Politics & Government

California lawmaker's book pounds environmentalists

WASHINGTON — Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Visalia, fires away in a new book he hopes will spread his ideas far and wide.

Former Treasury Secretary and fellow Republican Henry Paulson, Nunes writes, "stands at the nexus between big business, big government and radical leftwing groups." Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Ford Motor Co. and Dow Chemical Co. are "allied with extremist groups."

Environmental lobbyists are "followers of neo-Marxist, socialist, Maoist or Communist ideals." Global warming claims are "hysteria" spread by a "Doomsday cult." The phrases "radical left" and "radical environmentalist" recur often.

"No one can accuse me of not taking a position," Nunes said in an interview.

Now, his Capitol Hill colleagues, congressional candidates and the curious will get a better chance to evaluate how Nunes sees the world.

In a 165-page book titled "Restoring the Republic," the eight-year House veteran opens up on topics from foreign policy to the federal budget. It's part personal reflection and part campaign manifesto, intended more to raise a profile than yield a profit.

"I'm not out there trying to sell books," Nunes said. "I'm trying to sell ideas."

The book is officially being rolled out Sept. 13 by a conservative media organization called WorldNetDaily. Already, company founder Joseph Farah said Friday, bookstore orders for the $24.95 book "have been phenomenal." Farah said he likely will be tripling initial production, to 15,000 copies.

"He's a new face on the scene, and in this political year, people are looking for a new face," Farah said. "It's also well-written. It's not in a policy-wonk style; it's an engaging read."

Farah's company promotes "freedom and self-government by encouraging personal virtue and good character." The result isn't to everyone's taste.

One of WorldNetDaily's recently published books is "The Manchurian President," described as an investigation of "Barack Obama's ties to communists, socialists and other anti-American extremists." Other titles range from "The Islamic Anti-Christ" to the autobiography of Jeremiah Denton, a former American prisoner of war turned U.S. senator.

"They speak to the farthest right of the farthest right, and there are people who will buy that," said Ari Rabin-Havt, vice president of the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America. "If you look at some of their books, they are clearly at the far end of the conspiracy spectrum."

Nunes says he will use campaign committee and leadership political action committee funds to buy "several hundred" copies for distribution to candidates and lawmakers. Together, these committees had $1.3 million available as of June 30.

For a wider audience, Nunes will be touting his book on Fox News Channel and conservative talk radio shows. Niall Ferguson, a highly respected Harvard University historian, wrote one of the back-cover blurbs.

"I liked its refreshingly direct, down-to-earth tone," Ferguson explained in an e-mail Friday. "I am rather less hostile to environmentalism than he is ... but when it comes to radical reform of taxation and entitlements, we are on the same page."

Nunes began drafting the book on yellow legal pads while flying cross-country over the past year. Using personal funds, he hired an editor and designer to prepare a book package. He was originally expecting to self-publish, until others urged him to circulate the manuscript to publishing houses.

The book includes verbatim transcripts from House committee hearings, policy recommendations that include sending the military to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border, and anecdotes, like one where the Environmental Defense Fund invited Nunes to a reception.

"Despite the hardship the radical environmentalists have inflicted on my constituents and my entire state, the EDF apparently thought they could win me over; such is the silly utopian world in which they live," Nunes recounted.

Laura Harnish, California regional director for the environmental group, said Friday that she is "sorry he feels that way," but she did not rule out trying to work with Nunes in the future.