SHORT LIST by Jim Lehrer


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The One-Eyed Mack, the naive, open-eyed Oklahoma Lt. Governor (Lost and Found, p. 70, etc.) who explains that he and his wife Jackie, the drive-thru supermarket queen, ate dinner at "Michelangelo's, a linen-tablecloth Italian restaurant named after an artist," recounts the feverish two clays in 1976 when fate and David Brinkley tossed him onto the short list for the US vice-presidency. Holed up in a New York convention hotel with Sooner Gov. Buffalo Joe Hayman, Mack thinks his biggest headaches will be overpriced room-service meals and Buffalo Joe's dogged memorization of his keynote speech. Wrong: Joe suffers a stroke en route to the convention floor; Mack delivers the speech himself--tacking on a plea for anyone knowing the location of the 70-years-mummified body of George E. Stone (who claimed to be the escaped John Wilkes Booth) to get in touch with the Oklahoma Historical Society--and the country goes wild. (Brinkley: "The country could do with a national candidate with a search for a mummy as a priority.") Though the presidential candidate and his snakelike handlers are delighted to find that Mack has no views on any national issues, his skeletons--his gift of five '57 Ford Fairlanes from tainted oilman Cal Blackwell, his teenaged sexual encounter with a hooker, his shady motives for moving to Oklahoma in the first place, and a climactic allegation of plagiarism--burst from their closets with lightning speed ("ONE-EYED MUMMY-LOVING VEEP SHORT-LISTER ADMITS BUS SEX, PARDON SCHEME, SLOBBERS, PICKS NOSE?" Mack imagines the headlines reporting his news conference). If this bright, affectionate tale peters out toward the end, well, let it go as a reminder that political scandal can still be great fun.
Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1992
ISBN: 0-399-13665-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1991


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