Incorporating Washington Post Book World.It’s amazing that novels about Washington DC intrigue get written at all, because the politicians who engage in what the media thinks of as “Washington intrigue” take dullness to unholy extremes. New Obama administration roman à clef O: A Presidential Novel achieves the feat of making these people even duller in fiction than they are in real life, which makes “Anonymous” (Richard Cohen? An intern at Politico? Snooki?) [Mark Salter. Same thing.–ed.] a great talent, like those nameless aliens who built the pyramids. But enough talk about Egypt, because right now our business is history’s most boring novel.

The plot revolves around young political operative Cal Regan, a “Democratic Party insider” who is hired to oversee the 2012 reelection campaign of President O. O, a cerebral fellow who doesn’t think the world of America’s media or its fickle public, is running against a retired four-star general named Tom Morrison, who is more than once described as “square-jawed.”

But forget the plot, because the main appeal of a book like this is playing the old “and who is this character supposed to be?” game. For instance: there’s a character named Avi Samuelson. The Anonymous author (cleverly) wants you to mutter “Avi Samuelson, eh? Must be a Swedish hockey player!” when you come to a sentence like “It was Avi Samuelson.”

But no! Avi Samuelson is actually the president’s tough-talking, foul-mouthed chief of staff, which means he’s…well, we shouldn’t spoil it.

There are also glimpses of a popular, folksy-talking Republican lady known only as “the Barracuda.” And who do you think Bianca Stefani might be? Hint: she is the funny-accented and self-obsessed founder of a liberal news aggregation website called The Stefani Report.

Is any of this interesting? No? Well, O: A Presidential Novel has lots of naughty words (“fuck” is one) to spice things up, plus a postcoital scene that made your reviewer realize he’s become a prude, as he couldn’t read it without becoming deeply embarrassed.

…prompted by her scent lingering on the bed linens, he turned to reach for her. He found only the comforter drawn back, and the impression her body had left on the sheet and pillowcase. Exhausted, their limbs still entangled, waiting for their heart rates to slow, they had smiled at each other’s eyes and slipped into drunken, fitful sleep. Or at least he had? Did she sleep? Had she ever slept in his bed? He couldn’t be sure. She was never there in the morning.

“Does she even exist? He couldn’t be sure.”

Anyway, the “he” and ‘“she” here are our young hero Cal Regan and his love interest Maddy Cohan, an ambitious young political reporter for news website Body Politic. Cal Regan isn’t shy about letting Maddy knows how forlorn he is over this constant disappearing:

“Why the vanishing act all the time? Seeing someone else?”

“Do you feel used?” she teased. “I’m sorry. Next time I’ll leave a note. ‘Thanks for the good time, sailor.’”

“I’ll buy a toothbrush, make some coffee, scramble some eggs. We can stay in bed. Read the papers.”

“Aw, so sweet. Do you miss me when you wake up? Sorry, baby, I’m a busy girl. A busy, busy girl.”

This is how people talk, apparently.

Wonkette World o’ Books would like to go on record and state that we think O: A Presidential Novel was written by a male who writes for insipid cliché-machine Politico. All the signs are there. This novel was written by someone who…

  • knows some “behind the scenes” campaign stuff.
  • is impressed by the most excruciating and/or obvious banalities, which they recount in bland, earnest-but-passionless sub-Washington Post prose.
  • feels threatened by Arianna Huffington.
  • wants to bang/buy a toothbrush for a young female Politico reporter.

CASE CLOSED. Happy reading, America.

O: A Presidential Novel by Anonymous, Simon & Schuster, 368 pages, $15.27

Have you written a roman-a-clef about the Politics? Send an email to and tell all.

Donate with CCDonate with CC
  • slithytoves

    How is this book not about Oprah?

    • Sophist [APPLAUSE]

      Because Oprah isn't the President?


    • OneYieldRegular

      It even comes pre-printed with its own Oprah's Book Club logo, obviating the need for a sticker.

  • Limeylizzie

    Good grief, my Wonkette musings on my Nazi sex romps are sexier than that.

    • Tundra Grifter

      LL: You are a Formula One owner? Who knew?

  • OneYieldRegular

    This gives me some hope that Barack Obama will take a cue from Rigoberta Menchu and title his eventual memoir, "I, O."

    • user-of-owls

      That was fuckin' Salmon, man. Pure Salmon!

    • horsedreamer_1

      Which means, really, that Obie would have taken his affection for the Reagans to its final stage: embracing astrology.

      Ruby Wyner-Io, back from the dead, to write 44's memoir.

  • __kth__

    If you just took the full text of "The Story of O" (which was this soft-core S&M book/movie combo, from before the internet), and just did "Find and Replace" 'O' with 'Obama', you probably could sell about 50,000 of them to wingnut completionists.

    • Sophist [APPLAUSE]

      Damn you, I was going to make a "Story of O" joke. Now what am I going to do, talk about the substance of the post or something?

      • SmutBoffin

        Dammit, i wuz beaten to the punchline too!

  • According to Politico, the author is a former adviser to Walnuts, Mark Salter (the originator of Walnuts as Maverick… the guy from Top Gun.. meme)

    Of all folks, I can not see how he would have an axe to grind. Nope. No reason.

    • Terry

      And we can be sure all the inside info is absolutely positively true, too!

  • elviouslyqueer

    What? No mention of heaving bosoms or engorged, throbbing members? Fail, Anonymous, FAIL!

    • SheriffRoscoe

      Woo-hoo! We've all been fisted EQ!

    • jim89048

      No Fabio on the cover? Blasphemy!

    • BlueStateLibel

      I need to read "perfect orbs" somewhere in my porn/reading material for it to be good–I agree, fail.

  • LiveToServeYa

    I thought the cover illo was Snooki's' vulva-with-wings.

    • Shouldn't the book cover be 16" X 20"… if it were life like?

      • elviouslyqueer

        Now Manchu, you're not displaying vulvar transcendence.

        • Hey, give me a small amount of credit here as I avoided any references to hot dogs and hallways.

          • Sophist [APPLAUSE]

            What about kielbasas and foyers?

    • BaldarTFlagass

      "Wow, did you have an interior decorator in to hang those meat curtains?"

    • horsedreamer_1

      I thought it was her Nuva-Ring.

  • SmutBoffin

    I will have to read this story of O. It's probably just like the Pynchon novel V, only retarded.

    • Sophist [APPLAUSE]

      Or Sue Grafton's O is for Outlaw, only also retarded. And you know who did it from the start.

  • BaldarTFlagass

    So, is there a Wonkette döppelganger in this book? Who would it be???

    • SmutBoffin

      Wonkett. I also wouldn't be surprised if the book refers to blog comments by "SprayItWithCookies".

      • elviouslyqueer

        May you be repeatedly upfisted for this comment. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to Windex off my computer screen.

      • horsedreamer_1

        At least Newell/Steuf/Layne finally get to be masculine, again.

    • Oblios_Cap

      The toothbrush?

      • user-of-owls

        The lingering scent?

  • mumbly_joe

    Wow, this sounds like Primary Colors, but without the wit and charm. Which makes that guy who wrote it (McCain's campaign staffer? Sure.) basically Joe Klein, but less clever, interesting, or worthwhile as a human being.

    Well, at least this is good news for John McCain.

    • Jukesgrrl

      Less clever, interesting, or worthwhile than Joe Klein. Wow, what a slam!

      … what? Oh, sorry, Joe.

      • mumbly_joe

        Bah, my avatar's supposed to be channelling that other unfunny terrible Joe. But I was thinking more "Perrenial Ruiner of Everything" Joe, rather than "Inane Villager Hack" Joe. Totally different people. I'm sure they'd both agree on the need for moar centrism, though.

      • horsedreamer_1

        What's with this liberal-on-liberal fratricide? Joe Klein marched against the Vietnam War got a college deferment & dropped acid that one time — he must be a liberal.

  • SayItWithWookies

    This'll certainly dispel the vicious lie that conservatives are humorless, unimaginative and have no grasp of human nature.

    • Oblios_Cap

      Yeah. That's just a slander begun by those book-readin', ivory-tower inhabiting elitist liberal college professors. Real Conservatives know lots of jokes. Especially those revolving around gender or ethnic groups.

    • horsedreamer_1

      Maybe the dumb is contagious & the Mc Cain camp caught it from the Palins. Dirty Sexxy Politicks, O,… Cindy Mc Cain's various pseudonymous contributions to Penthouse Forum.

  • __kth__

    aww, some butthurt McCain fanboi modded everyone down a click. Fixed it for y'all, you're welcome.

    • CZL

      Meghan McCain reads Wonkette?

      • MissTaken

        Nah, she only knows about upfisting.

        • horsedreamer_1

          Anal, or vaginal? This makes a difference.

          • MissTaken

            Silly horsedreamer, she's a Republican so of course it's anal

  • Sophist [APPLAUSE]

    In the spirit of The Story of O I'm fisting everyone here, since some troll has apparently taken objection to our literary criticism.

    • __kth__

      given the sycophantic tone toward his "Sgt. Nick Penis" protagonist, it was probably O's author Mark Salter himself with the thumbs-downs.

    • Looks like that makes three of us.

      Upfisters for Jesus!

    • fuflans

      whoah a politico troll?

      • Jukesgrrl

        And it's not even Friday? I guess a snow day is about the same.

  • The Story of Troll, by anonymous Wonkette downfister.

    About as interesting as this book.

  • walstib

    If you take the first letter of each chapter it spells ITROBNTTORRLGFGHQION which is Tea Party for "Look at all teh purty colors."

  • SheriffRoscoe

    Did the author, by any chance, go into any further detail about the square-jawed character who had been in the military and probably had all kinds of ways of talking rough and telling me people what to do and when to do it and how to do it, etc.?

    • Jukesgrrl

      Why do the military characters always have to be square-jawed? Especially when we know it's the pointy-chinned women (hi Megs McCabe!) who are the really bossy ones.

  • __kth__

    Oh, and Mark Salter should probably kill himself today rather than suffer a slow and agonizing death from terminal lameness.

  • V572625694

    “I’ll buy a toothbrush, make some coffee, scramble some eggs. We can stay in bed," Cal ejaculated.


    And who isn't scared of Ariana Huffington? Anyone who isn't oughta be.

    • Sounds like CVS guy from a long ago Late Night Shots thread of great amusement.

    • I would like to know who is deluded enough to find her influential and worthy of portrayal in a work of fiction.

      • If you haven't any money, you've got nothing to fear from her.

      • horsedreamer_1

        As with David Brock, political gadfly Arianna Huffington converted from right-wing bomb-thrower to lefty bomb-thrower, meaning she's really a moderate, & is a voice of the American centre.


        Brock-Huffington 2012. Wouldn't be Arianna's first time bottoming a fag, either. & once elected, she can be America's sweetheart fag-hag.

  • LionelHutzEsq

    So, if the big game is deciding who each person in real life is, let it out, who was "O"?

    • OJ Simpson.

    • (shakes fist at overhead camera)

    • Sophist [APPLESAUCE]

      Sarah Palin, obviously. Because everything is about Empress Sarah IV of Hyperborea.

      • mumbly_joe

        She's hyperbored the shit out of me for a while, now.

    • user-of-owls

      Oscar Robertson.

      • ShaveTheWhales


    • Moonbat

      Roy Orbison.

    • bflrtsplk

      Orel Herscheiser

    • horsedreamer_1

      Oliver Platt.

    • WriteyWriterton

      Dennis O'Day? [reeaacchh..]

  • nicnack74

    I suspect the read will be like watching paint dry, but I think watching paint turn from a blood red to a dusty rose would be infinitely more fascinating.


    What? No reference to a snarky blog, Libette, filled with hopeless, glue-sniffing America-haters?

    Somehow I feel slighted.

    • So did I but then I sniffed some glue and forgot about it.

    • Jukesgrrl

      I put actual clothes on and walked upstairs to my mother's upper level in protest.

  • I'm confused. Who is "O" supposed to be?

    • jus_wonderin

      Wasn't there a Madame O??

    • Jukesgrrl

      We don't know for sure. He doesn't have a birth certificate.

      • horsedreamer_1

        WIN of the Month.

    • LionelHutzEsq

      Wasn't it Othello?

  • chascates

    Slate claims the author was Mark Salter, 'co-author' of John McCain's nonsense:
    Faith of My Fathers: A Family Memoir by John McCain and Mark Salter
    Character Is Destiny: Inspiring Stories Every Young Person Should Know and Every Adult Should Remember by John McCain and Mark Salter
    Hard Call: The Art of Great Decisions by John McCain and Mark Salter

    • SmutBoffin

      The Art of Great Decisions, huh? Which chapter describes the "great decision" to take on Palin as VP?

    • "Shame Of My Fathers: Never An Admiral" by John McCain and Mark Salter
      "Character Is Destiny: Piloting Skills As A Predictor Of Presidential Leadership" by John McCain and Mark Salter
      "Last Call: When All Else Fails, Marry A Beer Heiress" by John McCain and Mark Salter

  • edgydrifter

    I don't think this was written by a conservative, as I see no mention of bear rape fantasies.

    • SheriffRoscoe

      No, but a chick said "Thanks for the good time, sailor." That dialogue is like Bill O'Reilly times Lynne Cheney multiplied by Dick Morris times a million.

      • horsedreamer_1

        Dick Morris, also a partisan bomb-thrower moderate.

    • Where is that marvelous ape?

  • mavenmaven

    Most disconcerting in our end-of weimar merka is that the fantasy hero to bring down the darkies is a square jawed white military man. (actually, everything about this "novel" is disconcerting).

  • Buckminster

    It should be called "O: Author Contemplates Navel."

  • Tundra Grifter

    Now we know where Meghan McCanns has been all these many months…

  • MinAgain

    Pauline Reage called. And boy, is she pissed.

  • Why did Salter bother? Nothing could be more entertaining than the actual events of 2008, including the bizarre and idiotic implosion of his own candidate.

  • I'm waiting for the audiobook…then we'll know who wrote it.

    • Ruhe


  • jus_wonderin

    "Thanks for the good time, sailor.”

    Aw, that reminds me of my sweet Aunt Netty. Of course, she was only repeating what Uncle Arless would say in his sleep. Awwwww.

  • notreelyhelping

    It appears this "O" has huge ears. Alan Greenspan?

    • Jukesgrrl

      No, they didn't make the lobes hang low enough.

  • jim89048

    The last time I had a book published under the pseudonym "Anonymous" I had a hell of a time cashing the check. Stupid privacy laws.

    • vulpes82

      I do wonder about that sort of thing. How, exactly, do authors with pen names get paid?

    • horsedreamer_1

      Make the check out to 'Cash'.

  • Extemporanus

    That cover art is fucking dumb, O.

  • ttommyunger

    Does anybody really talk like that, in bed or anywhere? Act like that, in D C or anywhere? If so, I want to know so I can avoid it like the fucking plague. I'm more from the school of: "Would you like another Missouri Horse-Fucking before you go off to work?"

  • no_u

    Anonymous, huh? I would expect better writing from a crowd of puerile, 4chan-obsessed 15-year-olds.

  • MissTaken

    “I’ll buy a toothbrush, make some coffee, scramble some eggs. We can stay in bed. Read the papers.”

    Yeah, because nothing gives me the big O like a toothbrush. Oh baby.

    • horsedreamer_1

      Sitting on one of those vibing electric ones might change your mind.

    • prommie

      Hey, these hypersonic vibrating toothbrushes, wowza!

  • JustPixelz

    Why is it called "O" when it's obviously a roman a clef about First Dude Todd Palin and his BFF Shailey Tripp. I'd tag Sarah Palin as "Anonymous" except the words are organized into sentences and paragraphs.

  • tribbzthesquidz

    Too soon!!!

  • tribbzthesquidz

    Screenplay will be too soon also.

  • horsedreamer_1

    Obviously, the identity of the writer of this book is "hidden" in the title: Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. Distraught over Obama not stumping hard enough for CKS to get Hillary's old Senate seat — the "Kennedy Seat" of NY State politics — the surviving JFK offspring channelled her mother & raged, raged against the usurpation of "pretty Washington" (a/k/a Camelot) by that usurper from the servant class. Doyennes of inherited & married wealth, such as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, would never have that.

    Barbara Bush gives the book five stars.

  • RayLewisOfNerds

    Cal Regan? Really? What is this, a harlequin novel?

Previous articleMSNBC Considering Replacing Keith Olbermann With Sitcom Man
Next articleThe Light Snow That Absolutely Decimated D.C.: A War Album