Winter 2009: Expect tell-all book about ex-Rep. Harris

The campaign manager for former GOP Rep. Katherine Harris’s failed 2006 Senate campaign has so far written 35,000 words of a juicy book about the lawmaker, who made headlines as Florida’s secretary of state during the 2000 presidential recount.

Jamie Miller, whose book plans first appeared on an Orlando Sentinel blog Monday morning, has no publisher yet, but he has been consulting with an agent who has confirmed that the book will be published as early as winter 2009. The proposed title is: Katherine Harris vs. Katherine Harris: The Rise and Fall of a Political Icon.

The former aide describes himself as a writer of history, not as a traitor to Harris. “People are always interested in historic figures,” said Miller, a political consultant and former executive director of the Florida GOP. “She was infamous or famous, however you want to put it.”

Not surprisingly, the budding author is not on speaking terms with Harris. “I don’t speak with her, no,” he said, adding, “I don’t have anything against her.”

But he has nothing for her, either.

“My life does not rise and fall with what Katherine Harris thinks,” Miller said, when asked how he thinks Harris will react to the book.

Miller’s most memorable Harris encounter was when she yelled at him for taking the campaign staff out to dinner. Harris’s father had died the previous week, so she wasn’t expected to attend. He wanted to thank the staff after the lieutenant governor endorsed her candidacy and then-Gov. Jeb Bush (R) spoke well of her.

But Harris, he said, wasn’t pleased. “She said what a horrible thing it was, that it was her staff, not mine. She said, ‘Jamie, you’re buying them dinner out of your own pocket. You’re not going to use my money to build your kingdom.’ ”

Another prize moment: Harris appeared in photographs on a horse at a rodeo. Miller said he advised her to not wear the tight blue shirt that accentuated her chest. “I was remarking on what I thought was inappropriate tightness,” he said. “So she showed up in a bright pink [tight shirt] instead of a blue one.”

A former Harris staffer remarked, “I like Jamie so I hope he has a large extended family so he sells more than three books.”

Harris did not respond to a message left on her cell phone by ITK press time.


First blind Supreme Court clerk

Though Isaac Lidsky will become the first blind Supreme Court clerk next month, he’s no stranger to the spotlight.

Lidsky, who will clerk for retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, is a former child actor who starred in diaper commercials and the short-lived sitcom “Saved By The Bell: The New Class.”

Lidsky’s character, Weasel, was modeled after the brainy Screech in the original “Saved By The Bell.”

“He was a bit of a social misfit, socially awkward guy, kind of the comic relief on the show,” said Lidsky, a Harvard Law grad. “You had to really dig deep and use mastery of the craft of thespian production to figure out what it was like to be dorky.”

Lidsky, 28, downplayed what the clerkship personally means for him. “I’m really not out to set any records, to be frank with you,” said Lidsky. The job will require him to visit lower federal courts that O’Connor still visits. O’Connor has also loaned her clerks to other justices, but Lidsky, loath to tick off his soon-to-be boss, wouldn’t comment on which justice he might work for. (He noted, however, that predecessors have been loaned to Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer.)

Lidsky, director of a foundation that seeks to raise funds for vision research, said that his clerkship may mean much for others who have lost their sight. Lidsky began to lose vision at 13 when he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited vision disorder that worsens over time.

To raise money for his foundation, Hope for Vision, he and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) will host a fundraiser June 18 in Washington called Hope on the Hill. (For more information, e-mail hill@hopeforvision.org.)


Who cares about a tornado? Rep. Rahall wants to finish his cigar

It’s hard to care about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) smoking ban and Greening of the Capitol initiative when, amidst the threat of a twister, you have most of a cigar to finish.

 This was Rep. Nick Rahall’s (D-W.Va.) primary thinking late last week as police instructed everyone in the Capitol to get away from the windows because of an approaching tornado. As the dark, ominous thunderclouds rolled in, Rahall stood just inside the balcony door to the Speaker’s Lobby, puffing away on his stogie. It was an odd smell for a place that has been smoke-free for the better part of this year.

At one point he stood outside and jumped at a startling crack of thunder. Still, he never once put out the cigar.

Aren’t you worried about the tornado, congressman?

“No, I’m nervous about finishing my cigar,” said Rahall, who went unscolded for his rule-breaking behavior.
 

Bill Press celebrates “Train Wreck” with a book party

Quorvis Communications will host a book party Wednesday night at The Monocle for well-known liberal pundit Bill Press’s new book, published by Wiley & Sons and titled Train Wreck: the End of the Conservative Revolution. Quorvis also introduces new staff: Ron Faucheaux, Sol Levine and Tom Reynolds.

The former “Crossfire” host’s message: Conservatives controlled all three branches of the government and screwed everything up. “Therefore, they should never be trusted with power again,” said Press, a contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog.

Ever?

“Ever,” he declared in an interview with ITK Tuesday morning. “Their permanent place is in the minority, which is an honorable place, preventing the majority from going too far. They are well-qualified for it, but nothing else.”

Press, who has previously written three anti-Republican books, including How the Republicans Stole Christmas, said that when he hosted CNN’s “Crossfire” he learned to respect the fiscal ideas of conservatives like Pat Buchanan and Bob Novak.

Press said he’s ready for Republicans to attack his book, and notes that The American Spectator has already “trashed” it.

“I hope they do,” he said. “I defy them. They may shoot the messenger, but they can’t deny the message.”


Students to ride in on bus gassed with vegetable oil

Students from Dartmouth College are rolling into town in style Tuesday in a converted school bus that runs on vegetable oil.

Fuel for the bus comes from restaurants (think excess french-fry grease and Chinese Kung Pao chicken leftovers), while a solar panel atop the bus powers the students’ computers.

Students plan to meet with lawmakers as part of their 40-city tour to spread environmental awareness.

The waste-eating bus will be parked behind the Russell Senate Office Building from noon to 5 p.m. and offers many interactive exhibits.