Imagine, if you will, a president whose sexual peccadilloes get him into huge amounts of trouble. Sure, it sounds as if it could never happen, but bear with us. Now add to the mix a group of relentlessly greedy corporate CEOs. OK, OK. Also, admittedly, a bit hard to believe. But just wait. Now, imagine those CEOs use the president's libido against him. Completely implausible, of course. One might as well believe rich corporate megalomaniacs would use the president's sins to ruin the man and then, once they've disgraced their enemy, place their own puppet on the throne.
In any case, the blackmailing scenario is the plot of Guardian Angel, a new book by Jim Chriss. The former vice president of corporate marketing and of new business development for Levi Strauss came up with the book idea while similar events were entangling Washington.
"When the Secret Service agents were called to testify against Clinton, I was in a creative writing class with my daughter," he says. "The book is a thriller, but I like to think that it's about personal ethics versus loyalty to a cause."
Chriss' novel focuses on the disillusionment of a Secret Service agent who is forced to choose between aiding the president he has sworn to protect or abiding by his own personal code of ethics. Such ethical compromises are something Chriss saw often in the business world.
"I came into business from a different place than most senior executives I worked with," he says. "So many times, there was a disconnect between the top and what was happening in the rank and file, and I always felt a certain empathy [with the powerless], because I had been there. Whatever happens at the top seems to affect the little guy. So if you're an employee or a campaign worker or a fan in sports, you seem to be the one affected by the problems at the top."