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Lisa Baron Headshot

What It's Like To Go Down With The Ship In Politics

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There is a strange phenomenon in politics that dictates that if your boss crosses the line or gets too close to crossing the line then it becomes your neck and ultimately your career that's on the line. Why? Because for every newspaper story that is written, magazine column penned, or radio and television story aired, our name rides shotgun with the accused. And while your former meal ticket finds himself Dancing With The Stars or talking with the stars of cable news networks the former spokesman is relegated to a desk job or babysitting. At least that's what Emily Miller says she does to earn a dollar or two these days.

Emily Miller is the former press secretary to former Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay. This self-confessed bad pantsuit wearing political spin-doctor is pissed off. It seems that her role in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal is set to be included in the 2010 major motion picture Casino Jack. Miller will be portrayed by Hollywood starlet - or as Miller describes "...dimwit Hollywood actress " Rachelle Lefevre.

Well that makes me mad too. My colleagues and I, all former employees of Christian Coalition head-honcho Ralph Reed (played in the movie by Christian Campbell), are dumbfounded that we were overlooked by Director George Hickenlooper to be portrayed in this blockbuster. Is it possible we were passed by because none of us had been engaged to Michael Scanlon? If it helps my case, Ralph did set me up on a blind date with Adam Kidan (played by Jon Lovitz) who is now in prison.

The truth is most of my former co-workers can get political jobs in two seconds if they wanted. One retired from politics after Ralph's coronation to Georgia Party State Chairman and another took a job in the private sector as well. But I stuck around and become Ralph's Communications Director during his run for Lt. Governor that just so happened to coincide with hearings run by United States Senator and Chairman of The United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs John McCain. I was promptly Abramoff'd: tarred and feathered by a scandal I had no idea was taking place down the hall from our cubicles.

Actually, I had an office, so I guess it's only fair that I absorbed the full impact of having been associated with a tangential figure in arguably the largest lobbying scandal in United States history.

For one whole year my first and last name was a ubiquitous presence in every print, electronic or news broadcast that explored the relationship between Ralph Reed and Jack Abramoff. And believe me, that relationship was explored. When all was said and done, Ralph's hometown newspaper penned over 90 stories. Many appeared on the front page, above the fold, on a Sunday.

I will never forget the first job interview I had following the campaign. It was a part-time public relations/public affairs consulting job with a major telecommunications company based in Atlanta. The position would've put me behind a desk and not in front of a camera. After a series of interviews and paperwork the nice lady in human resources told me, "You're just perfect for this job but there is a concern about your previous associations." I didn't get that gig.

In politics this is the risk you take when you align yourself so closely with a politician. If they go down, you go down. I wasn't even 35-years-old and I was already a washed-up political has-been. So, I don't know what Ms. Miller is complaining about. Judging by the way most people react to my former boss' name (coupled with being Abramoff'd) I'm not even sure I could secure a babysitting position.

It's been a good three years since I was Abramoff'd and I am still considered political kryptonite. The good news is I remain available for a Casino Jack walk-on role. Or maybe an extra? I can deliver killer performance as one of the glazed-over gawkers who sat in the pews of the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearings. If it is too late, we understand. But maybe, just maybe, someone will give me tickets to the premiere, or at least lets one of us watch your kids while you go.

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