Throwing the book at politicians

Within the last week, Minnesota legislators began receiving copies of the book, “48 Liberal Lies About American History,” written by a University of Dayton professor, and sent to them by the chairman of the Montgomery County (Ohio) Republican Party. They weren’t the only ones, however. Over 7,000 politicians across the country are getting the book.

“It’s been very fun, the responses that I’ve gotten,” according to Attorney Greg Gantt, the party chairman in the Ohio county. “The speaker of the Ohio House actually returned a bunch of the books and said that the suggested $25.95 cover price exceeded the amount the gift could be. But it only cost us $7. But they took the time and money to send them back,” he said. “That sparked some lively debate around town.” (Note: The gift ban in Minnesota is $50).

Twenty volunteers worked for two weeks in Gantt’s law firm to get the books out. The effort was bankrolled by Harlan Crow, the Texas real estate mogul and Republican benefactor and frequent contributor to Minnesota Republican pols.

“I just loved it, just from someone taking an event in history,” Gantt said. “Many times, as a party chairman, I’ll be a part of something and the story comes out and everybody (who knows) realizes that’s not exactly how it happened.”

Gantt says he hasn’t heard anything back from Minnesota politicians, yet. “I got a thank-you note from Sarah Palin yesterday,” he said.

Palin and Dayton, Ohio are well linked. It was the city chosen by Sen. John McCain to announce her as his vice presidential running mate. Gantt says Montgomery County is representative of Ohio as a whole. “We’ve got all the different socio-economic subsets in our county here,” Gantt said.

So I had to ask whether Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s rumored entrance into the presidential race has got people stirred up in Montgomery County? “Not really, yet,” he said. “I think everybody just needed a break from presidential politics.”