Magazine | December 31, 2012, Issue

Bestseller Excerpts

From The Republican Brain

Trust: The Untold Story,

by Bob Woodward

Publication Date: December 1, 2016

Page 23:

. . . very deep in the building, below even what the blueprints of the structure itself depicted, was a sub-basement laboratory. In what researchers and scientists call a “clean room,” members of the party’s advanced-technology team labored for months to counter the Democrats’ seemingly insurmountable technical advantage.

In the 2012 election, the Democrats had pursued a complex — and winning — strategy of networking Obama supporters via handheld mobile devices and smartphones. They maintained and perfected the “dark arts” of database mining, sending out e-mails, and generating phone calls to the party faithful.

Meanwhile, though, the Republicans were striking back.

Deep in the RNC headquarters, they’d managed an astonishing technological feat.

“What we did,” a highly placed source told me, “was figure out a way to reanimate Ronald Reagan’s brain. Then, you know, when we wondered what he might do, we could just ask him.”

Page 89:

. . . confused the researchers, because President Reagan, while alive, was such a sunny and optimistic figure. But the messages that were being pulsed out of the electronic connectors that led to his brain matter, which was suspended in an activated and electrified gel, were anything but.

“Are you kidding me?” was the first such message, when the final results of the 2012 election were pulsed into the gel.

“Please tell me you guys are joking.”

The researchers then painstakingly re-inputted the complete state-by-state results and waited for a response.

“Where was your get-out-the-vote?”

And then: “We’re talking about George Romney’s boy?”

And finally: “Okay, boys, we’ve got work to do. One of you get a pencil and write this down.”

#page#Page 178:

. . . all of them, on the eve of the sweeping victories in the 2014 midterms, took victory laps on the political talk shows. Republican strategists who had previously been low-end, cheap, local-only were suddenly the new Karl Roves. In state after state — and in blue precincts, too — Republicans scored large gains. By 10 p.m. on Election Night, it was clear: They were going to win the Senate.

The Republican party had come back.

And yet: No one else knew what a handful of scientists and researchers knew. That the Republican party was being guided to victory by an electrified piece of human brain tissue belonging to the late Ronald Reagan. They alone knew that it was he — the guiding standard-bearer of the modern Republican party — who had crafted the message, delivered the sound bites, and, by an amazing piece of advanced technology, actually edited the television spots using a Bluetooth-enabled mouse and Final Cut Pro on a MacBook Air.

“It’s astonishing what a person can accomplish,” Reagan’s brain pulsed out, “when you aren’t worried about who gets the credit.”

Page 205:

. . . fitted with what all television professionals call an “IFB” — a small and almost invisible device that fits into the ear, through which the wearer can receive signals from external sources. Usually, this is a television-news producer, telling the wearer to go to a commercial or pass the show to another reporter.

In the case of the 2016 presidential debate, it was connected to former president Ronald Reagan’s gelatinous brain, who guided the candidate through a series of complicated — and, to be honest, trick — questions designed by a hostile press to reestablish the Republican brand identity as cruel, unemotional, remote, anti-female, and backward.

History now records that first debate as the knockout blow that destroyed the Democratic hopes for a White House victory. The Democratic candidate was out-talked, out-debated, and, crucially, out-likabled. No one detected the transparent IFB in the Republican’s ear, much less knew that on the other side of that device was the most nimble and thoughtful and appealing Republican president in modern history.

Page 379:

. . . in a freak storm of the kind that hit New York City four years ago, Super Storm Sandy. When it knocked out the power in Washington, D.C., for several days, Republican strategists were concerned, but they knew that their headquarters had several fail-safe backup generators to keep the power supply humming down to the sub-basement.

What they didn’t know — what they couldn’t know — was that the power was delivered by a single cable. And when workers began clearing the roadways and sidewalks of storm debris, one of them inadvertently severed the cable delivering power to Ronald Reagan’s brain.

And severed his connection to the modern-day Republicans.

Next month, when the victorious Republican candidate takes the oath of office, he’ll be alone for the first time. Without his brain.

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