No One Can Lift the Damn Thing


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!).