnell’s assault on it more than anything else; Harry Reid played the media card, at times besting the Republican take, and tried to short cut Senate processes, bypassing long debates and pushing for votes only when it was to his advantage; Joe Biden and McConnell worked well together; the Tea Party is for crushing. McConnell’s words, particularly in the Epilogue reveal that he thinks bi-partisan collaboration is the way of the future. He is a conservative Republican and partisan idealougue; but he loves debate and compromise that result in both sides yielding enough to bring the best legislation forward. Unfortunately, this book ends prior to Trump’s election. I found this to be a fairly easy read, engaging and of course, on topic at all times.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Vaughan

    McConnell’s memoirs are about what you’d expect from a careful politician: they’re careful and presented defensively in parts. It helps to know the timeline: this book ends in 2016 when McConnell finally becomes majority leader in the Senate. The book builds to that point. In that regard, it goes through every twist and turn in McConnell’s career. The best parts are the early chapters when he’s talking about meeting people he knew and looked up to, and politicians long gone. The closer you get t McConnell’s memoirs are about what you’d expect from a careful politician: they’re careful and presented defensively in parts. It helps to know the timeline: this book ends in 2016 when McConnell finally becomes majority leader in the Senate. The book builds to that point. In that regard, it goes through every twist and turn in McConnell’s career. The best parts are the early chapters when he’s talking about meeting people he knew and looked up to, and politicians long gone. The closer you get to the present, the more guarded he gets in describing colleagues and foes, with the possible exception of Harry Reid (who deserves more heat than McConnell gives him). So the first half of the book is a true memoir. The second half is a recap of how he becomes senate majority leader. There’s a second book waiting to get written where he describes what happened behind the scenes that’s clearly missing here and it’d be fun to read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Coyle

    "In early 2016, I argued on Social Media and elsewhere that in Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell we’ve got the best Congressional leadership we’ve had since I’ve been paying attention to politics. To say it another way, it’s the best leadership we’ve had since Tip O’Neill. I argued that these are two principled men who care about fair play and the importance of Congress as an independent institution responsible for leading the nation. Since Spring of 2016, like most other political scientists I’ve ha "In early 2016, I argued on Social Media and elsewhere that in Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell we’ve got the best Congressional leadership we’ve had since I’ve been paying attention to politics. To say it another way, it’s the best leadership we’ve had since Tip O’Neill. I argued that these are two principled men who care about fair play and the importance of Congress as an independent institution responsible for leading the nation. Since Spring of 2016, like most other political scientists I’ve had to eat more of my words than I ever thought possible–which I suppose is a useful exercise in humility for me. Unfortunately, some of the words I’ve had to eat have been about Ryan and McConnell. With that said, I think many of their poor decisions over the past two years have been largely dictated by circumstance, necessity, and the chaos our beloved President has strewn in his wake. I guess what I’m saying is that I still want to like Ryan and McConnell, despite much of 2016 and all of 2017. In part, this is because they do still seem to care about things like procedure. To that end, I cheerfully recommend Mitch McConnell’s recent biography..." Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/schaeffe...

  15. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    THE LONG GAME: A MEMOIR, by Mitch McConnell, helped me to learn about him and his life. Instead of reading his book, I listened to it via audio. I'm not big on audiobooks. I've been reading the traditional way all my life, and that's the way I prefer. However, Mitch has a soothing voice for an audiobook. Mitch McConnell is 78-years-old and from Kentucky. He is the Senate Majority Leader. If you want to learn about Mitch's life without input from fake news media, this is a great book to read or to THE LONG GAME: A MEMOIR, by Mitch McConnell, helped me to learn about him and his life. Instead of reading his book, I listened to it via audio. I'm not big on audiobooks. I've been reading the traditional way all my life, and that's the way I prefer. However, Mitch has a soothing voice for an audiobook. Mitch McConnell is 78-years-old and from Kentucky. He is the Senate Majority Leader. If you want to learn about Mitch's life without input from fake news media, this is a great book to read or to listen to. By the way, if you listen to the audiobook, it doesn't include the foreword written by President Donald J. Trump. So, if you don't buy the book to read, I suggest you go to Amazon, look up the book, and take a look at the "Look Inside" of the book to read the forward by Trump. "Transforming the federal judiciary is the ultimate long game!" says Trump. He's right. McConnell is the perfect partner to achieve that goal. (Read the rest of the review HERE

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth Bernstein

    This is a wonderful memoir that opened my eyes to McConnell's clear and consistent perspective on American politics. While I do not agree with him on most issues, I now clearly understand his perspective. He does no try to sway the reader to his side of an argument. I did not understand his point of view prior to reading this book but I now believe I see more clearly his side. This is a wonderful memoir that opened my eyes to McConnell's clear and consistent perspective on American politics. While I do not agree with him on most issues, I now clearly understand his perspective. He does no try to sway the reader to his side of an argument. I did not understand his point of view prior to reading this book but I now believe I see more clearly his side.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    Listen to Mitch tell stories that delve into the deep pool of cognitive dissonance surrounding the American libertarian way of thinking. It’s truly hilarious to listen Mitch talk about how much help he’s received and how he believes in equality but doesn’t want to help anyone else.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rick Wilson

    A view into Mitch McConnell‘s head. A lot of the time I enjoy reading memoirs because it’s very interesting to see how people construct their world. We’re fallible creatures as humans, and and there’s a lot of errors that we make in how we think. Sometimes it’s very interesting to attempt to put yourself in someone shoes that you grossly disagree with. While this exercise and approach works for a lot of people, I may disagree with many opinions the CEO of Home Depot has, but his book ended up be A view into Mitch McConnell‘s head. A lot of the time I enjoy reading memoirs because it’s very interesting to see how people construct their world. We’re fallible creatures as humans, and and there’s a lot of errors that we make in how we think. Sometimes it’s very interesting to attempt to put yourself in someone shoes that you grossly disagree with. While this exercise and approach works for a lot of people, I may disagree with many opinions the CEO of Home Depot has, but his book ended up being fairly interesting and my respect for the man increased. Nike CEO Phil Knight is someone who presides over an organization that has committed tons of human rights violations, but I have an increased respect for how difficult it is to manage every aspect of your supply chain after reading “Shoe Dog.” This approach did not work with this memoir. From having polio as a child, to leader of the senate. Mitch describes his arc through Kentucky and into prominence as the leader of the Senate Majority. Mitches father had a job repossessing cars. There’s a thread of “getting yours, at the expense of others” and a tremendous amount of double standards within. Mitch is worldview essentially is “do whatever is necessary to stay in power.” Describing how as a child his winning the school president election was a rare bright spot in an otherwise beaten down and troubled childhood and his thirst for power has been unbounded ever since. Mitch says he loves to read books about great men who buck public opinion. And as a result I get almost a fantasy/make believe vibe from him. It’s almost as if he’s cosplaying being an important historical figure. It’s a way to reframe the conversation when you’re clearly on the wrong side and in disagreement with many people as Mitch is with his support of unlimited money in political elections. You’re not a power grabbing creep, You’re an iconoclastic figure misunderstood during their time. That type of worldview is also really convenient to insulate you from ever having to second guess yourself. Mitch is very adept at wielding the moral high ground in order to fulfill his own agenda. The strike said incredibly discord and tone at times, for one instant Mitch describes being huddled in a conference room with war hero John McCain. He describes how cowering in plush leather chairs to avoid a Senate vote is similar to the horrors McCain experienced as a prisoner of war. A comparison so absurd I thought it might be satire. It, sadly, was not. Mitch suffers from a huge dose of right place Right time with his early introduction to Roger ails. And I’d be willing to bet that without that interspecies love story, Mitch wouldn’t have amounted to much of anything, much less the majority leader. I think between the lines reading here is that it’s very easy to ride on the coattails of someone who becomes the leader of one of the largest multi national news organizations in the world, while simultaneously letting them stick a hand up your ass and work your mouth like a sock puppet. My takeaways from this book are limited, Mitch says nothing of any real consequence. He makes no arguments for the positions he supports beyond the cursory talking points one might read on his website.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    It was available on audio via Ohio e-book project, it wasn't very long, so I figured, "Why not? Let's see what he has to say." He even narrated it himself. Maybe I'll learn something about how "the other side thinks." I was disappointed. I heard the same talking points that are oft repeated in news clips: "…make Obama a one term president…", "…what the majority of the American people want…" for example. He definitely took issue with liberals' interpretation of the former, trying to explain what h It was available on audio via Ohio e-book project, it wasn't very long, so I figured, "Why not? Let's see what he has to say." He even narrated it himself. Maybe I'll learn something about how "the other side thinks." I was disappointed. I heard the same talking points that are oft repeated in news clips: "…make Obama a one term president…", "…what the majority of the American people want…" for example. He definitely took issue with liberals' interpretation of the former, trying to explain what he meant and how he feels misquoted. All in all, I felt his call for consideration and compromise was meant for the "other side" but not for him. I would have liked to have heard more about how he comes to his conclusions about how to vote and what issues to back.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Barr

    This was the toughest thing to get through. I wasn't even willing to add it to the books I was currently reading. This was the first audiobook I've ever listened to, and I have been trying to listen to it for several years. Mcconnell narrates and I can only take his awful voice in small doses. The man is cocky, and hypocritical. I don't see how anyone notices this. He thinks very highly of himself and from the upbringing he describes, I see where it comes from. The man is who he is: A terrible per This was the toughest thing to get through. I wasn't even willing to add it to the books I was currently reading. This was the first audiobook I've ever listened to, and I have been trying to listen to it for several years. Mcconnell narrates and I can only take his awful voice in small doses. The man is cocky, and hypocritical. I don't see how anyone notices this. He thinks very highly of himself and from the upbringing he describes, I see where it comes from. The man is who he is: A terrible person who takes pride bullying people into getting what HE wants, not his party. And I swear if I hear anyone say "twenty oh four" instead of "two thousand four" I'm gonna scream. As far as writing, it's ok.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Roberta Havel

    For the length of the time I was reading the book, I used it as a sleep aid. It never failed to help me fall asleep. That said, every politically ambitious person should read this book. Mitch McConnell is a planner and he figured out how to get elected to every position he sought early on. My other observation about McConnell is that he has tricked himself and he wants to trick the public into believing he is for civil rights and a bipartisan working Congress. Read the book and then look at his For the length of the time I was reading the book, I used it as a sleep aid. It never failed to help me fall asleep. That said, every politically ambitious person should read this book. Mitch McConnell is a planner and he figured out how to get elected to every position he sought early on. My other observation about McConnell is that he has tricked himself and he wants to trick the public into believing he is for civil rights and a bipartisan working Congress. Read the book and then look at his actions as the majority leader, and you will see him for what he is: a sleazy politician.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    Potentially the worst book I've ever read: like the senator himself, it was dry, uninteresting, and completely political. I almost quit reading it three times and it was only 250 pages. There were maybe two chapters written about specific senate battles and those didn't go into much detail. If I could give it a 0 rating, I would. Potentially the worst book I've ever read: like the senator himself, it was dry, uninteresting, and completely political. I almost quit reading it three times and it was only 250 pages. There were maybe two chapters written about specific senate battles and those didn't go into much detail. If I could give it a 0 rating, I would.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Devyn Duffy

    The Long Game of the title refers to Mitch McConnell's pursuit of a seat in the U.S. Senate and eventually the position of Senate Majority Leader. As an autobiography, McConnell describes his personal ambition and his willingness to outwork opponents to win any election, from student council to Senate leadership. The stories of his youth, early campaigns, rise in the Senate, and actions as Senate leader make for interesting reading for anyone interested in autobiography or the workings of politi The Long Game of the title refers to Mitch McConnell's pursuit of a seat in the U.S. Senate and eventually the position of Senate Majority Leader. As an autobiography, McConnell describes his personal ambition and his willingness to outwork opponents to win any election, from student council to Senate leadership. The stories of his youth, early campaigns, rise in the Senate, and actions as Senate leader make for interesting reading for anyone interested in autobiography or the workings of politics. As the book is the work of a politician, a reader can never know how much is genuine and how much is posturing, but I chose to take the book at face value, and it works well that way. McConnell's political motivations appear to be primarily: –The aforementioned personal ambition, wanting a position of prestige simply to have it. –A perception of politics as sport, an exhilarating college-football-like contest between two rival teams, and an obsession with winning. –A conservative ideology that he acquired by young adulthood, unconnected to observation or experience, and never outgrew. Like nearly all American politicians, McConnell never worked in the civil service before running for office, and he tends to write about policy as if it were an abstraction, with little apparent awareness that the acts of government have any real effect on people's lives. Rarely if ever does he speak of passing legislation to help people in need, of blocking legislation to protect people in need, or even to acknowledge that the actions of government are capable of this. McConnell's ideology also creates some blind spots. For example, he praises Barry Goldwater's conservative view of limited government while denouncing Goldwater's opposition to the Civil Rights Act, either not realizing or not conceding that the latter arose from the former. Later, McConnell details his role in creating TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) during the financial crisis, a moment in which he says that he did what he felt was needed for the country, but he portrays the New Deal, the Great Society, and the Affordable Care Act as attempts by radicals to give the government control over the country, rather than TARP-like responses to times of great need. McConnell, like too many other Americans, possibly spooked by the Cold War, seems to have come to believe that any attempt by government to help people is inherently communist. McConnell's partisanship–which he doesn't hide, often criticizing Democrats both politically and personally–creates some inconsistencies. For example, he boasts about how he kept Republicans united in refusal to cast a single vote in favor of ACA [with which McConnell is obsessed], and then complains that the Democrats passed ACA without a single Republican vote. He writes that if the majority party's legislation has no support from the minority party, then the majority party should consider not passing that legislation at all–ignoring both the fact that McConnell deliberately withheld his party from participating in the bill, and the fact that McConnell later pushed through judicial nominations without any support from Democrats. However, McConnell does have some criticism for Republicans, particularly the "Tea Party" attempts to replace incumbent Republicans with unelectable ideologues, and he does appear to get along with most other politicians on a personal level. Interestingly, McConnell writes that in negotiations, he never tries to persuade the other side or advocate for his ideology. Instead, he just assumes that the other side believes what it believes and values what it values, and he just focuses on what agreement can be reached based on both sides maintaining their existing opinions. I had never heard of someone negotiating that way; certainly outside of politics, no one seems to discuss anything without trying to persuade their audience. I would be curious to see how such a negotiating style would work in practice. I read a copy of the book that has been updated through the 2018 elections. McConnell offers an explanation of his actions in blocking and advancing judicial nominations. First, he considers the Democrats to have started it with their efforts to block Republican appointees under both Bush Administrations, and so considers turnabout to be fair play–going back to his view of politics as a sport. Second, he clearly indicates that he did what he felt he had to do to get the outcome that he wanted, a candid admission that the politicization of the courts has become intentional. Left unsaid is the possibility that McConnell's 40-year friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia may have left McConnell particularly unwilling to see his old friend replaced by someone with a different opinion. For an autobiography of an incumbent politician, The Long Game seems to be candid enough, and to the degree that it is not, that is probably just consistent with McConnell's personal nature as he describes in the book. Nothing in the book reads like campaign literature. As McConnell himself writes, he was never interested in running for President, so he has more freedom in the book to just be himself and not win over potential voters.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    It is clear to me now who Frank Underwood is based on

  25. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    This book didn't end with McConnell in prison so...1 star. This garbage human does not deserve a seat in the senate or a book. This book didn't end with McConnell in prison so...1 star. This garbage human does not deserve a seat in the senate or a book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Why would someone read this book? How can you stand to read this book, my friends would ask? Tell us when he sold his soul to the devil and why they'd say. Reading this book makes me think the Democrats are divided, while the Republican has a very stronghold as a party or a team. When the Democrats won votes, it’s because of voters' turnout. When the Republicans won votes, it’s because their team helped them (through advertising and other types of support). The conservative/Republican agenda is Why would someone read this book? How can you stand to read this book, my friends would ask? Tell us when he sold his soul to the devil and why they'd say. Reading this book makes me think the Democrats are divided, while the Republican has a very stronghold as a party or a team. When the Democrats won votes, it’s because of voters' turnout. When the Republicans won votes, it’s because their team helped them (through advertising and other types of support). The conservative/Republican agenda is one united party. It's much more divided on the left -- there's the mainstream Democrats, the Green Party (Jill Stein), and the Far Left (Bernie Sanders), so the votes and support are fragmented. I thought reading this book makes me think as bad as McConnell is for the country, the left-leaning parties really have got to get their acts together. - By this 3rd term as a senator during the Bush administration, McConnell became a strong senate “operative”, to “whip” Republican votes on bills. McConnell solidified the Republican Party ... any Republican who misbehaved or too squeaky a wheel, or can’t toe the party line vote, eventually lost support and will lose reelection, or if egregious in the public eye, will be asked to resign. - By the time Obama became the president, McConnell was the most powerful Republican in the country (his words), and he tried even harder to make sure the party votes together. He denounced the $1 trillion stimulus package for the 2008-2009 financial crisis (but of course, supporting the current $3 trillion package during Covid-19). He denounced bailouts for big businesses but, of course, votes for the bailouts. - Surprisingly, McConnell's wife is an immigrant and a politician. Despite the empathy for immigrants, their party seems to be against immigration as we know it. McConnell talks a lot about advancing the conservative agenda in terms of values such as less government control and free speech. He refers to the Obamacare act as “government control.” He doesn’t believe in campaign finance reform under the guise of “free speech” (You need as much money to reach as many people for them to vote, that’s free speech). And so, he spent $25 million on ads to be re-elected in 2008. How does a senator have $25 million? (Free speech bought by big businesses?) The man loves the power that he wields politically, and he knows being a President is a short-term career, but having unlimited term as a party majority leader, he has power for as long as he wants to be in the game. His memoir suggests conservative values, while ultimately, it seems he has always done whatever it takes to keep himself as the most relevant and powerful figure in politics, in the long run. That’s McConnell’s The Long Game.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Really enjoyed reading this book! I liked the first part much more than the last half - he seemed to get more partisan as he grew older (which I should have expected I guess) and his arguments for some of his beliefs got less convincing. The thing I loved about this book was it humanized McConnell. I disagree with a lot of what he believes and what he has done, but I liked learning he is a big baseball fan. I didn't realize before I read this how supportive of civil rights he was/maybe still is( Really enjoyed reading this book! I liked the first part much more than the last half - he seemed to get more partisan as he grew older (which I should have expected I guess) and his arguments for some of his beliefs got less convincing. The thing I loved about this book was it humanized McConnell. I disagree with a lot of what he believes and what he has done, but I liked learning he is a big baseball fan. I didn't realize before I read this how supportive of civil rights he was/maybe still is(?) - I'm not taking his word on this and will be checking out his record for issues like voting ID regulations, etc. He expresses sadness that his party's image has moved away from the party that fought for the abolishment of slavery. His argument against campaign finance regulations didn't convince me but it was a really interesting idea about free speech. McConnell stresses, multiple times, to the reader and to other members of his party that it is bad form and bad for the party to publically criticize other Republicans. He talks about party loyalty at numerous points in the book & at one point stresses party over beliefs. It's easy to see, after reading this, why he continues to support Trump. McConnell talks some shit about Obama(which makes me want to read some other people's perspectives on him) but heaps praise on Biden. Although this could be a race issue, it doesn't seem like it at face value- his dislike for Obama seems to stem from the fact that Obama tries to convince/debate his political opponents about why they are wrong while Biden simply negotiates deals. McConnell seemed offended by the timing of Obama's attempted debates when negotiating bills (he seems to think of Obama as arrogant due to the perceived implication that McConnell's beliefs can be swayed through one conversation with the president). One of the most disappointing elements of this book is McConnell ends it with him becoming majority leader. He doesn't discuss anything after that - I was particularly looking forward to his perspective and rationalization on blocking Obama's supreme court nominee.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Reza Amiri Praramadhan

    More of a political biography, in this book Mitch McConnell chronicled his long journey from a little child who was ridden with polio to Senate Majority Leader. Throughout the book, I can see that Mitch is a perfect candidate for the establishment, especially in his opposition of issues such as term limit for congressmen and senators, campaign donation limit and his support for Iraq War other factor would be his disdain for Tea Party-endorsed candidates. However, what irks me the most is his aff More of a political biography, in this book Mitch McConnell chronicled his long journey from a little child who was ridden with polio to Senate Majority Leader. Throughout the book, I can see that Mitch is a perfect candidate for the establishment, especially in his opposition of issues such as term limit for congressmen and senators, campaign donation limit and his support for Iraq War other factor would be his disdain for Tea Party-endorsed candidates. However, what irks me the most is his affinity with Joe Biden, which put him as another creature of the swamp in my eyes. The only redeeming thing for me, was his disparaging remarks on ‘Professor’ Obama who could not stop talking, which I enjoyed (I mean, who doesn’t). Overall, what Mitch tried to push through this book is his patience, willingness to play the Long Game and to compromise. Other thing that he used to justify his stance against popular things is his believe that what he doing was right, which probably included his refusal to stood with President Trump, backstabbing him instead along with other Establishment Republicans. Now that the GOP lost both Houses. I wonder if Mitch stop and think about the consequences of this action.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tom Hartung

    The Long Game, A Memoir is a memoir by Mitch McConnell published in 2016. It covers Mitch's entire life, from his fight against polio in 1944 at the age of two through his becoming the Senate Majority Leader in 2015. The Long Game is one of the nearly twenty books about politicians I read in the summer of 2019 while researching a book about incumbents, candidates, and other politicians. I am giving the book 4 of 5 stars because, although Mitch's story is interesting and inspiring, I enjoy The Long Game, A Memoir is a memoir by Mitch McConnell published in 2016. It covers Mitch's entire life, from his fight against polio in 1944 at the age of two through his becoming the Senate Majority Leader in 2015. The Long Game is one of the nearly twenty books about politicians I read in the summer of 2019 while researching a book about incumbents, candidates, and other politicians. I am giving the book 4 of 5 stars because, although Mitch's story is interesting and inspiring, I enjoyed some of the others a bit more. The most amazing thing about this book is Mitch's determination. He writes of a day in 1965, shortly after he started law school, when he went with John Sherman Cooper - who was at the time one of the Senators from Kentucky - to witness President Lyndon Johnson sign the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The memory of this stuck with him while he finished law school and found work in Louisville, Kentucky. Having seen in John Sherman Cooper what a life lived in pursuit of greatness could yield, I knew I had a very specific and far greater ambition: to follow in his footsteps, to become a US senator. - From The Long Game by Mitch McConnell, 2016, pp. 38-39. It would be over ten years before Mitch would win his first election and become Jefferson County Judge in 1977, and almost twenty years before he would become a senator in 1985. Mitch went on to win the next five elections and rise to be Senate Majority Leader thirty years after that, in 2015. After reading Mitch McConnell's memoir I created a profile for him and included his spiritual portrait in my ebook Visualizing Politicians' Personalities, 2019 Incumbents and Candidates. I based the abstract image of Mitch's personality in the ebook on this book, so it of course contains more about The Long Game, A Memoir - in case you are interested.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ed Kenschaft

    I find it interesting that people give the book a low rating because they disagree with McConnell’s politics. I also have issues with his politics. That doesn’t change that the book is an easy and fascinating read, well-written and absorbing. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given the author is a professional communicator. More importantly, the book accomplished what I hoped it would: it helped me understand a little better where McConnell is coming from. I read it precisely because I saw him I find it interesting that people give the book a low rating because they disagree with McConnell’s politics. I also have issues with his politics. That doesn’t change that the book is an easy and fascinating read, well-written and absorbing. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, given the author is a professional communicator. More importantly, the book accomplished what I hoped it would: it helped me understand a little better where McConnell is coming from. I read it precisely because I saw him as black-and-white, an entirely negative impediment to democracy, and I believed a priori there must be more to him. I was right. I still don’t agree with many of his positions, but at least I can understand at some level why he sees things the way he does. Sometimes, to my shock, I even find myself agreeing with him.

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