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.
While talk of Romney’s comments about the “47 percent” may be ebbing a bit from cable news, Democrats have seized on the comments in House and Senate races, where the ripple effects might eclipse the initial splash. With the comments, Romney handed at least Democratic candidates a potent weapon to use against their Republican opponents in blue or bluish states and districts. Not only have at least a dozen Democrats called on their Republican opponents to repudiate Romney, but the remarks have allowed the campaigns to reheat old embarrassing comments by their opponents to use against them with new relevance and effectiveness.
Last night, the campaign of Democrat Pete Gallego — who is running against Rep. Francisco Canseco in a Texas district that represents one of the Democrats’ pickup opportunities — sent a video to reporters from January in which the freshman Republican echoed Romney in saying that half the country bears the “burden” while “half of the American people do not pay a cent in taxes.” (That’s not actually true. Even the 47 percent who don’t pay federal income taxes do pay plenty of other federal and state taxes.) “Like Mitt Romney, Congressman Canseco demonizes half of Americans,” Gallego spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said in a statement.
Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter dug up audio of Republican challenger Pete Coors joking that people on food stamps are “redneck[s].” In New York, the Romney comments allowed Democrat Mark Murphy, running against ethically questionable Rep. Michael Grimm of Staten Island, to do the same. “It’s worth recalling that, in a recent debate on NY1, Grimm said 47 percent of Americans do not pay any federal taxes, which is a vicious and divisive lie,” Murphy said in a statement.
In Massachusetts, Democratic Rep. John Tierney put out a statement pointing to an interview from late 2011 in which Republican challenger Richard Tisei said: “50 percent of the people in the country don’t pay any tax so we have a tax code that needs to be totally reformed.”
It’s happening in the Senate too. Linda McMahon, the Republican Senate nominee in Connecticut, was the first Republican candidate to distance herself from Romney’s comments. But Democrat Chris Murphy’s campaign quickly dug up a video of McMahon saying the same thing as Romney. “I’d like to see everyone pay their fare share — 47 percent of the people today don’t pay any taxes,” she says in the tape. (Again, it’s not true they don’t pay any taxes.) “No amount of campaign spin can change the fact that Linda McMahon supports Romney’s right-wing Republican agenda,” the Murphy campaign said in a statement.
Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who is locked in a tight reelection battle against Democrat Shelley Berkley, was also forced to distance himself from Romney’s comments. But the Berkley campaign fired back with a Heller quote from February in which he suggested that people who take unemployment insurance are “hobos.” “Senator Heller is going to have a tough time trying to distance himself from Mitt Romney’s insulting comments about struggling middle-class Americans after he referred to unemployed Nevadans as ‘hobos,’” Berkley said in a statement.
Sen. Scott Brown, the Massachusetts Republican who was the second Republican candidate to distance himself from Romney (he even suggested at one point yesterday that he no longer supports Romney), will also not be able to escape the Romney drag. He has key debate tonight against Democrat Elizabeth Warren, where Warren is expected to use the presidential candidate as a cudgel against Brown. Despite Brown’s sharp turn to the left in the past year, Brown and Romney share a top adviser in Eric Fehrnstrom and are longtime political allies in the Bay State.
“Republican Senate candidates in moderate-to-left-leaning states who need to keep the Democratic base pacified and still pull a sizable portion of independents in order to win could very well be hurt by this,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told the Hill.
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.More Alex Seitz-Wald.
"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.