The Running Mate. Joe Klein

There’s a certain genre of movies I refer to as the “white men in suits” movies. They are the kind of movies where many of the main characters look alike and not much is done to differentiate them. I’m always slightly confused during these films, because the characters are so interchangeable. So in the third reel when it is revealed that Mr. So-and-so was really a double agent/mafia don/retired baseball player I always think, “Wait, who was Mr. So-and-so?”

This book was much like that. The story of a long time Midwestern Senator had a lot of characters who were sparingly introduced and then referred to later not only by either their first or last names, but also a nickname now and then. “Who is this person?” I kept thinking as I read.

But I kept reading and aside from having little idea who was talking 60% of the time, I enjoyed this book. Charlie, the main character was wonderful to follow through his trials and tribulations. He really wanted to do the right thing, which was difficult in the changing political landscape of the early 90s. His father was a fun character who would wander in and out and I enjoyed a few of the staffers too.

I enjoy politics (though not so much these past years) and it was fun to have a fictional window to a Senate campaign. There were story threads that could have been more developed and story threads that wandered on forever, but overall this was a pretty okay book.

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