Open Thread: Hope Never Dies

Oh, thank heavens for jackal Dorothy Winsor for bringing this book to my attention. It’s on my kindle now. If only for the laughs.

The New York Times Best Seller

“[Hope Never Dies is] an escapist fantasy that will likely appeal to liberals pining for the previous administration, longing for the Obama-Biden team to emerge from political retirement as action heroes.”—Alexandra Alter, New York Times

Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama team up in this high-stakes thriller that combines a mystery worthy of Watson and Holmes with the laugh-out-loud bromantic chemistry of Lethal Weapon’s Murtaugh and Riggs.

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted: the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Part noir thriller and part bromance, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fiction—and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs.

And shame on you if you knew about this and didn’t email me immediately.

Open thread.

101 replies
  1. 1
    Doug R says:

    But is it any good?

  2. 2
    SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal says:

    Barack and Joe! Be still,
    my out-of-control heart!

  3. 3
    Heidi Mom says:

    I heard about this today and ordered it. The cover alone is worth the price.

  4. 4
    Tim C. says:

    Does the right have anything as whimsical as we do? Or is it all racist jokes and paintings of jesus with an assault rifle?

  5. 5
    TenguPhule says:

    @Doug R:

    But is it any good?

    Depends on if you like MST3K movies in written format.

  6. 6
    TenguPhule says:

    @Tim C.:

    Does the right have anything as whimsical as we do? Or is it all racist jokes and paintings of jesus with an assault rifle?

    Hot Cheney on Rumsfield action.

  7. 7
    trollhattan says:

    @Heidi Mom:

    The cover alone is worth the price

    That they’re in Onion Joe’s TransAm shows the artist is aware of all internet traditions. I’ll skip the book, bring me the poster!

  8. 8
    Fair Economist says:

    It’s gotta be strange for Obama or Biden to see things like this. Too favorable to be offensive and too weird to be flattering. I suppose it’s nice, in a way, to see fanfiction about real things, as opposed to ever-increasing obsession with things that don’t exist.

  9. 9
    JustRuss says:

    Awesome cover. I had a buddy who had one of those TAs, complete with T-Tops. Truly a ride worthy of Diamond Joe.

  10. 10
    SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal says:

    @Tim C.:

    Does the right have anything as whimsical as we do? Or is it all racist jokes and paintings of jesus with an assault rifle?

    Where have you gone, Jon McNaughton? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

    Woo hoo hoo.

  11. 11
    PenAndKey says:

    @Doug R: But is it any good?

    With a cover like that does it really matter?

  12. 12
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Fair Economist: I imagine if it’s done with some humor, they’d enjoy it. They did a lot of gag reels kind of along those lines, IIRC.

    In the meantime, I knew as soon as I saw “Town Hall with Michael Moore” I would have to skip the Hayes show tonight

    Charles P. Pierce @ CharlesPPierce
    This non-voter on Chris Hayes is making me want to pull out my eyeballs.

    Oh, good. Another person who wouldn’t sully her pretty vote with nasty old politics. Kill me now.

  13. 13
    Mary G says:

    I put this in the last thread by mistake, but messed up the formatting and want people to read it, so here’s a do-over.

    If you’re not reading “women’s magazines,” you’re missing a lot of good political writing. Vogue profiles Tammy Duckworth:

    Politicians who want to bolster their military bona fides often visit Walter Reed to have their pictures taken while shaking a vet’s hand. Among soldiers, it is jokingly referred to as “the amputee petting zoo.” With her high cheekbones and long, jet-black hair, Duckworth would have made an appealing poster girl, but she was wary of being used. When Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wanted to visit her, she said no. She might be military, but she leaned liberal, a result of growing up a mixed-race child in Southeast Asia, where her father’s development work took them to Singapore, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. “Being Amerasian, post Vietnam War, people just assumed you were the child of a GI and a prostitute. I was so lucky my parents were married and I had an American passport. I saw kids spat upon, going through garbage, selling themselves, doing whatever they could to survive because they’d been discarded.” When the Duckworth family, including her little brother, moved to Hawaii, her father, who was then in his 50s and could trace his roots all the way back to the Revolutionary War, found it nearly impossible to get a job. To survive, the family went on food stamps, and Tammy, then in high school, took a series of low-paying jobs to keep the family afloat. At one point, she sold flowers from a plastic bucket on the side of the road, an experience that profoundly shaped her worldview. “I never worked as hard as when we were at our poorest,” she says. “So I felt if we could end up there, anyone could.”

    One day, a call came to Walter Reed from Illinois senator Dick Durbin, asking if there were any wounded veterans from his state who would like to attend the State of the Union. Duckworth volunteered. That night Durbin shook her hand, gave her his card, and said she should call if she needed anything. So she did. Again and again. Not for herself but for other veterans who needed things, like missing pension payments. Durbin was impressed by her tenacity but also by the way she carried herself. “When I did the math later on, I realized she’d been injured only twelve weeks prior,” he recalls. “I couldn’t believe what a positive attitude she had.”

    Durbin had second thoughts, because she had to do the announcement with an IV in her arm, but she didn’t quit. She also didn’t win, but kept trying.

    The closing paragraph:

    In the meantime, there’s dinner to think about. It’s one of the ironies people tend to overlook about politicians. They have a staff of dozens helping to implement their policy visions, but at the end of the day, they still have to go home and make dinner. (Her husband could do it, but then, she says, they’d be eating tacos every night.) I watch Duckworth and two of her millennial staffers engage in a passionate discussion of . . . couscous. Does she prefer Israeli or regular? “Whatever tastes good, cooks in five minutes, and costs $3 for two boxes,” she answers. Pragmatic, economical, and hopeful. What more could you want in a politician?

    There’s lots more that shows she’s as badass as Subaru Diane.

  14. 14
    Fair Economist says:

    You could do some interesting running gags with this material:

    “Hey, aren’t you President Obama?!”

    “Ex-President actually. But that doesn’t matter now. I need some information. Have you spoken with this man?”

    Repeated about once per chapter, with occasional amusing variations where he’s mistaken for somebody else or has to pretend he’s not.

  15. 15
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal: Where have you gone, Jon McNaughton? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

    You haven’t seen his latest, of trump confronting Mueller? Your for only $29.99!

  16. 16
    patrick II says:

    I would have loved to have seen Obama’s reaction when he first saw this.

  17. 17

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Look at the doll hands compared to Mueller’s paws.

  18. 18
    Mnemosyne says:


    I’m also in for a poster if the publisher makes them I love that they put them in Onion Joe Biden’s Trans-Am.

  19. 19
    David 🎅🎄Merry Christmas🎄🎅 Koch says:

    I always thought they’d make a great cop-buddy movie ( ie 48 HRS., Lethal Weapon, Cotton Comes to Harlem)

  20. 20
    PenAndKey says:

    @Mnemosyne: Ditto. If they made that same cover in poster size and took out the book marketing details I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

  21. 21
    Ken says:

    But who is Obama telling Biden to run over?

  22. 22
    Dan B says:

    Love the book cover!

    Nit humorous but Kavanaugh has many gay couples, especially p.o.c. and those with kids, talking about exit strategies. At the same time latinx people are afraid of being deported. Puerto Rican refugees are tilting towards the GOP. The disconnect is strong.

  23. 23
    Dan B says:

    @Dan B: Not humorous. Not Nit, Sigh.

  24. 24
    opiejeanne says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Ha! And isn’t Mueller a big guy?

  25. 25
    SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal says:

    @Mary G:

    I put this in the last thread by mistake, but messed up the formatting

    You spelled “FYWP” wrong.

  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal:

    Be best still, my out-of-control heart!

    Fixed it for you.

  27. 27
    opiejeanne says:

    @Dan B: Why on Earth would PR refugees tilt to the Right?

  28. 28
    TenguPhule says:


    But who is Obama telling Biden to run over?

    Jeff Sessions.

  29. 29
    TenguPhule says:


    Why on Earth would PR refugees tilt to the Right?

    They’re not. Instead, most of them aren’t bothering to register to vote.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’ll drag my romance novel recommendation from a previous thread up here:

    I have to say, one of the romance novels I just finished reading on someone else’s recommendation has one of the best opening lines I’ve ever read:

    “Allen Ginsberg once tried to levitate my grandfather,” I told the mourners, clearing my throat through the nervousness.

    The book is called Bohemian, by Kathryn Nolan. It’s very well-written, but be warned that it’s also VERY dirty and has some light BDSM in it, which is not for everyone. I don’t usually like that stuff, but the author didn’t use a heavy hand and kept it based in the characters, so it worked.

  31. 31
    SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:





  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Doug R: It exists; therefore, it is good.

  33. 33
    TenguPhule says:


    and has some light BDSM in it,

    Traditional or did they decide to be daring and have the woman be the S?

  34. 34
    TenguPhule says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    It exists; therefore, it is good.

    By this logic, clowns are good.

  35. 35
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:


    Scott has sought to make inroads with those voters, traveling to the island seven times since Maria hit and promoting his relief efforts through Spanish-language ads. Both nominees have touted endorsements from high-profile Puerto Rican political figures.
    An August poll from a coalition of progressive Latino advocacy groups found Nelson leading among historically Democratic-leaning Puerto Ricans by only 7 points—a margin they found worryingly small.
    Scott’s ability to “chip away at his opponents’ base” is one of his greatest political skills in a state where the last two presidential and governors’ races were decided by one point, Florida Democratic strategist Steve Schale told TPM.

    and Nelson, according to what I’ve read elsewhere, is just kind of waiting for them to come to him

    Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone told TPM in an emailed statement that Scott is “committed to supporting the Puerto Rican community,” and that doing so “is not about politics.”
    The Nelson campaign did not provide comment.

  36. 36

    @opiejeanne: He does look tall in the photos I have seen of him.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: WTeverlovingF?

  38. 38
    TenguPhule says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: That’s from awhile back, isn’t it? There was a post and everything here.

  39. 39
    Darkrose says:

    First traditionally published Obama/Biden fiction. I give you the Archive of Our Own Joe Biden/Barack Obama tag (Some NSFW). Also, the fact that Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio fanfiction exists may have just made me lose my will to live.

    Speaking of fan fiction, I meant to comment on Major^4’s post about the EU Articles 11 and 13. The Organization for Transformative Works, the fan organization behind the AO3 and the academic journal Transformative Works and Culture has been sounding the alarm about this for months. Their concern is that some versions of the legislation lack a fair-use exemption or any provision to allow not-for-profit use of copyrighted material, and that restrictions on copyrighted material on for-profit sites like YouTube and Tumblr will make fan works more difficult to find.

    I’m not happy about this as a fan fiction writer, and someone who enjoys consuming fan fiction, art, and videos. As a librarian, the lack of fair-use protections also concerns me. (I also think the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom should focus on issues like this instead of dying on the hill of supporting the right of hate groups to meet in public libraries, but that’s another rant.)

  40. 40
    Jeffro says:

    Darkest corners of Delaware, hmm?

    Seaford? Or Elsmere?


  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TenguPhule: No. Flying cars would be good if they existed. Herpes Simplex 78 would not be good if it existed. It depends on the fucking concept, doesn’t it?

  42. 42
    Jager says:


    I hope he read the fine print in the owners manual, something about, : “Always secure the T-Top panels when changing a tire”
    Joe would know that right?

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @TenguPhule: Fuckifino.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Apparently Michael Moore has a history of not paying his bills. And then he goes after the people he owes when they try to get paid.

  45. 45
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Apparently Michael Moore has a history of not paying his bills. And then he goes after the people he owes when they try to get paid.

    That sounds… familiar….

  46. 46
    Jeffro says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Apparently Michael Moore has a history of not paying his bills. And then he goes after the people he owes when they try to get paid.

    Why how very…Trumpian of him

  47. 47
    TenguPhule says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Found it.

    Commentor linked, not a front page post.

  48. 48
    TenguPhule says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    That sounds… familiar….

    Michael Moore is fat.

    Donald Trump is…fat.

    Has anyone ever seen the two of them in the same room at the same time?

  49. 49
    J R in WV says:

    @Mary G:

    I contributed mucho bucks to Tammy Duckworth when she first won office, and am proud to have done so. She’s a heroic superstar in my book!!

    And a great Senator as well, also too!!!

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @J R in WV: The fact that she publicly said that she is lucky that her husband is an ass man is also proof of her awesomeness.

  51. 51
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @opiejeanne: @TenguPhule: Rick Scott has been working the Puerto Rican community hard for a year. As soon as Maria came through, he started making trips to Puerto Rico leading assistance teams from the State of Florida. He made sure he got lots of good pictures and videos and has made sure they’ve made it into the Puerto Rican press and the Florida press and other media outlets.

  52. 52
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Ken: Lol!! He’s orange. That’s the only hint I can give you to avoid a spoiler. /s

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:


    This one is traditional, but in the next book in the series that focuses on the secondary romance, Landslide, the heroine is the dominant one. That’s not quite as well-written, but still pretty good.

  54. 54
  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    @Adam L Silverman: The new reports back in June were that Puerto Ricans weren’t registering, despite best efforts of local Democrats to get them to.

  56. 56
    Raven says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I’ve got a NewYorican friend who insisted Hillary and Trump were the same. I haven’t talked to him since the election but he’s a dumb fucking Jar Head in my book.

  57. 57
    TenguPhule says:

    U.S. Plans to Pay Mexico to Deport Unauthorized Immigrants There

    FTFNYT link.

    Trump has promised for years that Mexico would pay for a vast border wall, a demand that country has steadfastly refused. Now, in the Trump administration’s campaign to stop illegal immigration, the United States plans instead to pay Mexico.

    In a recent notice sent to Congress, the administration said it intended to take $20 million in foreign assistance funds and use it to help Mexico pay plane and bus fare to deport as many as 17,000 people who are in that country illegally.

    Onion throws up hands, resigns.

  58. 58
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: fucker is all over the tv down here talking about “Washington has a corruption problem” while conveniently ignoring his own massive, staggering corruption.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:


    G was telling me about the uproar regarding the hate groups thing. He agrees with you that maybe defending the rights of hate groups shouldn’t be at the top of the ALA’s priorities right now,

  60. 60
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: It is, essentially, a tied race. If Nelson wins it will be because Gillum’s voters pull him across the line. Senator Nelson is a decent person and senator, but he and/or his campaign staff seem to be fundamentally incapable of recognizing that the Florida electorate has vastly changed over the past decade. That the baby boomer retirees down here that supported him because his being an astronaut are now either dead or outnumbered by the hard core, revanchist, herrenvolk curious, Trump supporting retirees in places like the Villages. They could care less that he was an astronaut. And they all vote.

  61. 61
    TenguPhule says:

    Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever

    FTFNYT link.

    Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.

    The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests. Some of those who work in the migrant shelter network say the bottleneck is straining both the children and the system that cares for them.

    12,800 children in American Concentration Camps.

  62. 62
    TenguPhule says:


    Also, the fact that Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio fanfiction exists

    Sound argument for partial human extinction.

  63. 63
    p.a. says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal:

    SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal 2 1/4 mile high club 🤭

  64. 64
    Lapassionara says:

    @Adam L Silverman: This. Nelson needs to learn how to campaign.

  65. 65
    NotMax says:


    Additional helpful info about the particulars of registering, polling and educating recent arrivals from Puerto Rico on how the political system is designed on the mainland here.

  66. 66
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: @Jeffro: Yep and yep.

  67. 67

    @Adam L Silverman: I have met and spent a charming evening with Mr. Maltin and his daughter. They are the most genuine, kindest people I’ve met in LA.

    And the rusty pitchfork, feel free to use it on MM.

  68. 68
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TenguPhule: Yep. I saw those. Allegra Kirkland at TPM just did deep dive reporting on this from Florida.

  69. 69
    Adam L Silverman says:


  70. 70
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Yep. He’s corrupt, a congenital liar, and creepy, but he’s consistent.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Lapassionara: If he manages to win this time, he needs to be primaried for 2024 if he doesn’t retire.

  72. 72
    Shana says:

    @SiubhanDuinne, Badass Jackal: Just noticed your new enhanced name. Love it.

  73. 73
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Dan B: Puerto Rican refugees are leaning towards the GOP? Wow. Wasn’t expecting that.

  74. 74
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shana: I am waiting for her first solo jump.

  75. 75
    Shana says:

    @Jeffro: Rehoboth Beach. Duh.

  76. 76
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @TaMara (HFG): The thing with Moore is that he’s not bad at diagnosing the problem, however his prescriptions to fix it would kill the patient. Karl Marx had the same problem.

  77. 77

    @Darkrose: oh boy yeah that’s gonna fuck up fan stuff royally. (It passed today by the way, though there’s one final vote in January I think)

  78. 78
    khead says:

    Or is it all racist jokes and paintings of jesus with an assault rifle?

    Yes. SATSQ.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    See Adam’s comment at #51 — Rick Scott has been courting their votes since the day they started to arrive, which is smart but pisses me off.

  80. 80
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    RynheartTheReluctant @ TheRynheart
    ‘Sen. King says he’ll vote no on Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court’
    ‘Maine’s independent U.S. senator cites 5 reasons for his decision, and says the ‘stakes are too high’ to support President Trump’s nominee’

    I read somewhere that Collins will be watching King’s vote because he’s more popular with two key parts of her coalition than she is, Indies and Democratic women. And Rachel Maddow just did a segment on Alaska’s native community holding Murkowski’s feet to the fire. I’m keeping hope alive in spite of myself

  81. 81
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Adam L Silverman: also the frequently screeching, emo self-righteousness that sometimes seems like he’s performing for an audience of one, himself.

  82. 82
    Lalophobia says:


    Also, the fact that Ted Cruz/Marco Rubio fanfiction exists may have just made me lose my will to live.

    Sound argument for partial human extinction.

    Well, I mean, if there were ever two people who deserved each other…

    I can’t lie, I’ve actually been wanting something like this book since the whole Obiden bromance went memetic. Just the whole idea amuses me greatly.

  83. 83
    Shell says:

    Biker bars,eh? Do insurance to’Tequila?’

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: That’s just science!

  85. 85
    Shell says:

    Curses. It was dance to Tequila.

  86. 86
    Mnemosyne says:

    @TaMara (HFG):

    I work with someone who has worked with Maltin for a couple of decades and, yeah, Maltin is a very nice guy. This is like Mr. Rogers going on Twitter to denounce Moore.

    Also, I’ve met some long-term Hollywood people who I will bet are even nicer than the Maltins — email me and I’ll name-drop. 😉

  87. 87
    randy khan says:

    I know it’s wrong to want this book so badly, but I can’t help myself.

  88. 88
    NotMax says:

    Hope Never Dies

    Sadly, it sometimes Hicks. //

  89. 89
  90. 90
  91. 91
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Don’t boo… Vote!

  92. 92

    @Shell: This, regrettably, is a completely understandable sentence to me.

  93. 93
  94. 94
    PJ says:

    @Jeffro: The darkest corner of Delaware is actually across the PA border in Marcus Hook.

  95. 95
    Aleta says:

    A little information about animal shelters getting ready for Florence, at WaPo. (Some animals are being transported out. Shelters expect to run out of room.)

    One poll after Hurricane Katrina found that 44 percent of people who chose not to evacuate did so because they didn’t want to leave their pets behind. But still, many animals were abandoned — more than 100,000, according to the Louisiana SPCA.

  96. 96
    jackmac says:

    Just loaded Hope Never Dies on my tablet. Can’t wait to read it!

  97. 97
    Starfish says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I unsubscribed from the MoveOn mailing list today because Michael Moore should never send me emails. His liberalism for condescending white men can go sit in the back seat.

  98. 98
    Luthe says:

    @TenguPhule: Putin/Trump fic. Nuff said.

  99. 99
    meander says:

    Another work of Obama (and Biden) fiction is “The Obama Inheritance”, a collection of short works by different authors.

    I heard about it from a glowing review on Fresh Air in late 2017. I got a copy in December and read the first few, but it didn’t work for me. YMMV. Here’s a bit from the Fresh Air review to give you a sense of its contents:

    As editor Gary Phillips explains in his foreword, the idea for The Obama Inheritance was “a cumulative thing” born out of the fact there were so many conspiracy theories generated about President Obama. There were the “birther” stories, the suggestion that President Obama used secret weather machines to create Hurricane Sandy, and on and on.

    A truly fabulous story kicks off this collection. Remember all those loud whispers, sparked by a fist bump, that Michelle Obama was a covert black power separatist? In “Michelle in Hot Water,” crime writer Kate Flora takes that conspiracy fantasy about the first lady and runs with it. [Michelle teams up with a group of women to take on pharma price gouging and etc.]

  100. 100
    Citizen Alan says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    In the Best Timeline, Bill Nelson retired from politics after serving eight years as Al Gore’s vice president.

  101. 101
    father pusbucket says:

    @Fair Economist:
    Haha! Has a nice Police Squad cadence, even thought it’s a different joke.

    “A hospital? What is it?”
    “It’s a big building with sick people, but that’s not important right now.”

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