Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats. Read the whole essay.
There are two ways of thinking about Mitt Romney’s relationship with the Republican Party’s base and how it will affect the general election.
On the one hand, there is serious doubt among conservatives – particularly white evangelicals – that Romney truly shares their values and can be counted on to pursue them as president. They resisted supporting him through the primary season, even as his inevitability became apparent, and are poised to spend the fall campaign (and a Romney presidency, if it comes to pass) policing his actions and rhetoric for any hint of a sell-out. The need to placate these conservatives could severely complicate any effort by Romney to move toward the middle against Barack Obama.
On the other hand, there are plenty of conservatives who don’t seem to care about much besides beating Obama. They may not have been passionately pro-Romney before, but now that he’s the presumptive GOP nominee they’re not nearly as interested in scrutinizing him as they are in propping him up and scoring points against Obama.
Case in point: Sean Hannity, one of the most prominent and influential voices on the right. He’s also a cheerleader, one who treats virtually any Republican who hews to basic party orthodoxy as a friend and who mainly devotes his Fox News show to vilifying Democrats and the “liberal” media. Even on Fox, Hannity stands out for his lack of interest in asking tough questions to Republicans; not long ago, Bill O’Reilly called Hannity’s 9 P.M. program “a Republican show.”
This makes Hannity the best kind of friend Romney could have right now. And boy did it show last night, when Romney appeared on Hannity’s show. To call what transpired an “interview” is probably an abuse of that term. Really, it was just ten minutes of Hannity stoking his audience’s resentment of Democrats and using false or misleading statistics to set up familiar Romney talking points.
The show began with Hannity cueing up cueing up an anti-Obama Romney campaign video released earlier in the day. When it was over, Hannity introduced Romney, who appeared via satellite, and asked him to “explain why in your mind that ad is powerful.” After wiping the sweat from his brow, Romney launched into his standard attack on Obama’s failed leadership.
Here, word for word, are the questions that Hannity asked for the rest of the segment:
Again, even by Fox’s standards, Hannity is a joke when it comes to grilling Republicans. Other personalities at the channel probably would have asked Romney some real questions. But Hannity is among Fox’s highest-rated hosts, and he’s hardly the only conservative opinion-leader who’s dedicated to using his platform to help the Republican team wins in November. Their willingness to treat Romney the way Hannity did last night could give Romney some badly needed cover this summer and fall, as he looks for ways to appeal to swing voters.
Steve Kornacki writes about politics for Salon. Reach him by email at SKornacki@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @SteveKornackiMore Steve Kornacki.
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
"Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie
Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower. Read the whole essay.
"A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant
A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex. Read the whole essay.
"Black Silk" by Judith Ivory
A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say. Read the whole essay.
"For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale
A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society. Read the whole essay.
"Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner
A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ... Read the whole essay.
"Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen
Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight. Read the whole essay.
"The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal
A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency. Read the whole essay.
"Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time. Read the whole essay.
Alex Pareene surveys the burgeoning and bloated world of political news and opinion and explains the day's most essential story in Opening Shot, posted by 8:30 a.m. each weekday. Bookmark this page; follow @pareene on Twitter.