It’s not often that a book is scheduled to be released before its subject, but in the case of Jim Greer’s The Chairman, it’s sadly true.
Greer, the flamboyant and controversial former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida is scheduled to be released from a halfway house in Orlando on July 5th having served 15 months in prison for bilking the RPOF of thousands of dollars. Greer’s tell-all book, The Chairman, was released last week, and in it, Greer very much seeks to clear his name and settle the score with enemies perceived or real. In The Chairman, Greer makes dozens of incendiary claims and dishes on some of the power elite from the last election cycle. The obvious question for Florida’s political cognoscenti: How many of Greer’s shocking allegations also happen to be true?
It’s clear that Greer has smartly chosen to omit mention of many of the excesses of the Gilded Greer Era at the RPOF.
This is a man who took possibly hundreds of luxurious junkets courtesy of RPOF donors who thought they were giving money to advance conservative principles and not merely upgrade Greer and his entourage to first class seats (or, too often, the more supple calf leather found in chartered jets). These excesses are rarely mentioned, nor are Greer’s shameless attempts to bolster his own profile among the political elite. But, it’s also undeniable that for several tumultuous years Greer played a pivotal role as one of Charlie Crist’s closest confidants, and not in living memory has a Florida political insider at this privileged level written a tell-all about the intimate inner workings of a political regime.
Yes, it’s self-serving, yes it’s replete with typos and grammatical errors, and yes it goes on too long at 400+ pages, but there’s enough there to keep Florida political junkies enthralled with the jaw-dropping escapades of some of Florida’s best-known and most powerful political figures.
I’ve talked to political consultants and students of the process in Tallahassee and around the state, and surprisingly many of them tell me that what Greer has selectively included in his book jibes with their observations from that period in time. Greer generally gets right the inner workings of the RPOF, particularly as it relates to his election for chairman and the jockeying during the 2008 presidential election. People who have read the book also say that Greer generally gets right the personalities of some of the key players, and Greer’s assessment is often scathing.
Political consultant Rick Wilson did some entertaining tweets as he read the book, and others have pointed out to me some of the dozens of shocking revelations in Greer’s magnum opus.
There isn’t enough space in a blog post to cover all of the juicy tidbits that Greer dishes, so in the interest of brevity I’m going to distill the claims to The Top Ten Most Shocking Allegations in Jim Greer’s Book. Feel free to submit to me your favorites this week (provide cites to the page in the book where you got the information, please), and on Monday, June 23rd I’ll post the top ten list.