Off Script: An Advance Man's Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide

October 30, 2020
Off Script: An Advance Man's Guide to White House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle, and Political Suicide

Donald Trump won election as the 45th President of the UnitedStates by studying American political stagecraft and learning whathelped previous candidates succeed and doomed others to failure. Afigure on the periphery of campaigns for decades, he glided downthe Trump Tower escalator on June 16, 2015, declared his candidacyand took his place, permanently, as an actor in the country'sgreatest spectacle.Twenty-eight years earlier, at the dawn of what Josh King calls"The Age of Optics" in OFF SCRIPT: An Advance Man's Guide toWhite House Stagecraft, Campaign Spectacle and PoliticalSuicide, Trump began to position himself for his eventual runfor the Oval Office. Pictured at the foot of that same gildedescalator, he posed at the foot of that same escalator for a coverstory profile in TIME magazine. "This Man May Turn You Green WithEnvy—Or Just Turn You Off," read the first part of TIME's headlinein January 1989. "Flaunting It is the Game, and TRUMP is the name,"the headline concluded.The cover story came just after Massachusetts Governor MikeDukakis lost in a landslide to Vice President George H.W. Bush, inpart because Dukakis made the disastrous decision to ride in anM1A1 Abrams tank in Sterling Heights, Michigan less than two monthsbefore the election. Why did Dukakis make that ride, and why was itso deadly? Indeed, in each election that followed, why did GeorgeBush, Bob Dole, Al Gore, John Kerry, John McCain and Mitt Romneymake similar mistakes that cost them dearly at the polls?These are the questions that Josh King answers in OFFSCRIPT.King, who served as Director of Production in Bill Clinton'sWhite House and later was host of SiriusXM Satellite Radio'slong-running "Polioptics: The Theater of Politics," brings readerson a wild ride over the last thirty years of the Age of Optics,from Ronald Reagan's mastery of image to Barack Obama's "VanillaPresidency" to, ultimately, the faceoff between Hillary Clinton andTrump.As one of the White House's most creative "advance men," skilledat employing the tools to tell help tell the president's dailystory, and creating the scenes that the media can't resist turninginto news packages and front page photos, King pulls back thecurtain on the behind-the-scenes alchemy of political stagecraft.King's personal account, in-depth interviews, and detail-richstories, and his unique angle on what drives headlines, makes news,and wins elections will serve as an indispensible companion tothose keeping a close eye on the Trump presidency.