No One Can Lift the Damn Thing

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Every once in a while Andrew Ferguson straps up his galoshes and muddles through some of the worst prose on the planet: The gunk inside official presidential campaign books. His latest wrap-up, "Read, Weep, and Vote," covers the work of seven 2008 contenders (Ferguson covered an eighth, Barack Obama, earlier this year).

One of these traditional books is by Sam Brownback, who since publishing From Power to Purpose has dropped from the race and no longer need concern us, ever.

That's really the entire section on Brownback. More Ferguson lines:

Like Castro, like Ceausescu, like many other politicians, Mrs. Clinton prefers to be photographed surrounded by schoolchildren, an image that suggests either a kid's birthday party or a hostage situation, depending on your point of view.

[John Edwards'] Home serves as one politician's warning to voters who might hope for a limit on his ambitions for "giving government back to the people." Lock your doors if you want, he seems to be saying; go ahead and draw those blinds, retreat to the bulwark if you dare. But the gates of Home will not prevail against my plans to make your life wonderful.

Romney hopes to apply the principles of corporate management to politics: "At All Costs, Protect the Brand." "Never Underestimate the Value of Your Product." "Rivalry Breeds Interest." "Communicate the Vision." "Challenge the Team to Stretch." There are a dozen more. If they worked for Romney, they can work for you–and for America. It also helps if you look like Bob Barker.

Ferguson dileneates the genre into "the policy book" and "the memoir," which sounds about right. I'm not sure we can always learn the choice of which one's churned out, though. John Kerry rather surprisingly never put out a Vietnam-heavy autobio, opting for the wonkery of Our Plan for America (only two copies left!).

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  1. Forget any of the debates, policy opinions, etc. of Mitt Romney. If he’s one of those people that uses those corporate buzzwords all the time, he deserves to be lynched.

    Come on, let’s get “proactive”

  2. From Kerry’s book page on Amazon.com:

    210 used & new available from $0.01

  3. Like Castro, like Ceausescu, like many other politicians, Mrs. Clinton prefers to be photographed surrounded by schoolchildren, an image that suggests either a kid’s birthday party or a hostage situation, depending on your point of view.

    I’m certainly no fan of Hillary, but that’s a little low. I do feel bad for the children though. Won’t somebody pleeeze think of children?!

  4. Forget any of the debates, policy opinions, etc. of Mitt Romney. If he’s one of those people that uses those corporate buzzwords all the time, he deserves to be lynched.

    You obviously need to rightsize your thinking.

  5. Apart from any issue with this appearing in the Neocon Journal of Record, it’s a pretty darn hilarious article. The section on Biden’s book made me laugh out loud.

    JFK, his ghostwriter, and “Profiles in Courage” are ultimately to blame for this mess, of course. I believe that was the first instance of ‘presidential vanity publishing.”

  6. You obviously need to rightsize your thinking.

    Out of the box, of course.

    And that is an example of why you use the preview option.

  7. Taktix, my opinion is synergistic with yours.

  8. Forget any of the debates, policy opinions, etc. of Mitt Romney. If he’s one of those people that uses those corporate buzzwords all the time, he deserves to be lynched.

    Those buzzwords are so annoying there’s software to remove them…

  9. “giving government back to the people.”

    Oh, he’ll be giving government to the people, to be sure. Lots and lots of government. And, really, I’m not sure “give” strikes the proper tone.

  10. Faddah, Faddah, If God is all powahful, can he write a autobiography that is so vapid and self-aggrandizing that even he stand reading it?

  11. I’m not sure “give” strikes the proper tone.

    A change in tense, but…

    The cops gave me the 3d degree.
    The IRS gave me an audit.
    I gave him a Charley horse.
    I gave her the clap, while giving her a good cornholing.

    No, I think it’s the right verb. It’s all in how you use it.

  12. I have a strange urge to buy Romney trading cards. Anybody have his rookie republican card, you know, back before he was governor.

  13. Jesus these people seem like idiots…

    If you really wanted people to read this crap wouldn’t you make these books all paper back and under 200 pages…

    I should start a publishing company….I would so dominate the field.

    Ya ya I know I know, I am talking out of my ass.

  14. If you really wanted people to read this crap wouldn’t you make these books all paper back and under 200 pages…

    I would read this self-aggrandizing bullshit if it was one page printed on the back of a Chinese Take-Out menu…

  15. That ought to be “delineates”, not “dileneates”.

  16. I got a chuckle recognizing the title of this post… then thought the next line of the song is even more appropriate;

    “it’s full of charts and facts and figures,
    and instructions for dancing.”

    IIRC.

  17. ChrisO | November 26, 2007, 3:41pm | #

    JFK, his ghostwriter, and “Profiles in Courage” are ultimately to blame for this mess, of course. I believe that was the first instance of ‘presidential vanity publishing.”

    I wonder if Richard Nixon’s Six Crises also fits in there, although it was written between the 1960 Presidential campaign and the 1962 California gubernatorial campaign. (PS I enjoyed both Six Crises and Profiles a lot when I was a kid. We could do a lot worse and have many, many times.

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