It’s all about the book, leadership, not so much…

May 13, 2009

Maybe I’m just a jealous wanna-be published author, but it seems to me that being in politics these days is all about the book.

So the seemingly vacuous Sarah Palin it is reported today has inked a book deal for millions or perhaps multi millions of dollars; actual dollar amounts were not disclosed, but estimated.

You almost have to think that such was the idea all along. She was in no way qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. She may or may not be qualified to be the governor of Alaska, but she is. I give her credit for being clever enough to generate the necessary publicity or have the right contacts to worm her way into the nomination for vice president (or maybe just having the good fortune that John McCain was desperate and reckless). And I even have to admit that she has a story to tell. It’s all so improbable. Yeah, I’d probably read it – at the free library.

When I first saw the story about the Palin book deal, I was a bit taken aback, but hardly shocked. And again, I think she has a story to tell. It’s strange, though. She had her ever-so-brief moment on the public scene and she is already selling her memoirs.

But what really disturbs me and saddens me is that such a seemingly reasonable and nice person as Elizabeth Edwards, who has the misfortune of having a sleaze bag for a husband, is out hawking her book. So she is married to a narcissistic, parasitic, and empty-of-values husband, and we are expected to want to read about it. Maybe a lot of people are, but not me.

Our own president is a multi millionaire due to his books. I have never read any of them.

Barbara Bush wrote about her dog and cashed in big time. Sheesh, what people will buy.

Gary Hart ran for president long ago now and I never recall him saying anything substantive in his campaign, only him claiming to have “new ideas” and him deflecting all serious questions with the answer: “it’s all in my book”.

Bill Clinton wrote “My Life”. I actually read some of it. It probably should have been entitled “All about Me”.

Ousted Speaker of the House James Wright wrote a book – I don’t know its title – and sold it to supporters as a way to get campaign contributions and to get around campaign finance laws, as I recall.

John F. Kennedy wrote (or they say someone wrote it for him) “Profiles in Courage”. I don’t know if he made a lot of money on it or if he did what he did with that money, but I don’t think he needed it. But it was good for his political reputation. And that primarily was the reason in times past for American political figures to write books, from my understanding.

But today, I think people have discovered that if you can be sensational or controversial enough to get your name out there you can cash in on a book. So the idea is not to seek attention to get office or promote political thought to do good, but to get attention to sell a book.

Even worse is the fact that all these political talking heads on cable TV appear on each other’s show every day promoting their own books.

Winston Churchill wrote, among other works, “A History of the English-Speaking Peoples”. I think I read some of that work by chance one day in a college library. I’d like to check it out some time again when I have lots of time – well that’s about any time for me (it’s multi-volume).

And wouldn’t it be refreshing if we had anyone on the public scene capable of writing such a thing?

I’m waiting for the memoirs of Joe the Plumber —  swear to God, I didn’t realize he already had a book out before I wrote that last bit of a sentence, but I suspected it and then I quickly checked the web. He does and he was already promoting it last December and already trashing McCain the man who made him famous. I read some reader reviews, and they were not good. 


And here’s a suggested book title for Dick Cheney:

“Tortured Logic”.