A yet-to-be-released novel about President Obama and the 2012 election, O: A Presidential Novel, has been creating buzz in the political world for the past couple of weeks. Not necessarily because it's supposed to be a particularly amazing book, though, as demonstrated by a couple of early reviews from the Washington Post's Ron Charles ...
Like the people who end up running for president, this ... novel about Barack Obama's reelection campaign isn't as good as you hoped or as bad as you feared .... "O's" dramatization of a presidential race may shock an eighth grade student council member somewhere in Kansas City, but most of us will wish that the author had pursued his themes with a little more satiric bite.
... and Politico's Ben Smith:
I made it through "O: A Presidential Novel" last night, a quick read because the publisher vastly oversold its insight into presidential character and undersold the degree to which it's a fast, well-plotted bit of campaign fiction, an honorable genre, bogged down only at times by too much campaign detail.
The actual reason people have given this book so much attention is because the author is sexily, mysteriously anonymous. All that publisher Simon & Schuster has revealed about him/her is that he/she has "been in the room with Barack Obama and knows the political world intimately." Obama has been in many rooms with many people, so that hardly narrows it down. Of course, the whole point is not narrowing it down. The speculation about the author has given the book way more press than it would have otherwise received. Did former John McCain aide Mark Salter write it? Was it Robert Gibbs? Was it President Obama himself?!?!
Of course, anonymity-fueled speculation will get you only so far. That other famous anonymous campaign novel, Primary Colors, became a phenomenon not only because of the "who's the author" guessing game (it was eventually revealed to be Joe Klein), but also because the book was just damn good. In stark contrast to the reviews of O so far, the Times' Michael Lewis wrote of Primary Colors, "[M]aybe the oddest thing about it is how good it is. In spite of its sins it is far and away the best thing I have read about the 1992 campaign." Nevertheless, the no-author gimmick has provided O with some healthy publicity, proving once again that withholding information from people is a surefire way to pique their interest. That's why, in an effort to get more people to care about this blog post, we are not including our byline. Maybe Rovzar wrote it, or Pressler. Could have been Amira, or Tiku. Maybe we got someone outside of Daily Intel to write it. It could literally be anyone. One hint: The author has been in a room with Gilbert Gottfried. Let the rampant Internet speculation begin!