Fox News commentator Perino, co-host of The Five, spreads sunshine in a book from which even Fox News haters could extract some useful nuggets.
Before the hackles rise, let it be known that we’re violating one of the no-no’s she advances in this combination of memoir and update of Miss Manners for our time: Instead of saying, “I hated everything about the Bush Administration, but I like you,” she counsels, we should say, “You were a good press secretary.” Yes: She’s that Dana Perino, still selling a Bush-Cheney agenda while lamenting the incivility and partisan divisions of Washington: “We’ve gone from being the confident leader of the free world to bickering about every living thing under the sun.” In her favor, she does allow that Republicans are sharper-tongued and meaner to each other than Democrats are to them—but, she adds brightly, “That’s okay—it makes us smarter and better at what we do.” Ever political, Perino would seem to want it both ways, though, to her credit, her relentless cheerfulness will make readers wish that politicians of every bent were just a little kinder to each other. And besides, she notes, the left indulges in name-calling, too. Probably, the left would do even more, and Harry Reid would be meaner than he is, had it a machine the like of Fox News, but that’s another matter for another day. For the time being, and again to her credit, the author allows that it’s a fair criticism to say that she’s part of the problem—“or if not me specifically,” she amends, “then cable news and talk radio.”
“A pet peeve of mine is with people who give backhanded compliments.” So: The best memoir and etiquette guide manqué we have by “the first and only Republican woman” to serve as White House press secretary. Now be nice.