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1. Ted Cruz’s Scores $1.5M Book Advance

tedcruzTea Party senator Ted Cruz has reportedly pulled a $1.5 million advance from HarperCollins for his memoir. This is more than the $1.25 million advance that Sarah Palin earned for her memoir Going Rogue: An American Life.

In the book, the Texas senator will share his story from how he got into politics to his involvement in the 2013 government shutdown and his fight against Obamacare.

Here is more about the deal from The Washington Examiner:

The deal was negotiated by Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer of Washington-based literary and communications firm Javelin. They also cut recent deals for former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and CBS investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson.

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2. Mark Halperin & John Heilemann to Reunite for Game Change 2012

Journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann will once again be teaming up on a new nonfiction project. Following the success of their 2010 title, Game Change, the writing duo plans to pen Double Down: Game Change 2012.

This book will examine Presidential race between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Penguin Press president and editor-in-chief Ann Godoff negotiated the deal with The Wylie Agency’s Andrew Wylie. According to The New York Times, the publisher has planned a release date for fall 2013.

Here’s more from The Hollywood Reporter: “The book already has been optioned by HBO. The cable network aired Game Change, a Jay Roach-directed and Danny Strong-written movie about the 2008 election that in September won four Emmys, including one for Julianne Moore‘s performance as Sarah Palin. Roach and Strong are likely to return for the sequel.”

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3. Madonna To Star in Comic Book

Madonna has had a pretty colorful life, and pretty soon you’ll be able to see it in full color. Independent publisher Bluewater Productions has a new comic book coming out in August based on the star’s life.

Female Force: Madonna is the illustrated story of the star’s life as written by CW Cooke and drawn by Michael Johnson. The book tells the story of how a struggling dancer in New York became one of the biggest pop stars in history. The book also highlights Madonna’s influence on other artists. “Most pop stars owe everything to this woman. It’s amazing all of the things that she’s done in her lifetime, and I have a feeling that this is still only the beginning,” stated Cooke.

Bluewater’s Female Force series featured other prominent women, including: Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, Ellen Degeneres and Sarah Palin.

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4. Insulting America

It began with John McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. The choice of this incompetent, unqualified, inexperienced, and stupid person as a vice presidential candidate called McCain’s judgment into serious question. Had the old war hero turned senile? How could he have put such a person a heartbeat from the Presidency? The mere thought of Palin in the White House was frightening. But McCain’s choice was far more than a scare—it insulted America and unleashed a wave of violence and racism that continues.

Never forget the crosshairs map Palin posted on her Facebook page. She urged her Twitter followers, “Don’t retreat, reload.” Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ face was in one of the crosshairs. On January 8, 2011, Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the head outside a Tucson Safeway supermarket. Fortunately she survived and is making a remarkable recovery. But America is still coping with the incivility and insults initiated by Palin and taken up by the Tea Party and Congressional Republicans.

The insults continued after President Obama was elected and took office. With exhortations to “take back our country,” the Tea Party, overwhelmingly made up of whites, spread its unsubtle racist message. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that “take back our country” meant take it back from the black guy who’s President.

Four days before the President was inaugurated, the tone was set by radio talk show bloviator Rush Limbaugh. On January 16, 2010, Linbaugh said, “I hope Obama fails.”

During the President’s first term, Congressional Republicans took up Limbaugh’s mantra, deciding to do everything in their power to destroy the Obama presidency by holding up, blocking, weakening, misrepresenting, and voting against everything the President and Democrats wanted to accomplish.

Republican senator Mitch McConnell stated the Republicans’ position quite clearly: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” McConnell told Major Garrett in an interview published in the National Review in October 2010. A month later, in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation, he repeated his position: “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” In another time, such a call of opposition to a sitting President would have been considered treason. But over the past two years, Republicans have, like obedient little soldiers, followed McConnell’s marching orders, turning their backs on their country and the people who elected them and abandoning their responsibility to participate in government.

Despite repeated attempts by the President to work in a bipartisan fashion, Republicans refused, becoming the “Party of No.” No to health care for all Americans. No to the President’s job creation bill. No to restoring regulations of the banks whose fraudulent practices caused the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression. No to repealing the Bush tax cuts that added billions of dollars to the deficit. No to taxing millionaires and billionaires so they pay their fair share. Last summer, Republicans’ political brinksmanship with the debt ceiling resulted in the first downgrade in the national credit rating in U.S. history. In carrying out Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell’s dictum to bring about failure of the Obama administration, Republicans have made Congress dysfunctional and the economic recovery slower than it might have been had they spent more time working with the President instead of working against him. That President Obama has been able to accomplish so much despite Republicans’ intransigence is a tribute to his political skill, patience and intelligence.

Now we come to this election year and the line-up of potential Republican presidential candidates who are as insultingly unqualified as Sarah Palin. All celebr

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5. Writing tips for integrating work regarding the U.S. Constitution into modern prose

It’s not a commonly asked question – just how many times do independent and self-published authors cite the American Constitution in their work; there are no reliable figures or clear guidelines on how to quote from the Constitution to be both legally accurate and grammatically correct. In this new series of posts, Schiel & Denver Book Publishers and Christian Book Publishers will examine the issues and over writing tips and advice. We start with an overview of that oft-cited, Boston Tea Party literature.

The Tea Party of 1773 wasn’t just the dumping of tea in Boston Harbor. It was the signal to the world that man was sovereign, had natural rights protected by laws in common, and that those rights were foremost amongst all nations. The local, Boston issue of taxation without representation only heightened the inalienable, organic rights of man.The chronology leading to the Tea Party of 1773 did not just happen with a bunch of rogues deciding to rebel against the English oppressors in a spur of the moment. There were many abuses of power leading to the Boston Tea Party; however, it is most important to historically note that it was not the Americans who signaled the first rebellion. It was Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawa Indians. And Benjamin Franklin, in 1754 then published the “Join or Die” cartoon.

Although the rough picture of a snake separated into eight pieces marked with the initials of New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, was first used in an attempt to unite the colonies as early as 1754 as the Albany Plan of Union, it was premature and not supported by the Colonists until revived by Pontiac’s attack upon the British in May, l763, and made a standard by the Tea Party patriots two years later when the British passed the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act, thereby allowing British soldiers to be quartered throughout the colonies.

Alarmed, the Colonists prepared to unite as they struggled to peacefully remain a colony of English rule. It simply did not work. On May 10, l773, England passed the Stamp Act claiming sovereignty over America, and resulting in Patrick Henry’s famous resolutions: the fifth summed it all.

“Resolved, therefore, that the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and sole exclusive right and power to lay taxes upon the inhabitants of this Colony.”

It was now clear: every attempt to vest such power in any…persons…other than the General Assembly would destroy British as well as American freedom. No taxation without representation. America would have to assert its exclusive rights.Suddenly, with this speech, Patrick Henry became a spokesman for the common people, and the two parties: Patriots, or Whigs; and Loyalists – those who remained loyal to England – also called ‘Tories”, were born.

Henry’s words became the general outcry for the Tea Party and was the beginning of the revolutionary movement in the American colonies.

The Patriots were the backbone of the Republic. The Boston Tea Party formulated between 1773 and 1776. Our country is that Nation uniting all of the colonies into one nation: the United States of America embracing a Republican form of government wherein man, the citizen, was to become the ultimate law of the land possessing original ordained rights.The Boston Tea Party was known as the “Destruction of the Tea”; but when the Patriots, as Mohawk Indians marched into town, with axes and tomahawks on their shoulders, a fifer playing by their sides, within a few days, a Boston street ballad called: “The Rallying of the Tea Party” not only identified the two leaders—Warren and Revere—by name, but gave the Tea Party its origin and history in protecting common rights.

It is no wonder, then, that this is the hallmark of liberty and freedom for every man as foreseen and upheld by our forefathers when creating the ninth and tenth Amendments to our Constitution.

“The enumeration In the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The people, again, were the ultimate beneficiary of all rights and powers within a Republican form of government. They were protecting their voice and guarding the limited powers to be relinquished to a federal government after granting it federal authority to govern, and to become a nation subservient to the desires and wishes of the sovereign states, ultimately, represented by the people as: sovereign man.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, or prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The Tea Party of yore is very much alive today. All over America the strong desires and morals which our founding fathers clearly laid down in 1776 return for all mankind to re-assert and claim once more.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights; that amount these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”

The expression reverberated in the hearts and minds of all men then, and needs to be restored today. Its effect, as expressed by the concluding paragraph of the Declaration of Independence, is as much alive in meaning and intent for all mankind as when expressed in 1776. The Spirit of ’76, which was so near exhaustion at Valley Forge, was kindled by such resolve.

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these United colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is and ought to be totally dissolved, and that as Free and Independent States they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things, which Independent States may of right do — and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

Book publisher and Self Publishing Information provided by S&D book publishers and christian book publishers as a courtesy.


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6. Random House Contacts OR Books About Fifty Shades Cover Art

Random House has asked OR Books to change the cover of Fifty Shades of Louisa May, a work that parodies the best seller 50 Shades of Greyframed as an erotic diary written by Louisa May Alcott.

Random House contacted OR Books after OR launched a “Bonnets for Bondage” promotion, offering readers a free copy of Fifty Shades of Louisa May in exchange for their copy of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group executive director of publicity Paul Bogaards explained the circumstances to GalleyCat via email. He wrote: “Counsel did contact OR books about the cover art for their book Fifty Shades of Louisa May, suggesting they revise same. They also requested that OR books refrain from using cover art from Fifty Shades of Grey in their promotional materials. The issue was not about the parody but the use of our cover art to help promote it.”


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7. Phrase Frequency Counter for Writers

In a sprawling manuscript, it’s easy to forget how often you repeat your favorite phrases. Using the Phrase Frequency Counter online, you can actually track what phrases you abuse.

For instance, we used the online tool with a recent essay by author Sarah Palin. Turns out she used the phrase “big government” eight times in the 1,700-word piece of writing.

The website also offers a Word Frequency Counter to map your most overused words. In the same essay, Palin used the word “big” 18 times and the word “spending” 14 times. What words do you abuse in your writing?

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8. Fissures in the Conservative Movement

By Elvin Lim

In recent weeks, factions within the Republican party have begun jostling for power within the conservative movement. This is the bitter-sweet inevitability of being more than the party in opposition, but also a party recently co-opted into power. Whether the disagreement is between Rick Santorum versus Sarah Palin, or the Family Research Council versus GOProud , or Tea Party members of Congress and moderate Republicans debating the budget, or William Kristol and Glenn Beck on democracy in Egypt, these differences are only going to grow as we head toward Republican primary season.

There are, of course, differences in priorities within the Democratic fold as well. But the source of the president’s incumbency advantage derives from the fact that these differences will not be played out during the primary season. He will likely enjoy the benefit of not being challenged. So when Republican candidates are invariably jostling for advantage, the president can simply go about his business, looking presidential (and raising money.)

The reason why Ronald Reagan’s historical legacy has been revised upwards in recent times is because the children of his revolution know of no better way to hold themselves together. Or put another way, the celebration of Reagan only reveals the dearth of leadership in the conservative movement, which is still looking to the past because they cannot yet see anyone who can take them to victory in the future.

At this time in the 2008 cycle, Barack Obama had already declared his candidacy, alongside a formidable front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

Today, there is a long, lackluster, and uncommitted list of potential candidates on the Republican side (so much so that even Donald Trump managed to steal the show at this year’s CPAC Conference), but no major candidate has taken the plunge. Why? Because whoever takes the first plunge would become the universal target of all those not yet declared, and will suffer the irony that the first-mover advantage becomes the first-victim-of-infighting disadvantage. The more potential candidates predict infighting, the later they will declare, so that they can stay above the fray for as long as they can. No one candidate feels confident enough to pull the three major strands of conservatism – the libertarians, the social conservatives, and the neo-conservatives – together, and this is why Reagan is still the godfather revered.

Watch the lesser known candidates be among the first to declare as they would be able to secure some national media attention when the Reagan Library hosts the first Republican primary debate for the season on May 2, 2011. The better known candidates have more to lose and less to gain by declaring early.

In particular, s/he who waits until the situation in Egypt as well as the budget battle between the President and Congress unfolds would better be able to pivot toward the emerging priorities of the conservative movement. If Egypt transitions into a democracy friendly to US interests, then neo-conservatives of the Kristol variety would have won the argument

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9. The Yosemite Sam Book of Revised Quotations

By Mark Peters

Some people and characters are forever associated with a word. I dare you to say refudiate, malaise, nanu-nanu, despicable, winning, and meep without thinking of Sarah Palin, Jimmy Carter, Mork, Daffy Duck, Charlie Sheen, and the Road Runner (or Beaker).

Without a doubt, the poster boy for varmint is Yosemite Sam, the rootin’-tootin’, razzin’-frazzin’ cowboy who was so often outwitted by Bugs Bunny in immortal Looney Tunes cartoons. Sam started popping up in the 1940’s, but the OED reveals that varmint (or varment) goes back much further, referring to “An animal of a noxious or objectionable kind” since the mid-1500’s. It’s a variation of vermin, which I was surprised to learn originally applied to reptiles, not rodents, back in the 1400’s. Like beauty, obscenity, and fugliness, vermin-hood and varmint-itude have always been in the eye of the beholder.

Though Mr. Sam never seemed like the reading type—his intellectual rigor rivaled that of a box of rocks—I wonder what his personal book of quotations would look like. I suspect Yosemite would make predictable revisions to suit his personal mission, like so:

“Hell is other varmints.” –Jean-Paul Sartre

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the varmints.” –William Shakespeare

“Some of us are becoming the varmints we wanted to marry.” –Gloria Steinem

“To use a varmint to show that a varmint is not a varmint is not as good as using a non-varmint to show that a varmint is not a varmint.” –Chuang-Tzu

“My eleven-year-old daughter mopes around the house all day waiting for her varmints to grow.” –Bill Cosby

“Never have varmints, only grandvarmints.” –Gore Vidal

“When I need a little free advice about varmints, I turn to country music.” –George H.W. Bush

“For just one night, let not be co-workers. Let’s be co-varmints.” –Ron Burgundy

“Every woman adores a varmint.” –Sylvia Plath

“Imagine there’s no varmints. It isn’t hard to do.” –John Lennon

“We fought a war on varmints, and varmints won.” –Ronald Reagan

“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘varmint’ is.” –Bill Clinton

“I’m going to take my varmints to South Beach.” –LeBron James

“Omit needless varmints.” –William Strunk Jr.

Mark Peters is a lexicographer, humorist, rabid tweeter, language columnist for Visual Thesaurus, and the blogger behind The Rosa Parks of Blogs and The Pancake Proverbs.

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10. Former Sarah Palin Aide To Publish Memoir in May

Former Sarah Palin aide Frank Bailey has landed a deal with Simon & Schuster’s Howard Books. His memoir, Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin, will be released on May 24th.

Bailey became close to former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during her gubernatorial campaign; he remained in her inner circle  during John McCain‘s presidential race. He co-wrote the memoir along with author Ken Morris and Mudflats blogger Jeanne Devon. On her site, Devon revealed that the three writers spent two years on this project.

Bailey had this statement in the press release: “I write because I am convinced that Sarah’s priorities and personality are not only ill-suited to head a political party or occupy national office, but would lead to a disaster of, well, biblical proportions.”


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11. Bristol Palin To Star in Reality TV Series

Author and reality television star Bristol Palin will have her own show on the Bio Channel this fall–documenting her “move from Alaska to Los Angeles with her son, Tripp, to work at a small charity in need.”

Bristol (pictured, via), the daughter of political celebrity Sarah Palin, recently landed a book deal with HarperCollins imprint William Morrow for her memoir, Not Afraid of Life.  Bristol’s old boyfriend, Levi Johnston, has his own book scheduled for the fall.

Here’s more from the release: ” While on [Dancing with the Stars] Bristol became extremely close with fellow contestant, actor Kyle Massey. Since the show, Bristol, Kyle, and Kyle’s brother, actor Christopher Massey, have become best friends; so much so, that since Bristol and Tripp have to move to Los Angeles for her new job, she decides to move in with the Massey brothers who are also about to realize how much their lives are about to change.” (Via The Huffington Post)

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12. The Same Ole Party for now

By Elvin Lim

In 2010, the Tea Party movement was out and about. Newly christened and newly outraged, they created the enthusiasm gap that creates victories in an age of evenly split bipolarized politics.

This year, the rage has sizzled out to disgruntled listlessness. Even for those still against Obamacare, the memory of its passage has waned because the promised effects of its eventual implementation will not become evident for a few more years, and the debate about the national debt is either too real (in Medicare) or too esoteric (as in the debt ceiling) for easy populist manipulation.

If Republicans are still waiting for a political novice from a midwestern town to emerge out of nowhere and take the country by storm (i.e. their Obama), then they better wait for the next cycle, because their most talented candidates have already opted to do so. The smart candidates, if they can afford the time, are polishing their CVs for 2016, because they know that whoever it is, incumbent presidents are just hard to beat; plus, they happen to be facing an incumbent president who appears as adept at filling his war-chest as he is at delivering campaign sonnets.

Trump was a fun fantasy, as was Huckabee, and as remains Herman Cain. So many tantalizing options, some sparks of celebrity, and yet no magic, no candidate with the star quality — the je na sais quoi of our era of infotainment politics. It’s not that there is no talent on the Republican side, but that the talented have wisely chosen to withhold their talent for a better shot in the future.

And so all we have on the Republican side right now is the same old. The front-runner, as far as any is visible, is a stiff millionaire with Wall Street credentials with the slick hair to match his slick politics. He was for health-care in Massachusetts before he was against it in Washington. But he does raise a lot of money, so at least he satisfies the bare minimum requirement for what it takes to take on Obama. And that’s it. For all the Right’s talk that Obama is just about the worst president that has ever befallen American (so terrible he’s even been deemed, literally, unAmerican), there is a gaping lacuna in their search for an alternative.

In the era of the permanent campaign, when all elected politicians are already campaigning for their next appearance at the poll, now is rather late in the game that we are not already speculating about the most viable candidates. Granted, the speculations are often wrong, but the point is early speculation is a sign of enthusiasm that helps create a victorious wave for whoever the nominee is later on. The last time there was an incumbent president on the ballot, the Democrats were going gaga over Howard Dean at this time in that cycle. We are well past this point for the 2012 cycle, and yet the Republican Tea Partiers are only just getting over Donald Trump’s flirtatious clownery. Whereas by 2006, the lame-duck George Bush was already being eclipsed by the media’s extended foreplay with both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, most eyes remain on the same two characters, even if some are cast in contempt. There still isn’t a newsmaking, paparazzi-feeding figure on the Republican side who also looks credible enough to party apparatchiks. (Sarah Palin fails on the latter criterion), in part because no candidate on the Right has yet mastered the fine art of credible populism — as close as one can come to giving the je na sais quoi of presidential star quality a name in the era of plebiscitary and anti-intellectual politics. The existing range of candidates are sub-par because they are either too stiff or too silly.

All populists are, to some extent, sweet-talking thespians. It cannot be otherwise, because democracy makes the voter sovereign, and sovereigns love flattery. But

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13. Sarah Palin Audiobook Narration ‘Guides’ Feature Length Film

palinbook23.jpgConservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon will release a feature-length film about the political career of author and political celebrity Sarah Palin. Bannon purchased the audio rights to Palin’s Going Rogue so her “voice guides the film through the various stages of her career in Alaska.”

According to RealClearPolitics, the film will screen in Iowa next month, paving the way for Palin’s possible presidential bid. Palin had no editorial role in the project, but asked Bannon to help her after watching his financial meltdown documentary, Generation Zero.

Here’s more from the article: “[It] is a two-hour-long, sweeping epic, a rough cut of which Bannon screened privately for Sarah and Todd Palin last Wednesday in Arizona, where Alaska’s most famous couple has been rumored to have purchased a new home. When it premieres in Iowa next month, the film is poised to serve as a galvanizing prelude to Palin’s prospective presidential campaign.” (Via Gawker)

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14. Rick Perry 2012

By Elvin Lim

A lackluster field of Republican candidates for president will receive a significant jolt if Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, decides to throw his hat in the ring. There is significant buzz now to take this possibility seriously.

The big story about Newt Gingrich’s campaign implosion wasn’t that 16 of his staff members walked out; it is that that two of them, Dave Carney and Rob Johnson (who managed Perry’s last campaign when Perry beat Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison by over 20 percentage points in the Republican primary), are longtime aides to the Governor who are now free to offer their services to him. I doubt it is mere coincidence that only a week before, Rick Perry ended years of denial and was reported to have said about running in 2012, “I’m gonna to think about it.”

Perry would be a formidable candidate if he got in. For one, he has never lost an election in his life and if he comes in, it means he’s done the math. Governors from big states already start off with an advantage because they can carry their state’s electoral college votes with them, and Republican governors from Texas are especially advantaged because Texas is the biggest fundraising state for the party. An earlier favorite of the Tea Party, Perry would be able to articulate an authentic voice against big government and capture those votes originally reserved for the more colorful spokespersons of the movement whom we all know would not, in the end, actually run. (A Perry run would also conclusively kill all remaining speculation about whether or not there would be a Palin run, as they’re both courting the same crowd.) As a third term governor, Perry would be able to speak with more executive experience and more authority against “beltway” insiders than the other governors in the declared field, Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney. Texas’ job creation record in the last year has also been nothing short of astounding, making it home to 37 percent of the nation’s newly created jobs since the recession ended, and you can bet Perry would take the credit for it if he runs. Finally, Perry will benefit from his well-known rivalry with George Bush, while his fiscal fundamentalism and his secessionist sympathies would inoculate him from ties to the party establishment. For a Republican party yearning, after the Bush years, to return to original principles, Rick Perry is as authentic as it gets.

The Republican field is, to use Bill O’Reilly’s caption for Tim Pawlenty, “vanilla” enough that there is tremendous hunger for a candidate with as much stylistic oomph — never-mind the substance — that could match the party’s distaste for President Obama. (Witness the initial surge of interest in Herman Cain.) With no commanding frontrunner this late in the game, Perry has read the tea leaves and he is tempted. And the best way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.

Elvin Lim is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and author of The Anti-intellectual Presidency, which draws on interviews with more than 40 presidential speechwriters to investigate this relentless qualitative decline, over the

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15. Politics & Paine: Part 4

Welcome to the final installment the Politics & Paine series. Harvey Kaye and Elvin Lim are corresponding about Thomas Paine, American politics, and beyond. Read the first post here, and the second post here, and the third post here.

Kaye is the author of the award-winning book, Thomas Paine: Firebrand of Revolution, as well as Thomas Paine and the Promise of America. He is the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Social Change & Development and Director, Center for History and Social Change at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. Lim is author of The Anti-intellectual Presidency, Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University, and a regular contributor to OUPBlog.

Elvin -

You mention John Kerry’s aversion to invoking democracy. It’s odd that the same John Kerry who spoke before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee back in 1971 on behalf of the “Winter Soldiers” – an organization of antiwar Vietnam vets – could not bring himself to speak openly of Paine in the 2004 campaign. And even more pathetic that Kerry used Reagan’s favorite words from Paine, “We have it in our power…,” when he accepted the Democratic party’s nomination, and yet he did not refer to Paine. Which is to say that Kerry quoted Reagan quoting Paine! Is that plagiarism or flattery? Either way, it amazed me that conservative pundits never made anything of it.

But you ask if I think it’s possible to be both “populist” and “pro-government.” Here I turn to FDR , who did not hesitate to engage popular memory and imagination and mobilize popular energies in favor of recovery, reconstruction, and reform and who most certainly embraced and pursued government action. In a September 1934 Fireside Chat, Roosevelt said: “I believe with Abraham Lincoln, that ‘The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done but cannot do at all or cannot do so well for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.’” And for what it’s worth…FDR was the first president since Jefferson to quote Paine, cite his name, and praise his contributions in a major speech while serving as president (see the Fireside Chat of February 23, 1942 and for audio click here.)

Before we close, I’d just note that in a recent national essay contest sponsored by the Bill of Rights Institute and involving 50,000 high school stude

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16. The Tea Party movement and Elections 2010

By Elvin Lim

For Republicans to take over 10 seats to gain control of the Senate, 2010 Republican voters must not see themselves as voting the Bush/Rove Republicans (who were kicked out in 2006 and 2008) back in, but for a new type of Republican newly infused with Tea Party sentiments. The question then is, can the Tea Party be synergistically incorporated into the Republican electoral machine?

There is no doubt that the Tea Party movement has been a force to reckon with this primary season. Consider the fact that there are 37 seats in the Senate up for election this year, 18 of which are currently occupied by Republican incumbents. Of this 18, seven candidates backed by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (two of whom, Bennett  and Murkowski, are incumbent senators) have lost to Tea Party candidates in the Republican primaries:  Lee (UT), Miller (AL), Buck (CO), Angle (NV), Paul (KY), O’Donnell (DE), Rubio (FL). We have not seen the Tea Party movement and its influence at a higher point than where it is today.

This has been reflected in the rising fortunes of the movement’s star. Of the 36 primary races the most prominent Tea Party personality, Sarah Palin, has supported, 25 have been victorious. This King-maker is newly revisiting the idea of making herself King in 2012, when she re-opened opened the doors to speculation that she would run in 2012 when she visited Iowa last week. Right now, Palin’s future looks good. But this could be because we are just done with primary season, where the most conservative also tend to be the most likely to turn-out. Check back again after November, and things could be looking very different. What is clear is the Tea Party movement is ideologically committed to bottom-up, grassroots politics. As a result, it is even more in need of a unifying figure than previous third party movements (almost all of which coalesced around charismatic figures like Theodore Roosevelt or Strom Thurmond).

Whatever happens this November will dramatically affect the composition of the Republican party and its thrust in 2012. Here are the best and worst case scenarios for the Tea partiers.

Best case: If Christine O’Donnell wins in Delaware, Sarah Palin’s fortunes will be looking even brighter for 2012 (for she would have repudiated the prediction of the Cardinal of the Republican establishment, Karl Rove, who has publicly criticized O’Donnell’s candidacy.) If she doesn’t win, establishment candidates will do better. (Mitt Romney, ever the opportunist covering his bases, sent an endorsement and a maximum contribution of $5,000 to the O’Donnell campaign the day after her victory.)

Worst case: Lisa Murkowski, competing as a write-in candidate in Alaska could keep Joe Miller from winning. Miller only beat Murkowski by 1,600 votes in the primary, so doing so was by no means a conclusive test of electability come November. If Miller and Murkowski end up splitting the Republican vote and giving the election to Democrat Scott McAdams in Palin’s own backyward, civil war could erupt in the Republican party because the Tea Party movement would no longer be credited for bringing energy to the party, but dark matter.

What Palin and the Tea Party movement have done, however, is shake up the Republican party’s modus operandi of typically always having an heir-apparent waiting in line. The GOP is going to be much less orderly in the years to come because the mavericks have infiltrated, and are now reconstituting its soul. What is undeniable is that 4 million more Republicans turned out than Democrats did in this year’s primary contests (and this is the highest Republican turn-out since the 70s), so the complexion of these primary results will  permeate at least some of the general election results.

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17. Sarah Palin Spoofed in Jean Carper Book Trailer

Author Jean Carper imitated former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in a book trailer for her latest title, 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Age-Related Memory Loss. In the trailer embedded above, Carper donned Palin’s hairdo and red jacket, quipping:  “Gosh darn it, this is the best book on memory loss you are ever going to read.”

Carper has authored more than 20 books; she is currently in her 70s and genetically disposed to Alzheimer’s. Her book offers common sense advice like not smoking and daily multivitamin intake. However, she also makes lesser-known recommendations such as consumption of an apple juice-vinegar mixture and meditation.

Palin recently told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren: “If nobody else wanted to step up, Greta, I would offer myself up in the name of service to the public.” Palin will be releasing her second book, American By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag on November 23rd. HarperCollins plans to initially print 1 million hardcover copies.

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18. Former John McCain Campaign Adviser Releases Political Novel

Former John McCain campaign adviser Nicole Wallace used the frustrations resulting from her work on the McCain-Palin campaign to write her debut novel, Eighteen Acres. The embedded video from Simon & Schuster’s Atria imprint shows a scene from the book launch party at SoHo House.

Wallace began writing her novel immediately after Barack Obama‘s win ended the McCain and Sarah Palin‘s campaign. The novel explores the ups and downs faced by the first female president and her two female staff members during a re-election battle.

Here’ s more from Publisher’s Weekly: “The book is ‘partly an emotional response to the election’ admitted Wallace, whose contentious relationship with Sarah Palin was spotlighted in Going Rogue. Yet it is not a retaliation (as fun as that sounds). Wallace instead toyed with the genre of political fiction as a medium for exploring the complexity or ‘indignities’ of woman’s role in politics. Drawing mainly from her six years as a senior aid with the George W. Bush administration, she offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the White House from an ambitious female’s perspective.”

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19. The Oxford Comment: Quickcast – REFUDIATE!

If you haven’t heard – well, how haven’t you heard? “Refudiate” is the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2010 Word of the Year. (And no, that doesn’t mean “refudiate” has been added to the NOAD or any other Oxford dictionary.) In this quickcast, Michelle and Lauren talk with NOAD Senior Lexicographer Christine Lindberg, and take to the streets to see what people think of this special word – or shall we say word blend?

Subscribe and review this podcast on iTunes!

Music by The Ben Daniels Band.

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20. Article 2 of the Constitution is a Paradoxical Thing

By Elvin Lim

These are deliquescent days in Washington. As the Democratic party works out a deal to keep both Steny Hoyer and James Clyburn in the leadership hierarchy, and the Republican party takes stock of what it means to welcome 35 new Tea Party members into its caucus, the President must be wondering, what now?

Pat Caddell and Douglas Schoen are advising Obama to not seek re-election. Others are simply predicting a one-term presidency whether or not Obama likes it.

But these grim prognostications are pre-mature, if only because most presidents have been able to marshal their incumbent benefits to win a second term in office. When David Axelrod exits the White House in January and passes the baton over to David Plouffe, the White House will go into full campaign mode. These guys do not like losing, and they have one thing going for them: the best self-promoter the business has ever seen.

Team Obama will have a few other things going for them. First, they no longer have to set the agenda. Whereas for the last two years, the White House has acted and the Republican party has reacted, a role reversal is about to happen. And one of the rules of American politics is that s/he who sets the agenda gets the blame when the constitution’s multiple veto points invariably alters or derails the agenda. Second, now that the House will be controlled by the Republicans, Obama will be able to do what presidents do best: assign blame to the inefficient First Branch and take things into his own hands. Presidential discretion is a very powerful thing and it is especially powerful when the president’s hand appears to be forced by an uncooperative House. Third, as Nancy Pelosi is likely to remain the leader of the Democrats in the House, she can continue to be the lightning rod for conservative critics (and proof to the liberal base that the Democratic party made a good-faith effort to be true to its progressive principles), while the president will be freed to perform the role of bipartisan leader so that he can try to win back the independent voters who have lost their love for him.

There is no reliable litmus test for Obama’s re-electability until a credible Republican alternative is placed before the electorate. No such person exists right now – not even Sarah Palin, who seems newly interested in the job, but who is likely only to remain a fundraiser and kingmaker, but not the successful candidate, because she is even more polarizing than Hillary Clinton was in 2008. In the months ahead, the Republican party will take up the challenge of reconciling itself with the principles of Tea party libertarianism, and the party’s success in 2012 will turn in large part on its ability to complete this reconciliation before the primary season of 2012 begins.

All told, the American presidency is strongest when it is weakest and weakest when it is strongest. Think of Bill Clinton when he was being impeached, or George Bush when he declared “Mission Accomplished” in Iraq. Obama was weakest when he stood triumphantly before Corinthian pillars made of styrofoam and now that he has been humbled, no longer over-estimated, and indeed condemned to a single term, he is more likely than not to rise phoenix-like. Such is the nature of prerogative.

As historians begin to examine President Bush’s newly released memoir, Obama should take heed that if history has not yet been written for his predecessor, then it has certainly not been written for him.

Elvin Lim is Assistant Professor of Government at Wesleyan University and author of

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21. OUP USA 2010 Word of the Year: Refudiate

Editor’s note: I love being right. I really, really love it. In July, I guessed that “refudiate” would be named Word of the Year, and TA-DAH! I was right. What Paul the Octopus was to the FIFA World Cup, I am to WOTY (may he rest in peace). But that’s enough about me because what’s really important is that…


has been named the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2010 Word of the Year!

refudiate verb used loosely to mean “reject”: she called on them to refudiate the proposal to build a mosque.
[origin — blend of refute and repudiate]

Now, does that mean that “refudiate” has been added to the New Oxford American Dictionary? No it does not. Currently, there are no definite plans to include “refudiate” in the NOAD, the OED, or any of our other dictionaries. If you are interested in the most recent additions to the NOAD, you can read about them here. We have many dictionary programs, and each team of lexicographers carefully tracks the evolution of the English language. If a word becomes common enough (as did last year’s WOTY, unfriend), they will consider adding it to one (or several) of the dictionaries we publish. As for “refudiate,” well, I’m not yet sure that it will be includiated.

Refudiate: A Historical Perspective

An unquestionable buzzword in 2010, the word refudiate instantly evokes the name of Sarah Palin, who tweeted her way into a flurry of media activity when she used the word in certain statements posted on Twitter. Critics pounced on Palin, lampooning what they saw as nonsensical vocabulary and speculating on whether she meant “refute” or “repudiate.”

From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used “refudiate,” we have concluded that neither “refute” nor “repudiate” seems consistently precise, and that “refudiate” more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of “reject.”

Although Palin is likely to be forever branded with the coinage of “refudiate,” she is by no means the first person to speak or write it—just as Warren G. Harding was not the first to use the word normalcy when he ran his 1920 presidential campaign under the slogan “A return to normalcy.” But Harding was a political celebrity, as Palin is now, and his critics spared no ridicule for his supposedly ignorant mangling of the correct word “normality.”

The Short List

In alphabetical order, here are our top ten finalists for the 2010 Word of the Year selection:

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22. George W. Bush and the Redemptive Dream

By Dan P. McAdams

In the spring of 2003, President George W. Bush launched an American military invasion of Iraq.  From a psychological standpoint, why did he do it? Bush’s momentous decision resulted from a perfect psychological storm, wherein world events came to activate a set of dispositional traits and family goals that had long occupied key positions in Bush’s personality. At the center of the storm was a singularly redemptive story that, around the age of 40, George W. Bush began to construct to make sense of his life.  After years of drinking and waywardness, Bush fashioned a story in his mind about how, though self-discipline and God’s guidance, he had triumphed over chaos, enabling him to recover the freedom, control, and goodness of his youth.  In the days after 9/11, President Bush projected this very same narrative of redemption onto America and the world.  Just as he had, with God’s help, overcome the internal demons that once threatened to destroy his own life, so too would America, God’s chosen nation, overcome the chaos and evil of Saddam and thereby restore freedom and the good life to the Iraqis.  Because the redemptive story had played so well in his own life, the president knew in his heart that the mission would be accomplished and that there ultimately had to be a happy ending.

I have been thinking a lot about George W. Bush’s redemptive story these days as I follow the U. S. midterm elections.  The big political story for the past few months, of course, has been the Republican surge and the rise of the Tea Party.  One of the strategies of embattled Democratic candidates has been to frame the election as a contest between them and Bush.  After all, the Democrats decisively beat the Bush legacy in 2008, and they would love to fight that fight again.  But I wonder if they have picked the right enemy.

Like such Tea Party darlings as Sarah Palin and Rand Paul, George W. Bush was a died-in-the-wool conservative.  Throughout his political career, he pushed for lower taxes, less government regulation, strong defense, and other favorites of the political right.  Like Glenn Beck and many other social conservatives, furthermore, he was emotionally in tune with an evangelical Christian perspective on human life and social relationships.  At a Tea Party rally in Anchorage, Alaska, Mr. Beck recently confessed:  “If it weren’t for my wife and my faith, I don’t know if I would be alive today.”  As governor and president, George W. Bush often expressed the very same sentiment.

But Bush was really different, too.  In tone and sentiment, George W. Bush was less like the angry Republicans who are fighting to take over the House and Senate on November 2 and more like, well, President Obama.  Both Bush and Obama embrace an unabashedly redemptive narrative about life and about America.  Bush’s life story channels the well-known American story of second chances and personal recovery.  Obama tells the quintessentially American tale of upward mobility and liberation, the black boy who grew up to defy all the odds and become president.  In both narratives, the protagonist overcomes early suffering to reach the Promised Land in the end.  Both men project the theme of redemption onto America, though in different ways.  Bush wanted to restore small-town American goodness and spread democracy to the Iraqis.  Obama wants to catalyze human potential and improve Americans’ lives through progressive government.  Both appeal to the discourse of hope.

And what about the Tea Party?  It is difficult to generalize, but most conservative candidates who have won the backing of Tea Party activists in this election season do not seem to be telling a redemptive narrative about American life.  Their political rhetoric instead has a harder edge.  Let’s take the country back from the evil forces who ar

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23. ” :) when you say that, pardner” – the tweet police are watching

By Dennis Baron

Last Spring the New York Times reported that more and more grammar vigilantes are showing up on Twitter to police the typos and grammar mistakes that they find on users’ tweets. According to the Times, the tweet police “see themselves as the guardians of an emerging behavior code: Twetiquette,” and some of them go so far as to write algorithms that seek out tweets gone wrong (John Metcalfe, “The Self-Appointed Twitter Scolds,” April 28, 2010).

Twitter users post “tweets,” short messages no longer than 140 characters (spaces included). That length restriction can lead to beautifully-crafted, allusive, high-compression tweets where every word counts, a sort of digital haiku. But most tweets are not art. Instead, most users use Twitter to tell friends what they’re up to, send notes, and make offhand comments, so they squeeze as much text as possible into that limited space by resorting to abbreviations, acronyms, symbols, and numbers for letters, the kind of shorthand also found, and often criticized, in texting on a mobile phone.

But what the tweet police are looking for are more traditional usage gaffes, like problems with subject-verb agreement, misspellings, or incorrect use of apostrophes. And they don’t like mistakes in word choice, as when Sarah Palin tweeted refudiate, not repudiate, in her objection to the Islamic Cultural Center being built near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan.

Palin is one of the celebrities on Twitter whose posts get a lot of scrutiny from the grammar watchers. But while refudiate was perceived to be an error, it’s not exactly a new word. According to Ammon Shea, it first appeared in 1891, and Ben Zimmer finds it surfacing again in 1925.

The immediate clamor that followed Palin’s use of refudiate in her July 18, 2010, tweet led Palin or someone on her staff to replace the original tweet with the edited version below. However, switching refudiate to refute didn’t placate the language purists, who insisted that she should have said repudiate.

In a tweet later that same day (below), Palin decided to recast her mistake as an experiment in creativity, arguing that word coinage is common in English and suggesting that her use of refudiate was somehow Shakespearean.

As if to prove her point, the editors of the 0 Comments on ” :) when you say that, pardner” – the tweet police are watching as of 1/1/1900

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24. Sarah Palin Stirs Controversy with Blood Libel Reference

In a video message (embedded above), author and politician Sarah Palin compared negative media attention to “blood libel.” The phrase refers to historical myths that Jews kidnap and murder Christian children.

Here’s the controversial passage: “If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

The phrase “blood libel” exploded on Twitter as people scrambled to decode the speech. Andrew Breitbart circulated the phrase on Twitter: “And to the gutless GOP establishment who watches in silence the blood libel against @SarahPalinUSA. We will remember.”  Below, we’ve included digital links to three scholarly books about the terrible legacy of blood libel in history.


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25. A GOP Front-runner Emerges

By Elvin Lim

The Republican party has traditionally been a more ordered, hierarchical organization, one in which the norm of waiting for one’s turn has been entrenched through the decades. When there is no consensus on the available candidates in the field, the runner-up to the last nomination contest becomes, by default, the front-runner. Today, Palin, Pawlenty, Thune, Huckabee, Gingerich, and Santorum are all names being mentioned. Yet no name stands out the way Mitt Romney’s does.

This weekend, Romney topped a straw poll of New Hampshire Republican Party Committee members for the party’s nomination. He was the runner-up in 2008’s straw poll in New Hampshire, and won 32 percent of the actual primary vote, just behind John McCain’s 37 percent. Now, the poll may not tell us much; New Hampshire is a Romney stronghold because he is from neighboring Massachusetts and owns a home in the state. But history and the Republican primary calendar appear to be moving in Romney’s favor.

This is because by the time the South begins to vote to give victories to Romney’s rivals, he would have had three chances to set up a delegate-grabbing momentum. Romney is the front-runner to beat in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary on or around February 14, 2012. On February 18, he is likely to win again in the Nevada caucuses because of his Mormon base there. On February 28, Michigan, where Romney was born and remains a favorite son, holds its primary. As we know of the law of momentum in primary contests, the early bird catches the nomination. Fortune’s arrows are certainly unpredictable, but she has bequeathed to Romney three shots toward the Republican nomination in the first two weeks of the primary cycle in 2012.

The Tea Party movement is inadvertently helping Romney out too. While everyone else is actively courting the Tea Party, Romney isn’t (and some say, he couldn’t even if he tried, because of his hand in healthcare reform as Governor of Massachusetts). This sets Romney apart to win the more moderate Republicans voting in states like New Hampshire, which happens to have a semi-open primary, which means Independents who are not registered with either party can vote in the Republican primary. Romney’s less than cozy relationship with the Tea Party may actually help him because while Palin and Huckabee et al split the Tea Party vote, Romney would be on his way to a delegate lead.

Republican donors appear to be concurring. Almost every economic index other than unemployment is likely to favor an Obama re-election in 2012, so the Republican party could do well to put someone with Romney’s credentials as a former businessman and CEO at the top of their ticket. With 9/11 a decade behind us (the only reason why Rudy Giuliani was the front-runner at this time in the 2008 cycle), American politics will likely regress to the mean so that 2012, like 2010, will be about the economy. Accordingly, Romney’s PAC (Free and Strong America) has raised more money than that of any other contender, including Sarah Palin, whose PAC raised $5.4 million in 2010, compared to Romney’s $8.8 million. Palin gets the crowds out, but Romney gets their checkbooks out. Big difference; and we aren’t even yet talking about Romney’s personal wealth.

Obama’s approval numbers have gone up for now. But one thing he has always been weak on – and watch him try to address this weakness on Tuesday’s State of the Union address – is that likeable as he appears to be, he is al

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