The Spin Doctor Is Out

As a political consultant, I learned the tricks of the trade from James Carville and Paul Begala. I loved playing hardball in a business where winning is everything. But the time came when politics got too partisan, too mean, and too all-consuming—even for me. by Mark McKinnon

MAYBE IT WAS THE CANDIDATE FOR STATEWIDE OFFICE WHO got so drunk he came on to a member of our film crew at a public restaurant while his wife and daughter sat horrified across the table. Maybe it was the time I got so frustrated I screamed obscenities at a female statewide officeholder. Maybe I got tired of juggling ten to twenty campaigns at once. Maybe I got tired of candidates’ asking me what their firmly held convictions should be. Maybe I got tired of accusing opponents of being right-wing extremists who wanted to cut social security benefits—and tired of them accusing my candidates of being tax-and-spend liberals. Maybe I simply lost my political idealism. Maybe I got tired of being in a dingy campaign office a thousand miles from home missing yet another of my daughters’ birthdays. Maybe politics just got old. Maybe I just got tired. Maybe it was the lure of the regular hours and reliable revenue of the corporate world. Maybe it was a combination of a lot of things. Whatever the case, after fifteen years of working on the front lines of American politics, I got out.

As a political consultant, I worked with some of the top spin doctors in the business: James Carville, Paul

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...