Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Youngsters across the country are headed back to school this week, so it's a good time for a reminder of what it's like to be a kid. In that spirit, I present you with a book report on a book I haven't read.
Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate and NFL Hall-of-Famer Lynn Swann gives away his campaign book, "A New Direction," in exchange for a $10 contribution. Normally, I'd pay $10 not to have to read one of these ghost-written snoozers, but, thanks to the free PDF version and the miracle of the Find tool, I can tell you all about it without having read it:
0: Number of times Swann mentions President Bush (W. or H.W.) or President Clinton.
0: Uses of "quarterback" or "goal line" or "hail mary." He does write "touchdowns" once, to say that "the people are entitled to know more about me than the number I wore and how many touchdowns I scored." Without a doubt, the absence of football metaphors was my favorite part of the book (although Swann's Web site has a major section on the "two-minute drill").
0: Mentions by Swann, who is black, of "African American" or "black," other than to use the phrase "black eye" once. His wife, Charena, does refer to her husband's race in the foreword.
2: References to Ronald Reagan.
3: Mentions by Lynn of "Republican." In the book's preface, he describes himself as "an independent Republican." Later, he mentions "the Republican legislature" and refers to "Republican Jeb Bush." In contrast, in the foreword, Charena mentions her husband being a Republican five times. Charena, get back on message!
13: Mentions of "gambling." From Swann's campaign e-mails criticizing Governor Rendell for expanding gambling, I actually would have expected more.
21: Mentions of "pay raise," as in the legislature's controversial 2005 pay raise that was signed into law by Rendell, then later repealed. Republican legislators who voted to boost their own salaries can't be happy that he's harping on this topic, but it is a way for him to show independence from them.
Too many to count: References to property taxes. Let's just say that there's a whole chapter called, "Unfair Property Taxes, & A Plan for Reform." Clearly, Swann is staking his campaign on this issue.
Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.