The Wicked Wine of Democracy
A Memoir of a Political Junkie 1948-1995
Joseph S. Miller
- Published: 2008
- Subject Listing: Memoir, Political Science, American History
- Bibliographic information: 280 pp., 16 illus., index, 6 x 9 in.
“Smilin' Joe” Miller learned early that political campaigns hadn't changed since the days of Babylon, when politicians - or, more correctly, kings and emperors - stamped their visages on coins and invented lies about themselves. By capitalizing on this simple secret, he found that politics could be simplified to glorifying his candidate and denigrating the opposition. It just required keeping up with the latest technological developments and using them to advantage. There was nothing ennobling about this, but it paid well, or, as Bob Dole liked to say, there was no heavy lifting and it was all indoor work.
The Wicked Wine of Democracy is a frank account by a political operative and practicing lobbyist who in the early 1950s went from being a journalist in Seattle to working on the campaigns of such important political figures as Warren G. Magnuson, Henry “Scoop” Jackson, Frank Church, William Proxmire, and, finally, John F. Kennedy. He was so successful in managing the media for campaigns across the country that in 1957 the Washington Post labeled him “the Democrat's answer to Madison Avenue.” After Kennedy's victory, Miller opened a lobbying office on Capitol Hill and took on clients as diverse as the United Steelworkers of America, the Western Forest Industries Association, and the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association. In this always revealing and often humorous memoir, Miller reports on the highlights and backroom conversations from political campaigns, labor negotiations, and lobbying deals to give an honest picture of how politics worked over his forty-year career in the nation's Capitol.
Joseph S. Miller is a retired lobbyist living in Washington, D.C. Miller wrote and edited for the Lewiston Morning Tribune, Boise Daily Statesman, Oregon Journal, and Seattle Post-Intelligencer before beginning his career as a media consultant for political campaigns and a lobbyist for a variety of unions and associations.
“For more than 50 years, Joe Miller worked behind the scenes in the Pacific Northwest and Washington, D.C., as a journalist, campaign insider, lobbyist, and fixer. Along the way, he was an astute, acerbic, and highly interested observer of the political process.” - Stephen Ponder, author of Managing the Press
“Rarely does a memoir deal so candidly and engagingly with political campaigns and influence peddling. He provides illuminating and often delightful vignettes of Lyndon Johnson, Warren Magnuson, John Kennedy, William Proxmire, Robert Byrd, Quentin Burdick, and Barry Goldwater. His insider accounts of legislative battles and political campaigns are invariably absorbing and illustrative of the way that politics really works." - LeRoy Ashby, author of Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church