McAuliffe Rips Kerry 'Malpractice' in Memoir

01/23/2007 01:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Political memoirs are always plump with exaggeration. Grandiosity comes with the territory. In Terry McAuliffe's ``What a Party: My Life Among Democrats: Presidents, Candidates, Donors, Activists, Alligators and Other Wild Animals,'' there's a thin book inside a fat one crying to get out. Like its title, the reminiscences are overlong and too carefully vetted.

Still, it is satisfying to see the former Democratic National Committee chair take off the gloves and wax furious with Sen. John Kerry for blowing the 2004 campaign.

It's also satisfying to read an account by someone who loves the game so much. McAuliffe's enthusiasm for politics dates from age 14: His Dad was Onondaga party treasurer and the son was paving driveways to earn money for contributions to the campaigns of candidates he thought could make a difference.

``What a Party'' is, at least in part, a primer for young people asking why they should get involved and a reminder to reporters of why they climb on buses like schoolchildren in Iowa and New Hampshire well after they should have graduated to grown- up jobs.

McAuliffe made the Democratic machinery hum. While a dubious distinction to those of us who think money is the bane of both parties, in 2004 McAuliffe was the first Democratic Party chairman to raise more money than the GOP. He dragged its technology into the 21st century and handed over the gavel to Howard Dean with no debt and $4 million in the bank.

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