Magazine September 19, 2011, Issue

Less-Than-Total Recall

(Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
Wisconsin’s GOP senate withstands a Democratic assault, barely

Controlling expectations is an invaluable weapon in a campaign manager’s arsenal. Before a debate, you make it sound like your candidate barely speaks English, so that when he reaches a level of adequacy, it appears as if he were Benjamin Disraeli. You downplay your candidate’s chances in a presidential caucus, so when he emerges from Iowa having finished fifth out of eight, you can boast about his “momentum.”

Democratic Party of Wisconsin chairman Mike Tate doesn’t care much for managing expectations. Displaying youthful hubris befitting his 32 years, Tate boldly declared that Democrats would win the three state-senate recall elections they

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A review of Tension City: Inside the Presidential Debates, from Kennedy–Nixon to Obama–McCain, by Jim Lehrer.

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