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Page Turners Series: Ted Van Dyk, Heroes, Hacks, and Fools: Memoirs from the Political Inside

Tue January 22, 2008 at LBJ School Student Lounge

Heros, Hacks and Fools
Heroes, Hacks and Fools: Memoirs from the Political Inside

The Center for Politics and Governance hosted Ted Van Dyk, renowned political commentator and advisor to seven Democratic Presidential Candidates, to speak about his new book, Heroes, Hacks, and Fools: Memoirs from the Political Inside.

About Ted Van Dyk

Ted Van Dyk, a shrewd veteran of countless national political and policy fights, casts fresh light on many of the leading personalities and watershed events of American politics since JFK. He was a Pentagon intelligence analyst during the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and an aide to Jean Monnet and other leaders of the European movement before serving at the Johnson White House as Vice President Humphrey's senior advisor and alter ego. He was involved in that administration's Great Society triumphs and its Vietnam tragedy.

In the late 1960s, Van Dyk moved to Columbia University as vice president to help quell campus disorders that threatened the university. Over a period of 35 years he was a senior advisor to presidential candidates Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Ted Kennedy, Mondale, Hart, and Tsongas; contributed regular essays to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Fortune, and other national publications; and led two national think tanks. In 2001 the Bellingham, Washington, native returned to the Northwest to write a regular editorial-page column for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
About Heroes, Hacks and Fools: Memoirs from the Political Inside

Heroes, Hacks, and Fools is maverick politico Ted Van Dyk’s vantage of triumph and idiocy through four decades of Democratic politics. The former staffer in the LBJ White House talks of his great respect for Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern, his dislike for Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and why he decided to endorse Republican Presidential Nominee Bob Dole in the 1996 Presidential Election.

Perhaps most interesting is Van Dyk’s take on Vice President Hubert Humphrey, for whom he served as speech writer and scheduler during the 1968 Presidential Election. While most observers characterized Humphrey’s stance on the Vietnam War as non-committal, Van Dyk paints the portrait of a staunchly anti-war candidate conflicted between his beliefs and his loyalty to LBJ.

Van Dyk's memoirs contain many other previously untold stories from an historic period of national politics, portray brilliant and not-so-brilliant leaders and ideas, and also illuminate politics' darker side. They bring to life the flawed realities and enduring opportunities of public policymaking in our time.

Reviews of Heroes, Hacks and Fools

"Heroes, Hacks, and Fools is about Democrats. It is a well-written and detailed autobiography....His story, particularly of the Humphrey-McGovern years, is one of the best accounts of that era in a long time." -Seattle Times

"[I]t is precisely [Van Dyk's] willingness to stick his neck out, to study and opine and participate, that makes his arguments so compelling." -Bookmonger: Kitsap Sun

Bruce Ramsey; Seattle Times

Pete Jackson; – Seattle

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