Ted Stevens conceded defeat in his bid for re-election to the Senate today, strengthening the Democratic hand in the upper chamber but at least saving the GOP elders some embarrassment. This eliminates the prospect, at least immediately, that Gov. Sarah Palin, as speculated by some earlier this month, might appoint herself to the seat (if Stevens had won and then resigned to avoid expulsion), leave the statehouse in Juneau, and bring Todd and the young’uns down to teach Georgetowners about the virtues of moose chili.
But her other options, as the days go by until 2012, remain plentiful. The book business, according to a Yahoo News article, is thoroughly agog about the idea of a Palin-penned book. The article quotes several agents and editors as suggesting that the bidding might go up to $7 million and beyond – just a million less than Sen. Hillary Clinton received for her autobiography Living HIstory, which was merely about spending eight years as First Lady. ($7 million might seem like a lot, but Tina Fey just got $6 million for agreeing to write a book which, very likely, will partly be about impersonating Sarah Palin, so why shouldn’t the real McCoy cost a tad more?)
The article also discusses the prospects for the post-White House memoirs of President and Mrs. Bush. One book-biz veteran states that the President, given his present unpopularity, should wait for a while to seek a deal for his memoirs, on the assumption that publishers now would assume the book wouldn’t sell and would offer a smaller advance. It’s hard to say if that line of reasoning holds water. Jimmy Carter left office in 1981 with a popularity rating not much higher than Dubya’s and immediately managed to score a very sizable advance from Bantam for his memoirs Keeping Faith. But then again, he was a Democrat, as are most book editors. But the sources quoted in the article believe that Laura Bush’s autobiography would attract offers comparable to what Hillary received in 2001. That often is the case with First Ladies; Lady Bird Johnson’s A White House Diary sold considerably better than her husband’s The Vantage Point, and Nancy Reagan’s My Turn left her spouse’s An American Life completely in the dust at the cash registers.
The article doesn’t discuss how other figures in the Bush White House will fare on the literary scene. My guess is that Condoleeza Rice and Henry Paulson’s memoirs will be the ones most in demand.