You can tell a lot about a politician from how they name their memoir. The title is a giveaway for whether the book is a look back at their career or a sales pitch for its next phase. Hillary Clinton’s Hard Choices managed to do both at once, promising a look at the decisions she made as Secretary of State while also keying up her one of her 2016 campaign themes. (Still, it was generic enough that it had already been used.)
Next year will bring a bumper crop of new political memoirs, including a few by some potential presidential contenders. Here’s what we can tell about those books from their titles alone.
“God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy,” Mike Huckabee
Back in the Reagan era, Republican consultants used to say that they could win campaigns with “gays, guns and God” — the so-called three G’s. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister and former governor, looks to be aiming to modify that culture warrior stance a little. Few political books are titled this bluntly.
“American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone,” Marco Rubio
This title is so cliched it’s surprising that it hasn’t been used by more politicians. It seems a safe bet that this book will couple the Florida senator’s compelling family story with a broad-brush set of conservative policy proposals aimed at helping middle-class voters.
“Taking a Stand: Moving Beyond Partisan Politics to Unite America,” Rand Paul
This book’s title and its subtitle are at war with each other. (Taking a stand usually means choosing sides, not bringing them together.) That seems appropriate, though, as the Kentucky senator tries to square his image as a political outsider with the goal of becoming the ultimate D.C. insider, the president of the United States.
“Bella’s Gift: How One Little Girl Transformed Our Family And Inspired A Nation,” Rick and Karen Santorum
The title indicates that this political memoir will be heavy on the memoir and light on the politics. The former Pennsylvania senator and his wife appear to be hoping that a personal look at their special-needs child will soften his political image as well as tell an uplifting story.
“You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G.,” Ben Carson
From the use of the second-person to the eight-point mnemonic in the subtitle, this is the only book by a potential presidential contender that looks like it could sit comfortably on the shelf of motivational business books for sale at a FedEx Office store.
“Untitled,” Ted Cruz
The fact that this memoir doesn’t have a title yet is intriguing. Will he go for something provocative, like many of the conservative stands he’s taken as Texas senator? Or will he put something more prim, foreshadowing a more restrained presidential campaign? And will he resist the urge to use a “Cruz/cruise” pun?
“Untitled,” Jeb Bush
The former Florida governor and son and brother of former presidents also hasn’t named his upcoming e-book, but that doesn’t mean much since he’s had much less time to think about it than Cruz. Whether he comes up with a title that will sell well in e-book marketplaces will be a test of how he’s adapted to technology.