Months ago when Roger Stone told me the title of his 2016 presidential campaign book, “The Making of the President 2016,” I immediately asked if Teddy White’s heirs had copyrighted that famous title. (For those unfamiliar, in 1961 Theodore White broke political ground with his best-selling insider campaign book, “The Making of the President 1960.” White’s success prompted him to write a series with the same name for the presidential campaigns of 1964, 1968 and 1972.)
In response to my question, Roger said that the iconic title was “not copyrighted.” Then I complimented him on the marketing savvy of selecting himself to be Teddy White’s successor.
Stone’s “The Making of the President 2016: How Donald Trump Orchestrated a Revolution” was released on Jan. 31.
Fast-paced Amazon pre-sales are not surprising considering that for over forty years the author has been at one time or another a close friend and confidant, employee, chief political adviser, outside adviser, political bomb-thrower, and behind-the-scenes man to the newly minted president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
Since Stone is an acquaintance of mine, I have conducted several interviews with him – starting with the “Clintons’ War on Women” book interview on Sept. 7, 2015.
In fact, writing this review of Roger’s new book prompted me to go back and read his prescient statements from a Feb. 29, 2016, interview titled, “Why Stone is the Man to Watch in a Trump vs. Clinton Race.” Here is a key sentence that encapsulates why Stone’s book is worth reading:
“Roger proudly told me that he ‘started 2016 with two goals – defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump president of the United States.’”
To that I say, “Roger, Mission Accomplished.”
In the same interview, I wrote, “What makes Stone such a tour de force is his ability to impact the campaigns of both candidates.” (I recently discovered this quote appears on the book’s back cover.) In “The Making of the President 2016,” you can read how Stone did exactly that . But, given the extent of Roger’s impact on both campaigns, surprisingly, the book is less about the role of Roger Stone and much more about “how Donald Trump orchestrated a revolution,” the subtitle of the book.
Fortunately for Trump, the seeds of revolution had grown into a bumper crop, and 2016 was harvest time! But, in addition to that crop of angry voters fed up with Washington and ready for drastic change, Trump’s revolution succeeded for reasons perhaps best described using biblical terms: Barack Obama begat Donald Trump. This was especially true since Hillary Clinton was campaigning with no message or vision besides “elect me to ‘Obama’s third term’ because I am a woman.”
Equally important, Trump’s revolution was fueled by his mastery of the new-media environment on which Stone offers expert analysis and was an influential player. Going forward every political candidate and operative must learn to harness the power of new media and social media to their advantage or become their victim.
On that note, Stone ends the book with the following paragraph that, in addition to summarizing Trump’s campaign media strategy, offers insight on how he will operate as president.
Donald Trump loves winning, and he hates losing. He is determined, stubborn, and incredibly smart, and his masterful use of social media has transformed American politics. Trump has figured out that he can speak directly to voters without the filter of the old media. Perhaps he is our last best hope to return to being a nation of winners.
Whether you love or loathe Trump, for political junkies of both parties Stone’s book is an entertaining and informative must-read. Not only does it offer a detailed insight into the “The Making of the President 2016” but also the “making of Roger Stone.” In his 16-page preface, Stone tells the story of how he first met Trump through a Ronald Reagan connection with the infamous mob lawyer Roy Cohn. Stone also writes about how former President Nixon and his wife thought Trump would one day be president.
My favorite and most bizarre paragraph in the entire book is also from Stone’s preface. Roger wrote about a 1989 business meeting with Trump when Stone was a D.C. lobbyist “handling currency transaction rules that his casinos were subject to.”
Stone had requested a New York meeting with Trump, but Trump said he was scheduled to helicopter to Atlantic City with two of his casino executives. Roger convinced Trump to wait for him to arrive from D.C., and Trump obliged. Sadly, that day the helicopter crashed, killing Trump’s two executives.
About this 1989 incident Roger writes:
While Trump may have booked other appointments after mine, I know that his life was spared to save our Republic and restore our economic vitality. This was the point at which I realized that Trump had been put on Earth for this larger purpose. This was the point that I realized he would be president.
Sure, many will shake their heads when they read that paragraph. Moreover, much of the old media will ignore Stone’s book just as they initially ignored Trump’s run for president. However, Roger Stone believes what he wrote, and that is what matters. After all, President Trump’s friend of over 40 years will continue as one of the most controversial political operatives, media personalities and authors on the scene today. And remember, the president of the United States takes his calls.
Cross-posted at WND