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A Political Press Tart Bares All

by Lisa Baron

Pub Date: July 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8065-3415-2
Publisher: Citadel/Kensington

A memoir of one young woman’s experience working as Ralph Reed’s spokeswoman.

This should be a fascinating book. After all, it describes Baron’s time as a single young socially moderate Jew working for Reed, the former director of the Christian Coalition, during a time when he was still politically powerful. The author seems to be counting on her readers to experience a certain amount of excitement from the revelation that Reed’s spokeswoman during this period was a sexually active lush. However, given the long list of prominent conservatives who have been caught doing much worse, her activities seem almost quaint. Though Baron claims that she “bares all,” most of what she shares is mundane: friendships with co-workers, relationship with her family, eventual marriage, nights spent getting drunk, casual sexual encounters. There are moments of real interest here—her description of making the leap from envelope-stuffing volunteer to the press room (by stepping past a temporary partition and commandeering a plant stand as a desk) show a glimpse of a plucky and smart young woman—and she offers a unique insider perspective on Reed’s reaction to the Abramoff scandal. The most shocking claim Baron makes may be the veiled suggestion, toward the end of the book, that Reed did, in fact, have a hand in those rumors about John McCain’s daughter in the 2000 South Carolina primary. Unfortunately, it seems the author decided that the nitty-gritty of real political work was less interesting than her love of vodka and grapefruit juice.

A misguided focus on sex and booze overshadows the moments of insight and inspiration.