Career politician’s book fails to impress

On a beautiful summer afternoon when I could have easily indulged in an extended lunch at my favorite restaurant, touched up the paint on the eaves of my house, or stapled my head to the floor, I succumbed to my curiosity and waded into She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s new book Right Angle: One Woman’s Journey to Reclaim the Constitution.

I approached the 256-page book with my usual skepticism but with a peppering of curiosity. What was the point? Why now? Was it truly some modern conservative manifesto designed to leave a mark on the 2012 election and beyond?

In a word, no.

She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named opens the book with an extended rant about the evils of “professional career politicians,” the lack of term limits, and the largesse lavished upon them by the dastardly lobbyists, special interests and faceless megalomaniacs who probably sit in an underground lair somewhere stroking the fur of their white Persian cat.

That’s all well and good, but it isn’t a secret that this woman has been running for office for most of her adult life and has appeared on the ballot here in Nevada in every election since 1998. Is she shining a beacon of light on the evils of our admittedly corrupt system, or bellyaching because she can’t manage to make it into that exclusive club?

Later, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named prattles on incessantly about her “shoe leather” campaigns, her refusal of donations from the evil overlords I mentioned earlier, and countless stories of her supposed David vs. Goliath heroism in the Legislature. I found this part especially irritating. True, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named typically eschews corporate money herself, but lest we forget that if it weren’t for the out-of-state special interest money from the Washington, D.C., based Club for Growth in 2006 and the Sacramento-based Tea Party Express PAC in 2010, she would have never been artificially propped up onto the stage with the top tier candidates. It’s insulting that she can gloss over the incontrovertible fact that although the endless special interest money siphoned into Nevada in 2006 and 2010 may not have flowed through her official campaign account, it is the sole reason she has ever been relevant outside her assembly district.

The section I was most looking forward to, her thoughts on the 2010 senate race, was underwhelming. I wanted raw perspective from the trail. Instead I got a list of recycled excuses. Rasmussen polls had her ahead. Yawn, I remember. Voting machines were automatically checking Harry Reid’s name in Clark County, and this was because they were serviced by SEIU employees. Yeah, sure they were. Prove it. MGM and Harrah’s were busing their employees to the polls to ensure they voted for the candidate they perceived as the biggest ally to gambling to preserve their employees’ jobs. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t that free market capitalism at work? Business using resources to protect itself?

I’m not sure I could put my finger on the one thing most wrong with this book. The astonishingly poor grammar would send my editor into anaphylactic shock, the lack of substantiation for the salacious claims made about some very prominent Nevadans was offensive, and the blatant falsehoods make me wonder if She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named really believes the wacky things that come out of her head.

This book comes across as a colossal missed opportunity, for She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has a very compelling story to tell. Buried under all the blame shifting and finger pointing, she actually writes some pretty damned good ideas about how to get this country back on track. Going forward from here, I wish she would focus on those, and forget about the rest. It’s a pity she spent so much time looking backward. Hell, maybe it’s just a marketing problem. She should start by tweaking the title. My suggestion? Sour Grapes: One Woman’s Attempt to Convince the World it Wasn’t Her Fault.