Heard on the Hill: Too Sexy for the Twin Cities?

Posted September 3, 2008 at 7:45pm

Her novel dishes about the seamy side of the political fundraising world — particularly the one inside the GOP’s money-making machine — so one wouldn’t expect former Republican fundraiser Nicole Sexton, who’s now with the ONE Campaign, to be the GOP’s favorite author.

[IMGCAP(1)]Still, those who felt exposed by the truth-as-fiction book “Party Favors” apparently took their literary tastes a bit further than

just taking the book off the list for the next book club gathering. According to his agent, Sexton canceled a book signing scheduled for Sept. 2 at a local Barnes & Noble bookstore because “top GOP officials” put pressure on her and on the nonpartisan ONE Campaign to nix the event.

A similar event at a Denver-area Borders bookstore during the Democratic National Convention went off without a hitch.

Sexton’s literary agent, Maura Teitelbaum, who’s with Abrams Artists Agency, says Republicans didn’t like the way their buck-raking operations were portrayed in the novel, which follows a young fundraiser who becomes disenchanted with the venality and loose ethics of her profession.

“It’s a shame that in this historic presidential election, when we should be focused on important issues like the economy and the war and global warming, that there are politicians that feel it’s important to squash a book signing,” she tells HOH. “It’s disheartening.”

GOPers might not have liked the book’s (fictional, of course) depiction of some fundraisers who skimmed huge amounts of money from their donors, or the way fundraisers REALLY view many donors — with a combination of pity and repulsion. An RNC spokesman said he knew nothing of the incident. But Teitelbaum says the book should open people’s eyes to dirty secrets on both sides of the aisle. Besides, she says, it’s just a fun read.

“I mean, it’s a pink-and-fuschia-covered book!” she tells us.

Plight of the Pretty. There’s been plenty of debate as to whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) is qualified to be vice president, but there’s been little doubt that she’s, well, kind of a hottie.

And while the pundits dig into Palin’s political experience and government record, HOH is here to analyze how the former beauty queen’s attractiveness will affect her campaign to be the nation’s No. 2 gal.

Fortunately, there’s an expert on such things.

Liza Figueroa Kravinsky is the maker of “Beauty: In the Eyes of the Beheld,” a documentary studying the effect of beauty on women. And although most wouldn’t be overly sympathetic to the plight of the really, really good-looking, being beautiful is a Catch-22 for Palin, Figueroa Kravinsky said.

“Her looks got her in the door, I think, because she won a pageant and won local office. I’m sure her looks really helped there,” Figueroa Kravinsky told HOH. “But at a certain level as a beautiful woman rising her in her career, it can hurt her.”

Palin already has been objectified, with significant news coverage focused on her looks, Figueroa Kravinsky said. It’s possible Palin will even dress to downplay her beauty.

“I think there’s a reason why she wears glasses,” Figueroa Kravinsky said. “And it’s a good thing that she’s not blond.”

Not So Fast. Before you leave the Twin Cities, local Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.) has a few suggestions for you. HOH caught up with Ramstad, whose district wraps around Minneapolis, on Wednesday at a lunch sponsored by the Creative Coalition, for some thoughts on what Minnesota sights we shouldn’t miss before we pack up and head back to Washington. Ramstad says visitors to his part of the world should be sure to check out the Mall of America — which happens to be in his district, natch, and drop some serious coin. “They should spend a lot of money, because our economy needs it,” he said.

Which practically makes that Nordstrom splurge a patriotic duty.

Also on the Congressman’s don’t-miss list: a pair of downtown Minneapolis landmarks, the Walker Arts Center and the Guthrie Theater.

Ramstad’s wife, Kathryn, chimed in with a suggestion of her own. She says visitors shouldn’t head back to Washington without visiting one of the nearby lakes (one of the 10,000 lakes referenced in the state’s nickname). “They’re great for a picnic.”

He Was for Palin Before Palin Was Cool. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) might have shocked the political world when he named Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, but he didn’t shock John Suter.

The 59-year-old Alaska resident had been personally lobbying McCain to pick Palin since April, spending his own cash to create bumper stickers reading, “Mothers Against Government Corruption: Gov. Sarah Palin for VP, John McCain for President.” He also sent letters to McCain’s Senate and his presidential campaign offices urging the Senator to pick Palin, Suter told HOH.

The improbable effort became so big that Palin herself got word of it, and sent a personally written note to Suter as a thank you, he said. Suter even chatted up the governor in July at a picnic in her hometown of Wasilla, where he told her he’d continue to send bumper stickers and letters around advocating for her nomination.

“I said to her, if you know Sen. John McCain’s home address where he gets mail, I’ll mail it there,” he recalled. “She said she didn’t know, that I just had to mail to the Senator’s office.”

Aside from being a Palin promoter, Suter is well-known in Alaska for having raced standard poodles in the annual Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, and he once ran for state Senate. He said he supports Palin for her willingness to take on government corruption and believes she’ll soon win over the American people.

“Right now, of course, she’s going through the slings and arrows,” he said. “But in time, it will work out.”

Prince of the Wild Frontier. For all the hubbub about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin — you know, the Alaska governor who skinned a moose with her bare hands, yada-yada — she’s got nothing on Dave Crockett. Yep, that would be the descendant of Davy Crockett, the legendary backwoodsman and Congressman. The younger Crockett is here to work with the National Wildlife Federation, just about the only environmental group with a major presence at the Republican National Convention.

Appropriately for the heir to a frontiersman, Crockett, an avid sportsman himself, is pushing bipartisan efforts to protect wildlife. He wants to win the support of hunters and anglers — many of whom are Republicans. Crockett and his allies are emphasizing the threat from climate change and the necessity for a clean-energy policy to preserve nature. Their work is bolstered by a poll the group released last week that found that 80 percent of sportsmen support clean-energy policies, while 75 percent believe that “America has a moral responsibility to confront global warming”.

More than half of the sportsmen polled consider themselves to be politically conservative, which gives the federation’s efforts at the RNC particular significance. Notably, the poll found that a significant portion still hasn’t committed to a presidential candidate.

Ruth Lonvick contributed to this report.

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