“Bob Barr Lessons in Liberty #1 Pay Your Ghostwriter” is how Jim Bovard headlines his post announcing that he’s suing the former Libertarian Party presidential candidate. There might be a bigger lesson here, though: If you don’t want people to know you didn’t write your own book, pay your ghostwriter.
“Bob Barr has once again made history. His is the only U.S. presidential campaign to ever be sued by its ghostwriter,” TAC contributing editor Bovard writes. Most candidates like to keep the fact that they don’t write their own quick-and-dirty campaign books at least nominally under wraps. Bovard contracted to write Barr’s Lessons in Liberty in June 2008, and the book was released that fall to coincide with the former Republican congressman’s Libertarian Party presidential campaign. Bovard was to be paid $77,000 for the book; he was only given $30,000. If the Barr campaign is having trouble coming up with the cash, maybe they should try selling copies of the book. There’s only one for sale on Amazon right now, and it’s going for $50.
We wonder how Bob Barr came to appreciate Jim Bovard’s prose. Could it have been when he reviewed Bovard’s The Bush Betrayal for TAC? He wrote approvingly of the book, “With the thoroughly researched and footnoted style that has become his forte, and with the heavy doses of relevant anecdotes and dry humor that have become his trademarks, the author has compiled a virtual almanac of American political abuse.” It was that year, 2004, that Barr left the Republican Party, said he regretted voting for the Patriot Act, and endorsed a Libertarian candidate. As he wrote, “Bovard lays out a convincing case.” We’re assuming, of course, that Barr actually wrote the review and didn’t have a ghostwriter like, say, Bovard write it for him. (That’s a joke, by the way.)