Monday, January 09, 2006


Other, Mostly Different Words From Hog

Actually, since we're on the subject of failed book projects, I should mention that last year I put together a terrific book nonfiction proposal called No More Liebermans: Radical Ideas to Save the Democratic Party. (That actually freaked some literary agents out, so I offered this alternative title for the queasy: From the Ground Up: A Unified Field Theory for Rebuilding the Democratic Party.)

I will not regale you with the entire proposal here, but I will tell you why literary agents (through whom you must travel on the road to publication) missed an opportunity: I had lined up several high-profile bloggers to write chapters on areas of their expertise, thusly providing a marketing tool that would have reached many tens of thousands of readers a day. The list included Nathan Newman (labor), Amy Sullivan (now here--religion), Alan Durning (environment), Laura Rozen (foreign affairs), Kevin Drum (blogging and new media), Kari Chisholm (also here, on "the western Democrat"), and one other well-known national blogger who had some legal issues, so I won't mention him here. I was rejected not because the proposal sucked, but because I lacked the fame tentative agents felt was necessary to sell the book. They obviously didn't get blogs. (Several even mentioned how right I seemed, and yet...)

Because that book is a little more topical, I'll excerpt a little more of the first chapter, since you are going to be the only ones ever to read it. Enjoy (I hope):
In the weeks leading up to the election, giddy lefties of my acquaintance began planning. Locations were selected, guests invited, hors d’oeuvres prepared. In our little blue state bubble of Portland, Oregon, certainty was the order of the day.

I was susceptible to it, but also wary, recalling how my anticipation was rewarded two years earlier. Not only were Congressional Democrats surprised by a strong off-term showing by Republicans, but in Oregon, the governor’s race was very tight. In that contest, a shady hard-right conservative with thin qualifications launched attack ads against a Democrat with a stellar resume—Marine, Oregon Attorney General, and Oregon Supreme Court justice. When I went to bed late on the evening of the election, the margin was too close to call. It was no night for levity. (The Democrat eventually won.) And so as plans were being laid, I mentioned gingerly that nothing fouls a celebration like getting beat. “Pah,” the planners said.

The polls remained bad for Bush, and even reluctant liberals nurtured hope. After-work parties became gala celebrations as confidence grew. “Everyone knows that undecideds break for the challenger in the end. An incumbent needs a lead heading into an election—a tie spells doom. Look at what happened to Carter.”

These and other arguments seemed so sound that I was finally won over. Bush really was a poor candidate. The war, the crony favoritism, the lies, the constant suggestion of scandal, the growing list of dead soldiers. The polls remained in a dead heat, and I couldn’t help but think that meant hesitant Bushies would stay at home and wavering voters would put their check in Kerry’s box.

On the day of the election, I was further buoyed by early exit polls. I was jubilant. To celebrate, I bought a bottle of Scotch with which to toast John Kerry’s victory and made for a gala.
You know how that turned out--will it happen again? I won't have anything to say about it, sadly.


iggi said...

was your "other" blogger Jeff Gannon? i bet it was.

Jeff Alworth said...

I'll never tell!