After the newly elected President is assassinated on election night, search for truth through the eyes of Cabinet and the media. This novel was originally released as a weekly serial during the 2004 US Presidential Election campaign.
I recently read Primary Colors for the first time, which may seem surprising for an Amerophile like myself, especially since it’s been four years since I wrote the work you are now holding. What struck me most about that novel was just how very 1996 it was.
Sure, it was clearly set in 1992, built around the comeback kid Bill Clinton; but it was also decidedly removed from that time, passing judgement from four years into the future. It was this observation of mine, coupled with the highly publicised primary campaign between Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton which at last seems to be over, that drew me back to The Cookie From The Cookie Jar.
Almost immediately I finished this novel – it ran as a weekly serial from July 2004 until Election Day in that November – I wanted to re-write it, tighten it, make it something more.
Perhaps one day I shall. The focus certainly shifted as I explored the characters, and I believe that tighter narrative focus from the beginning (coupled with a new name to reflect the shift) would make a fine read.
But this book is just so very 2004. While not as purposefully as Primary Colors does, Cookie Jar passes judgement on the earlier election. It also draws heavily on the political zeitgeist of the year it was written…at least the one I was witnessing. When I went to edit – and trust me, I have a heavily annotated copy sitting beside me right now – I realised any editing would serve only to anachronise those parts left alone.
So I shall leave it all alone, and send it once more into the world. Yes, Peter Jennings is dead. No, Wonkette ain’t what it used to be. And Ralph Nader…well, the more some things change…
I give you The Cookie From the Cookie Jar.
It’s very 2004.
But then, so were we.
Jacob Aldridge, June 2008
Almost 16 years ago I had a great idea – to write my first novel and release it in serial form, committing to my audience that I would progress and complete the book on time.
In that regard it worked. The book you are about to read combined my two great passions at that time: how journalism was evolving in the internet age, and the timelessness of the Electoral College an US Presidential Elections. The final chapters were sent out just hours before Ohio declared, giving George W. Bush his second term in office by just 50,000 votes.
As a way of creating a first draft that would evolve, it was unsuccessful. My 2008 Foreword spoke optimistically of returning to this work, though I continue to chose not to.
Heading into the 2020 Presidential Election, however, it strikes me how many of these themes have become relevant again. The power of the media (much of the story is shared through newspaper headlines and blog posts) to criticise, or support, a feckless and venal President seeking re-election.
Perhaps it’s not as “2004” as I thought. More’s the pity perhaps.
Jacob Aldridge, December 2019