Best Ego - 2004
You'd think being landslid out of office might end the average would-be author's hope of writing a how-to on becoming a political success. But that didn't stop Tim Smith, who was routed by Jim Naugle in last year's Fort Lauderdale mayoral race. The former city commissioner didn't let the sudden and bitter end of his political career stop him from coming out with a vanity book called Politics 101, subtitled The True Story of the Life of a City Commissioner. Now if that tease doesn't prompt lines at the local Barnes and Noble, what will? "Required Reading for the Inspired Citizen," boasts the cover. What the hell does that mean? To give you an idea of the depth of the 176-page book, consider that it is virtually all in italics and contains more exclamation points per page than a 16-year-old girl's diary. It's actually kind of fun, though. Smith suffers from a severe case of inflated self-importance, but he also comes across as a naive, almost boyish fellow who thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of his six years in office. The problem is that the book doesn't deliver. Smith promises in the forward that he will tell tales, but either you already knew most of what he's telling or the stuff's just not all that interesting. For instance, he alleges that his arch-enemy Naugle, an out-of-the-closet homophobe, once inferred to him that he'd had a gay experience. Now, this should be quite scintillating, especially since guessing the mayor's true persuasion is one of Fort Lauderdale's great pastimes. But even that anecdote lacks a good punch in the saccharine way Smith tells it. (Naugle, of course, denies it). "I'm guessing that my experience was stranger and more unique than most elected officials," the washed-up pol writes in the forward. The problem is that it really wasn't.