Sunday, April 23, 2006

Tom's Political Book Club

If Oprah can have one, why can't I? Four new and recommended books for Spring 2006:

Ed Rendell
Seven Highly Effective Choke Holds For Reporters.
Kirkis Review:
The personable Pennsylvania governor gives his unique take on media relations. “When words won’t do, it’s time to take action,” Rendell writes, offering useful tips on how and where to grab reporters (Rule No.1 is “Never Below the Belt!”). Rendell also reveals his secret method for fending off hostile questions: “I turn beet red, break out in a sweat, and start grunting. They think I’m having a heart attack and back off.” The governor also offers practical advice on what he calls “confrontation etiquette.” One pointer: Never tug on the necklace of a female reporter, unless you are willing to pay to have it re-strung. Another pointer: if you grab a reporter’s tape recorder, always return it once you are done removing the tape and tearing it apart with your teeth. A must-read guide for public officials. * * *

Lynn Swann
1,001 Things I Don’t Know About Government
Publishers Monthly: This is the first volume of what the former Steeler's star promises will be a multi-volume set. In the forward, he promises to “tell the truth as I see it,” and he delivers. Swann expresses doubts about “this separation of powers thing” and questions the “needless duplication” of having local, state and federal highway system. "If we got rid of one," he opines, "we'd save millions!" In another provocative chapter, he asks: “If the state Senate has President Pro Tempore, shouldn’t there also be a President Amateur Tempore?” Swann expresses delight over his discovery that Pennsylvania “apparently has its very own Constitution” and talks about his excitement at learning there are two elections each year – a primary and a general – instead of just one, as he had always believed. A must-read guide for public officials. * * 1/2

Bob Casey Jr.
Blank Slate: Be Whatever People Want You To Be.
The Bookish Standard: How do you go from being a pariah of the progressive wing of the Democratic party, shunned by liberals and hated by abortion rights activists, to being the darling of the progressive wing of the Democratic party, lauded as its savior and fawned over by the liberal elite? Apparently, by standing very still. That’s the formula advanced by State Treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Bob Casey in this practical “How To” book for would-be candidates. “Being nice and showing up on time helps, too,” Casey reveals. “Wearing a dark suit also is a plus.” Casey also recommends “knitting your brow, especially if you are blessed, as I am, with extra-strength eyebrows.” Casey disputes the adage that ninety percent of success is just showing up. “Sometimes,” he writes, “it can be as high as 95 or 98 percent.” A must-read guide for public officials. * * *

Rick Santorum
How To Alienate Friends and Infuriate People
Kirkis Review: The junior U.S. senator from Pennsylvania tackles interpersonal relations with the same brio he brings to political matters. Santorum offers a scathing critique of the classic How To Win Friends and Influence People, which he calls a “typical progressive-permissive-feel-good tract” written by someone whom, the senator suggests, was “certainly a liberal and, therefore, probably a pervert.” Our main goal in life, Santorum states, should not be to “make people feel good about being fat or ugly or stupid” but to tell them the truth. A sample of his advice: “Are you really doing a short person a favor by denying their shortness? Of course not! Better tell them that they are, de facto, midgets so they can learn to live with it.” The book contains many such gems. His chapter on “Handling Homos” is a classic. Santorum’s motto, taken from the Bible is: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” But, the senator adds, “If someone is too dense to see the truth, incarceration should be an option.” A must-read for public officials. * * * *

P.S. Thanks to my colleague, Inquirer political writer Tom Fitzgerald, for his help in researching this item.


Anonymous HospitalityGirl said...

A gem, a true gem, and the reason I turn to this page every day, several times a day!

11:45 AM  
Blogger Johnny_Cerone said...


Love your perspective. I follow you from "America's Poorest City", San Diego, whenever I can.

So, is Big Ed Rendell going to make a run for the Presidency?

10:52 PM  

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