The Right Coast

November 19, 2005
The next Nobel Prize in Literature?
By Tom Smith

Barbara Boxer has written a novel, or at least her ghost writer has, and the Senator has allowed her name to appear on the cover.

I heard her interviewed on XM Public Radio regarding the book, or at least I listened to as much of it as I could stand. It's about, well, here, from Amazon

From Booklist
On the eve of the nomination of an ultraconservative Hispanic female Supreme Court justice, liberal Senator Ellen Fischer of California is given the perfect weapon: sensitive documents that could wreck the nomination. With less than 24 hours to take action, Ellen is bombarded with advice from her aides. But she doesn't trust the source of the damning information, Greg Hunter, darling of the right-wing conservatives, a former lover, and a longtime friend of hers and her deceased husband, Joshua. It was Joshua's accidental death on the eve of his election to the U.S. Senate that propelled Ellen's reluctant career as a politician. Hunter's offer provokes memories of how the three became friends: Joshua and Greg were roommates at the University of California at Berkeley, destined for sterling careers in the law and journalism. She was a budding social activist for children's causes. They became fast friends until Josh's proposal redefined their relationships. The ensuing years brought challenges to youthful idealism and the lure of power and wealth as the three made lives and careers for themselves in the San Francisco Bay Area. Across the years and across the country, Ellen and Greg eventually come to a showdown in the nation's capital. Boxer, a U.S. senator, brings an insider's knowledge of politics to this compelling novel of friendship, idealism, and corruption and the behind-the-scenes machinations that go into political deals. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

In other words, a real stinker. Like, too cheesey for even the most jaded, grizzled French peasant whose wife makes him eat his cheese outside. A four day old beached in high August dead seal of a book. You get the idea. Somebody needs to tow the poor thing out to open water before it gets any worse.

Now, it is true that my native state of Idaho produced a Senator Taylor in 1951, who used to sit on the steps of the Capitol and play cowboy songs on his guitar. After his utterly undistinguished career in the world's greatest deliberative body, he found his true calling in starting a high quality hair piece company called Taylor Toppers (google it if you don't believe me). So, perhaps I should not complain about insults to the dignity of the office. But, really:

Greg's naked body was long and elegant, his embrace enveloped her utterly, and they meshed with ease and grace. He smelled good too, faintly and astringently of aftershave. He was clinging to her as if he'd never let her go, it was all so easy and right.
Memo to the Senator. It would not be right, and it would not be easy. Then there is the horse sex scene.

A ton of finely tuned muscle, hide glistening, the crest of his mane risen in full sexual display, and his neck curved in an exaggerated arch that reminded Greg of a horse he'd seen in an old tapestry in some castle in Europe Jane had dragged him to. The stallion approached, nostrils flared, hooves lifting with delicate precision, the wranglers hanging on grimly. ... The stallion rubbed his nose against the mare's neck and nuzzled her withers. She promptly bit him on the shoulder and, when he attempted to mount, instantly became a plunging devil of teeth and hooves. ... Greg clutched the rails with white knuckles, wondering, as these two fierce animals were coerced into the majestic coupling by at least six people, how foals ever got born in the wild.

Well, of course we all know how foals get born in the wild. The US Department of Horse Reproduction is there to help out. They review which horses should mate with which, interview them; a complicated process, to be sure, but they know what they are doing.

True, the good Senator in all likelihood did not only not write this book, but probably has not even read it. At least I hope not. But even with regard to books one only allows one's name to appear on as author, it is a good rule of thumb, if one is a United States Senator, not to get all steamy about the sexiness of large animals. It is not a bright line rule. It is more of a standard. Thus, for example, if a US Senator of either sex has been on one of those whale encounter trips, and is tempted to write something like

As I straddled the massive, slick beast, I felt a tingling that began in my loins and spread, like the pulse of life itself, slowly, etc. etc.

then he or she should just stop writing, and immediately delete that and any similar passages. Call it decorum, call it "too much information," call it what you will, it just ain't rat.

I will just briefly mention the obvious point that the plot is an embarassingly dumb mash of liberal cliches. A conservative Hispanic woman in nominated to the Supreme Court! What to do! A knee jerks to support her; she is a minority woman, but she is a conservative! Oh dear, quell dilemma! The little dino brain in the head and the little dino brain at the other end of the spine are in conflict! But then, a devastating bit of dirt comes over the transome! Now what to do! And this edifying story, which one can only hope is not really a glimpse into the constitutional mind of Boxer at work, a mind that would seem to make Harriet Miers look like James Madison, comes out on the eve of a big and important confirmation fight Is this unbelievably tacky opportunism or just sheer, numbskulled stupidity? Or some uniquely Boxerorian combination of the two?

Didn't the Athenians select some high officials by lot? Maybe we should give that a try in California.