By Dave Wieczorek
City & Shore Magazine
If the name James Carville doesn’t ring a resounding political bell, you simply have not paid attention to the dramedies playing out across America’s electoral landscape for the past 25 years.
“James lives in a border town between genius and madness,” says Paul Begala, a former White House adviser with whom Carville worked. “Now that he’s rich and famous, he’s eccentric. I knew him when he was just crazy.”
Crazy like a fox, some say. But then, there is no shortage of opinions about the opinionated “Ragin’ Cajun.” Comedian Dennis Miller once referred to him as “a snake oil salesman who actually looks like a snake.”
The bespectacled, shiny-domed Carville shrugs off both disguised praise and clever criticism as the price he pays for high-profile international success.
“When you become famous,” he says, “being famous becomes your profession.”
Carville is one of America’s best-known political consultants, having shot to fame as the lead strategist of Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. His shoot-from-the-hip political commentary delivered with a Southern drawl is recognizable from hundreds of appearances on network news programs ranging across the ideological spectrum. He has worked on international campaigns in more than 23 countries, written numerous books and is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Tulane University.
And he isn’t shy about tooting his own horn. The home page of his website, Carville.info, proclaims: “The man who has devised the most dramatic political victories of our generation.”
You can hear his wildly popular commentary for yourself during “James Carville Looks at Politics and the 2016 Race for the White House” at 7:30 p.m. April 6, when he will be the final guest of the 2015-16 Broward College Speaker Series, presented by Hoffman’s Chocolates and sponsored by Katz Barron Squitero Faust and SunTrust. The event, co-sponsored by City & Shore Magazine, will be at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
Expect Carville to bounce from topic to topic with sarcasm, good-natured-ribbing, pointed criticism, uncanny insight and self-deprecating humor. To wit:
“The reason I became a Democratic operative instead of a Republican was because there were more Democrats that didn’t have a clue than there were Republicans.”
“Truth is relative. Truth is what you can make the voter believe is the truth.”
“Drag a $100 bill through a trailer camp and there’s no telling what you will find.”
“We should not run away from religious teachings. We should run to them.”
“Republicans want smaller government for the same reason crooks want fewer cops. It’s easier to get away with murder.”
“Don’t get mad. Don’t get even. Just get elected, then get even.”
“Winning an argument with your wife is like winning the war with Iraq. Once you win, you’re in even more trouble.” (Carville lives in New Orleans with his wife, Mary Matalin, a Republican political consultant with whom he co-authored the 2014 book, Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home.)
Oh, and just in case you think the Ragin’ Cajun believes everything that spills from his mouth should be taken as gospel, he notes: “No one will ever accuse James Carville of taking himself seriously.”
Tickets for James Carville, the 4th speaker in the 2015-16 Broward College Speaker Series, presented by Hoffman’s Chocolates and sponsored by Katz Barron Squitero Faust and SunTrust at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, are available through the AutoNation Box Office at the Broward Center, 954-462-0222, or visit BrowardCollegeSpeakerSeries.com.