It’s Not Who You Know; It’s Who You Get to Know In the world of politics, one of the most important things is who you know. Knowing people will bring a politician success. Chris Matthew stressed one-on-one communication and “retail politics” in this first chapter of his book. He knows firsthand because he was in Washington for many years observing and learning. Not only is it necessary to know as many people as possible, but it is also important to make the person feel that their concerns are cared for on a personal level.
Knowing people is not only important in the political world, but it is also important in the real world. The more people you know, the more opportunities will arise for you. In the book Chris Matthew talks about how many popular politicians rose to the top because they made the effort to get to know everyone, especially those who are important. This can apply to any work environment. Networking is a very important part of life. It is important for all of us to remember to treat each person with care because they will potentially be important in our lives.
To emphasize and make true what he as saying, Chris Matthews used the example of George H. W. Bush. When the Persian Gulf War occurred, Bush used the support of his good friend Hosting Embark, who was the Egyptian president. Prior to this, when Bush was the vice president, the press secretary Peter Teller was trying to look for him. He was then told that Bush was visiting the vice president of Egypt. Teller had no clue who the vice president was, but Bush had a one-on-one relationship with none other than Embark. When Near Sad died, suddenly, a person who no one knew became important.
Embark was the new president of Egypt. Bush had no problem contacting him who helped to get the Arab league to put sanctions on Iraq. As shown, it is important to know everyone, because they might be important to you one day. Politicians who make the effort to know everyone and to build relationship will see some success in their career. Chapter 2: “All Politics is Local” Instead of trying to take care of and win everyone, politicians need to remember to be a common man. They need to show people that they are a local. Politicians need to remember to make people at his home feel taken care of.
When politicians spend too much time in Washington and do not mom home to visit and work for their people, their political career is in trouble. They can also be attacked for their lack of work in their communities by other politicians. Home can often be their weakest point because that is where they started and that is where they should have the most support. It brings debates and problems to a local level. Putting pressure and concern on local levels can destroy one’s career. Knowing the weak points Of a person and attacking it is one of most productive things that can be done. Regardless of your purpose, you need to learn you are trying to influence Ares about”, (58) Matthew said. In any situation, when you know what makes a person happy or sad, it can be used to your benefit. Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin knew how to play the local game. Knowing that reporters were people who were under a lot of pressure and time constraints, he used that to his advantage. McCarthy was a big endorser of the anti- Communist campaign; therefore, he constantly visited the wire tickers. If the stories matched his views, he would be happy. If not, he would fabricate stories to trump the other ones.
This worked for a while until people found out that he was making up lies. Although he got caught, the tactics he used can be applied. Knowing what people need makes it easy to use them to you advantage like McCarthy did. A big part of the game is being able to read people and find their weaknesses. More often than not, weaknesses can be found in a person’s backyard or the local level. As shown in many past examples, doing research on people will reveal their breaking point. Chapter 3: It’s Better to Receive Than to Give Benjamin Franklin said, “If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor”.
By asking people for help, they invest in they invest in you. The more mime they spend helping you and doing favors for you, they are a true believer and they want to see you succeed. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it gives people an opportunity to do what they want: to get involved. If you don’t ask someone for help, help will most likely not be given. A smart politician is able to create a network of people through asking them for help. They have to be willing to walk up to someone and ask for money, support, and time. They have the ability to make people feel needed and it makes them feel important and a part of the campaign.
To ensure that your helpers stay loyal, t is important to tell them they their work is appreciated. They will be likely to help again and again if they are properly thanked. Any relationship is not a one way street, so it should not be treated like one. The example Chris Matthew uses is Jimmy Carter. He knew that he could not rely on the Democratic party network to win presidency because he was an outsider. When a Democrat lost the primaries, Governor Carter of Georgia at that time would send a letter to them. He knew that they would be looking for jobs and he can provide that if he campaigns successfully and wins the presidency.
He gave them someone to cheer for and he built a more personal relationship with them. This created a group of people with political experience who were also willing to help. They were a group who wanted to take part in his victory. On top of that, when he was campaigning, he traveled everywhere from the countryside to small towns to win voters. He slept at their houses and created a lot of loyalty. They wanted to provide for him and help him. It made Carter’s campaign stronger. Because Carter was not afraid to ask for help, he saw success. Chapter 4: “Dance with the One That Brunt Yea”
Delivering a promise is hard to do, but it is also necessary in the political world. One the promise is broken, there will be no more loyalty and trust is forever lost. When there is betrayal, a politician’s career will end and no one will ever be able to trust them; they will no longer have a reputation. Loyalty on the other hand, will bring a person to the top. Switching sides can get messy and will prevent success. When serving someone, one need to be careful because wrong alliances and associations will ruin a career. When inflicting pain, things need to be perfectly timed to avoid an explosion.
Usually around election, politicians try to make things such as social and economic problems better. These tricks ensure votes because they did things to improve the life of the common man. They most recent actions that help people are what they remember. Politicians also like to do good things for people slowly and in small amounts at a time. This makes them constantly appreciate the representative and it also makes them come back for more. When people are given a lot all at once, the appreciation can wear off and the action will be less effective.
It is important to be loyal, but to also know when o do certain things such as projects and legislations for people. Ronald Reagan demonstrates how this strategy works. He was faithful to his party and always stuck to them. He put effort into promoting conservative journals to keep them happy. He stuck with his followers through the victories and the defeats, and they also stuck with him. He kept to the phrase, “dance to the one that brunt yea” and did not lose loyalty. He knew how important it was to have loyalty. He understood that if loyalty was lost, his political career could come crashing to an end.
Chapter 5: Keep Your Enemies in Front of You In this chapter, we learn the importance of keeping your enemies in front of you. Often, politicians are friendly with their adversaries. It may seem like a weird concept, but it shows strength and it is a good source to attain information. Putting an enemy under your watch is important so that you can monitor their damage. It can be tempting to keep enemies as far away as possible, but they can be plotting to dethrone you. Instead, keeping an enemy close will be beneficial especially if you get them to work for you.
In politics and even in business, hiring an enemy can be good. Although they are an enemy, they are good at what they do and can help you. Ronald Reagan knew this tactic well and executed it. James Baker was initially an enemy of Reagan who helped Gerald Ford in the 1 976 election. He helped successfully control the damage that Reagan caused. When Reagan finally won the presidency, he did not try o keep Baker away for him. He instead gave Baker the staff chiefs job. From there, he rose to be the Secretary of the Treasury. Reagan put Baker in a position where his success depended on the president’s success.
This gave Baker no choice but to make sure that Reagan not only looked good, but performed well also. Much can be learned by observing Reggae’s tactics when it comes to dealing with an enemy. Chapter 6: Don’t Get Mad; Don’t Get Even; Get Ahead In politics, it is easy to get upset when something goes wrong or someone upsets you. Emotions can destroy a political career. Instead of seeking revenge, it is better to try to get ahead. With revenge, a lot of time and effort goes into it, but satisfaction is never found and they can end up hurting themselves more. Other opportunities will open up if a politician picks themselves up and moves on.
Successful politicians are those who do not let tiebacks get in their way, but they use it to rise up. Showing people your triumph later will make you even stronger and better. Getting ahead will not only benefit you, but it will also show people how far you have come since the initial upset. One of the greatest examples Chris Matthews uses is Francis Patrick Sullivan. He demonstrates the problem with seeking revenge. He was a very ambitious person who managed the House campaign for “Herb”. He helped raise a large amount of funds and recruited many volunteers for his campaign.
When “Herb” won, he told Sullivan that he was not “cut out” for he job and that there must be something else for him to do. Angry and hurt, Sullivan chose revenge rather than to rise above and to move on. Sullivan did everything in his power such as switching parties and disrupting events to prevent “Herb” from any other victories. Although Sullivan Was quite successful in blocking “Herb” from future jobs, he was never satisfied. He let “Herb” get in his head and he was stuck always trying to seek revenge. He was never able to move on and therefore his career did not move up.
When someone fails you and prevents you from doing well, the best way to address hat is to work on yourself and slowly rise to the top. Chapter 7: Leave No Shot Unanswered Many politicians dig up past events or any sort of dirt to try to bring their opponent down and stop them from enchanting the public. They use the information to make them look weak and lose support. When this happens, the person being attacked needs to address the issue immediately. Sometimes, candidates do not know what to say or sometimes, they are not even aware of that fact that they are being attacked.
If they do not take care of the accusations, the people will think that the news was true and they will aver in their support for the candidate. They need to address the attacks as directly as possible and as soon as possible to prevent and side effects. One thing to do is to catch the accusations as a lie and to show proof that it is false. When this is done, the opponent is shut down and their plan backfires ruining them. Another thing that can be done is ridiculing and being funny to counter the remarks. It makes the other person look like a fool and wins you votes. Lastly, a person can attack back.
When it is timed well such as a few days before voting, the opponent does not have time to fire back and you will e victorious. It is safe to say, when you are attacked, attack back! That is the only way to preserve your image and to move on or pull a victory out. One of the examples Matthews used in this chapter was the presidential election between George Bush and Mike Dashikis. Bush attacked Dashikis by telling people that Dashikis gave “furloughs” to prison inmates including first- degree murderers. Bush also told about how Dashikis did not sign legislation requiring teachers to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
This made Dashikis, who had a very conservative image, look UN-American and a “political alien”. Instead of responding to the attacks, Dashikis did not do anything. People began to lose faith in him and supported Bush instead. Dashikis had a seventeen point lead initially, but by the end of all the attacks, he was behind Bush by eight points. When a candidate does not address problems, people start to doubt them and they lose their credibility. It is important as seen in the case of Dashikis to immediately and effectively address attacks. Chapter 8: “Only Talk When It Improves the Silence” Many politicians like to talk, a lot.
The smart politicians let them do most of the talking. They listened instead and learn a lot about their competition. They knew their opinions and were able to tell what they were thinking. This is a huge advantage because they knew how to read people. “Only talk when it improves the silence” Matthews wrote. Just talking and not getting anywhere will not do anything. Knowing when to talk and when to be silent will lead to success. When being silent, you can learn a lot and gather a lot Of information. Sticking to your ideals and being persistent will allow you to scare people away and therefore win.
When words are said, they need to be effective and impact. They need to get a point across and be helpful in whatever you do. Chris Matthews used one of his own examples in this chapter. In 1 974, when he was running for congress in Pennsylvania, he asked the congressman from an adjoining district if he would endorse him. The congressmen replied “not publicly”. Some people might be discouraged by this, but Matthews was able to see it from the other side. He would be able to get support privately and root for him. The congressman was wise and used silence well. No one had to know that he supported Matthews.
If Matthews won, he could tell people he supported him. If Matthews lost, he did not have to say anything but “not publicly” comfort Matthews. He knew how to use silence and what he did was a smart move. He did not affect his own career in any way by helping Matthews. Silence as shown, is an important skill to learn and use in the world. Chapter 9: Always Concede on Principle Most politicians do not like to lose, but when they do “concede on principle” they are actually more productive. When a politician agrees with the people and know that they are wrong, they win the people over.
People like to know that they are being heard and that their opinion does matter. It is alright to be wrong once in a while as long as you admit to it and make amends. Agreeing to the public shows that you share their values and that you are on their side. A politician who is hard headed and never admits to defeat or being wrong will anger the people and lose their position quickly. A wise politician has two sides to them. They know when to push for what they want and they know when to stop because people are getting upset. As a politician, it is acceptable to concede as long as it is sincere and will benefit all people.
Chris Matthews gives a lot of credit to Reagan for knowing this lull and using it to his benefit. When issues about missile arose, Reagan first suggested to hiding the missiles by putting it in one great pile to be more conspicuous. People were upset and thought that he was stupid. Everyone began talking about the issue and he was greatly criticized. When all the criticism got to the president, he decided to join his critics. He then made a point about how the arms race needed to end and he agreed that his idea was stupid. He said that they should instead work with the Soviet Union to reduce the number of missiles.
Reagan gained his respect and supporters ace by agreeing to them. Reagan uses this tactic again when it came to the Nicaragua policy. He stopped arguing for military aid to the “contras” and again joined the people. Being willing to concede is an important thing to be able to do. The people you are working for needs to be kept happy and feel that they are taken care of. Chapter 10: Hang a Lantern on Your Problem Bad things about a person are usually hidden, but this next strategy Matthews is writing about encourages one to be open with their problems.
People like it when someone is honest. They feel that they can trust them without any deception occurring. When the public finds out that they have been lied to, they are irate and will never trust the person again. Therefore, it is better to talk about the problem and try your best to make it into something better. What some people see as bad qualities or even a problem can be fixed if the politician brings attention to it and highlights it in a good light. It is important to be open with people and make yourself look good despite any situation.
Matthews uses Jay Rockefeller as an example. He inherited a lot of money and used it to get elected. When he won the Senate in 1985, everyone knew that he used his wealth to win. On just the town of Harpers Ferry, he spent thousands of dollars in the media market. Everyone did not like how he rose to the top. At the black-tie dinner at Washington Press Foundation he managed to make people who were making $40,000 to $60,000 as reporters like him. He said to the audience that night, “To those of you who had to fork over seventy-five bucks for you tickets, don’t feel bad.
It cost me twelve million to get her tonight”. Although people did not like him for the way he used his money, he managed to gain the audiences liking. He knew that he was criticized for never having earned his money and only spending it, but he shined a light on it and made people laugh. He knew his audience and he understood how to turn a problem into a good attribute about himself. Chapter 11: Spin! With any problem, there really isn’t a problem. A good politician knows how to “spin”. They are able to take bad attributes, make it good, and turn it around.
When they turn it around, they make it hit the opponent hard and they come out as a victor. Acknowledging problems gives a person credibility, then that newly built credibility can be used in their favor to fire back. Spin is essential and extension of “hang a lantern on your problem”. It takes the idea one step further and makes a person rise while pushing their opponent down. It is important to know how to turn things around in your favor. One of the examples used in this chapter is Jesse Jackson. He was an African American running for president in 1987. At a black-tie fundraiser in Washington D.
C. , he used Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey as a role model. He spoke about how Senator Bradley was able to overcome racial issues to become a professional basketball player. He spoke about how people laughed at him and put him down. He ended the story about how Senator Bradley had the barriers because of his race. Not only did he use spin, but he also used irony. At this time in American history, people did not think they were ready for an African American president. He told his story to point out that people did not like him, not for his issues and stances, but for his race.
He was able to point out that yes, he was and African American, but people should overlook that and give him a chance. He was able to make people feel guilty. Jesse Jackson knew exactly how to spin and turn a problem into someone else’s problem while he came out on top. Chapter 12: “The press Is he Enemy People working for the press often need good, juicy stories to get their paycheck. It is their job and their pay depends on it. They can take portions of a speech and blow it out of proportion because they do not provide enough background information. Politicians have to be careful of what they say in front of a recorder or camera.
Something that is said “off camera” can come back to haunt you, so politicians always have to be on the lookout. “Deep background” means telling information but staying anonymous. “Off the record” means that the information shared cannot be used by the reporter. Regardless, politicians have to be careful who they tell information to and risk getting backstabber. All reporters will have their own best interests in mind, therefore politicians always have to be careful and know that “off record” might not always mean that. Again, Jesse Jackson was used as an example again in this chapter.
This time, he was on the receiving side of the rule. In 1 984, when he was running for president, he was speaking too group of African American reporters. While speaking, he referred to Jews and New York City as “Hemi” and “Hometown”. When this story came out, many people were upset. Jackson thought that he talk was off limits but he didn’t explicitly ask for it off-record. He was looked at as using racial slurs and not being proper. This proves to show that the reporters out there are always looking for news and they do not care about the careers of politicians.
The politicians have to always be watching themselves and making sure that they don’t say anything that will be harmful for their career. At the end of the day, both sides need to make money. In a general sense everyone, not just politicians, need to catch themselves before they say something offensive or wrong. Chapter 13: The Reputation of Power This chapter begins with telling people to play their strengths. Politicians have to be able to find qualities that would be able to enchant an audience, and then use it in their favor. Instead of hardball, allowable is introduced in this chapter.
The lower of an expectation an audience has for a politician, the more room there is for them to look good and rise to the occasion. Another thing that can be done is sandbagging. This strategy entails building an opponent up so much that they will not be able to reach the expectations. This will be seen as a fail and they will look bad. Another rule in he book is creating new commandments. Making your own rules and following them will often work. When the opposing candidate doesn’t follow them, you can call them out and you will look like a hero.
Another strategy is passing the buck. Presidents have used commissions to get heat off himself when things went wrong. People typically use people under themselves to take the fault for an catastrophes. Lastly, we are taught to Inch landings. This is when you attacked the enemy by their rear although you are losing and you pull a victory out. All these strategies goes into using the power you have well and in your favor. Although not an American, Winston Churchill knew how to use his power. During World War II, a time of fear and doubt in England, Churchill gave a speech.
He spoke about the possibility of England being invaded by the Nazis. He named worse case scenarios such as invasion and starvation, but he also assured people that they would continue on and fight as hard as possible to protect themselves. By naming the worst things that can happen, there is nowhere to go but up. When the Nazis did not invade England and the Allies triumphed, the people were even more happy and excited. Churchill was seen as a hero and people Ovid him. He knew the strategies well and set a low expectation for the people, so when there was victory, his popularity soared.
Chapter 14: positioning “You can position yourself anywhere you want to be. ” This is true in life and in politics. When a person places themselves in the right position, they have power and can do much more. It is important to position yourself from the beginning to set the tone of how you want a situation to look like. Positioning is essential to a career because it affects how someone sees you and what they think of you. If you need votes, people need to know that you re on their side. Practice is also needed to find a good position. It doesn’t just come naturally.
When something goes wrong it is needed for the person to be able to reposition. They have to be constantly aware and on the move. Positioning and repositioning are things good politicians have to know how to do and it is a part of their career safety. Ronald Reagan mastered this skill. One of the examples was when he was president, he told everyone, “Government is not the solution to the problem, it’s the problem”. By doing this, he made it clear that he was not like the people in Washington: it made it kook like he was working for the people without schemes and personal interest.
He placed himself between government and people. This is a good positioning because he will never look like a bad guy even if something goes wrong. He also spoke on the radio to the public often and was more a friend to them. Reagan knew how to position himself and he did well. Although he was president, he was not too far from the people, so they still appreciated him and thought of him as someone close to them. As shown by Reagan, good positioning is essential to not only perform the duties of a politician, but to also do well.