The old Mark Twain quote about writing, that "I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead," was a reflection the idea that concise writing often takes more serious thought than does unleashing a mass of undisciplined verbiage.
So what should we make of Art Robinson's new 410-page tome, Common Sense in 2012?
Robinson is running, a second time, as the Republican nominee in Oregon 4, against long-time incumbent Democrat Peter DeFazio. His campaign hasn't been as visible, yet, as it was in 2010, but that may have changed this week as his book landed - he calls it a "liberty book bomb" - around District 4. One correspondent there said it arrived at his house, "Professionally shrink-wrapped. Color cover. The works. A card inside said it cost $2.09 to print and was mailed by volunteers. Also "In all, about 6,000 contributors and volunteers participated." Whatever that means. Very professional looking. ... This was expensive. Full of his crap though toned down a bit for other-than-nut-case consumption. But somebody somewhere put some big bucks in this."
Someone did; as of late April Robinson reported collecting upwards of $400,000 for his campaign. (DeFazio was a little north of $600,000.) But the cost need not have been high. He helpfully made the book available both via Scribd, an online document storage and viewing service, as as a pdf file; out of pocket costs for doing those things would be not much more than nothing.
The message overall is easily boiled down to Twainian levels: Congress and the federal government are bad, whatever they do is counterproductive, the market place will solve all, and no one outside government entities seems to have contributed to our problems. It's a rather familiar message, and some of the rough edges from Robinson's past have been smoothed off in this publication.
410 pages may be a longish read for the average voter, though. Maybe for good reason.