Saturday, August 15, 2015

the last book I ever read (The Speechwriter by Barton Swaim, excerpt nine)

from The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics by Barton Swaim:

The governor had two things in his favor. The first was that the legislature wasn’t in session. If it had been, impeachment would have come up quickly, and his enemies would have finished him off. The second was that the lieutenant governor was AndrĂ© Bauer. Bauer was the youngest lieutenant governor in state history, and he acted the part. He was known for showing up at bars and parties with a different twenty-year-old woman on his arm each time. He was young, midthirties, but he was one of those old-school politicians whose campaigns consist of a few badly made television ads and a million handshakes. He’d walk around, locking eyes with anyone within a ten-foot radius, saying, “How are you? Good to see you!” You had to admire his discipline. Like a lot of young up-and-coming politicians, though, he had lost the ability to seem authentic. He had vast energy but no sagacity. Once, he showed up at a homeless shelter to hand out blankets, only it was April and 70 degrees outside. Another time he showed up at a home for the elderly to hand out electric fans: it was late August.

More widely known were Bauer’s misadventures behind the wheel – one resulting in a reckless driving charge, the next in a warning for speeding, and still another resulting in no charge at all for exceeding a hundred in a seventy-mile-per-hour zone. And during his reelection campaign he had crashed a plane apparently by the simple expedient of not knowing how to fly it. Neither instance suggested Bauer to be the possessor of wisdom. At the time of the governor’s fall, I heard a great many people say they didn’t favor resignation for the sole reason that AndrĂ© Bauer would become governor.

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