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Some of this is just equal-opportunity, election-year profiteering. When liberals were every bit as inflamed by the Bush presidency in 2004, they were able to jostle their way up the lists as well: Al Franken, Ron Suskind and Richard A. Clarke all reached No. 1 with their indictments of the Bush Administration. That same year, leftist filmmaker Michael Moore won top honors at Cannes for his anti-Bush movie Fahrenheit 9/11, which became the top-grossing documentary in history. But even then, liberals shared the summit with Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and John O'Neill, who managed to climb to the top from the right slope. O'Neill's book, Unfit for Command, was written with Jerome Corsi and completed the so-called swift-boating of presidential candidate John Kerry. It was Regnery's biggest book ever, says Ross.
Compared with some of his earlier books, Klein's latest best seller isn't particularly rough. His 2005 Clinton book, The Truth About Hillary, was so scurrilous that conservative writer John Podhoretz said reading it made him want to take a shower. But it stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for seven weeks. The Amateur is tame by comparison; it reads as if Klein wrote it with the same dull pencil he uses to ghostwrite the Walter Scott column in Parade magazine.
On the same best-seller list that featured D'Souza and Klein in the second and third slots, businessman Mallory Factor takes aim at public-employee unions in Shadowbosses (No. 6; Center Street), while radio host Aaron Klein--no relation to Edward--teams with blogger Brenda Elliott to reveal Obama's "radical blueprint" for a "socialist takeover" during his second term in Fool Me Twice (No. 8; WMD). This summer the list also included Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton's The Corruption Chronicles (Threshold) and David Limbaugh's (brother of Rush) The Great Destroyer, about Obama's "war on the Republic."
Given Regnery's track record, most large publishing houses have launched divisions aimed at conservative book buyers. There is Crown Forum inside the Random House empire and Threshold Editions within the Simon & Schuster operation. Hachette has Center Street, and HarperCollins has Broadside Books.
Adam Bellow, editorial director of Broadside, has been publishing works by conservative writers for decades, starting with D'Souza's first best seller, Illiberal Education, in 1991. "It's my shtick," he says cheerfully. While his imprint is owned by conservative media baron Rupert Murdoch, Bellow has seen enough to know that some of the major houses lack ideological commitment to these projects. "It's just like Fifty Shades of Grey," Bellow explains, referring to the soft-porn series that has dominated the best-seller lists this year. Publishers care about sales. "That's not for the high-minded, but it pays for their homes in Sag Harbor."
For her part, Regnery's Ross reads the liberal Huffington Post and Salon websites to keep her thinking sharp. "I encourage people to read books they don't agree with," she says, adding, "Sometimes they get me mad." But she is not interested in publishing authors from the other side, no matter how much emotion they stir. "I don't know how," she admits, "to make one of those books successful."