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What Lisa Baron Really Exposed

Former Republican press aid Lisa Baron has a mildly funny, deeply pathetic "tell all" memoir. Michelle Goldberg's sharp review zeroes in on Baron's personal ambition:

As a liberal, I've often wondered about the motivations of Republicans who work on behalf of a social agenda that they have no intention of abiding by in their own lives. Why would a hard-partying socially liberal woman devote herself to electing men like Reed, or like Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss? The answer, it turns out, is distressingly simple. Because she's kind of a terrible person.
Okay, that may be going too far. Baron is often quite funny, and would probably be amusing to go drinking with. Still, I doubt the most jaded critic of our political class could imagine a character quite so craven and cynical. Here, laid bare, is the soul of an unrepentant, avaricious hack, a person with lots of ambition but few ideals and even less self-awareness. If it were a satire, it would be brilliant. ...
Above all, Baron nurtures the rather tragic dream of becoming White House Press Secretary—there's a long reverie about the designer outfits she'd wear while speaking to the nation. She aspires—literally—to one day sit next to Thomas Friedman at a dinner party. Reed may have built his career pushing policies she opposes, but through him, she gains access to the dazzling world of cable TV bookers. "I was Ralph Reed's right-hand woman, and I loved that as well as traveling first class, Chris Matthews' and Larry King's producers were calling me, wanting to set up interviews with Ralph," she writes.

This is pathetic, but hardly atypical. A lot of political operatives are attracted not so much to any worldview as to the glamour, or perceived glamour, of political life. They want to be big shots, wear nice clothing, hobnob with famous people, and date rich, famous, and/or attractive people. Once they pick a team, they tend to stick with it. But for many -- not all, but many -- changing policy is purely secondary.