Want to do some holiday shopping for the governor? We've got a few ideas based on Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s wish list on Amazon.
A fun fact about Amazon is that when you create a wish list of items to buy down the road, these lists can be public. It makes sense in Amazon’s scheme — without a public list, how would your friends and family know what to buy for you while browsing the online-retail giant? You can find someone’s list by searching for their email address or, incredibly, just their name.
If you haven’t tweaked the right settings, it’s possible that your wish list is accessible to the world through the Amazon wish list search page. It sure seems like that’s the case for Ducey.
Thanks to a somewhat uncommon name, there are only two Doug Duceys that show up when you search through the public Amazon wish lists. Douglas A. Ducey’s "about" section says he’s in Arizona. The user also has the same middle initial as the governor — Ducey’s middle name is Anthony. The account has been active since at least 2003, long before Ducey entered the public eye, making it unlikely that it's a pseudonym. I think we have a winner. (And there are some other hints.)
On October 2, 2017, Ducey's account posted its only Amazon product review to date: a brutal one-star takedown of a red rolling suitcase from manufacturer Titan. The model costs $159.99.
In an email, spokesperson Patrick Ptak said that Ducey did not post this review.
"This is an old, outdated account that’s almost 15 years old and that the governor does not use," Ptak wrote. "An administrative staffer was inadvertently logged into it when purchasing and reviewing items for their own personal use."
Ptak did not address why the account was active as recently as six months ago if it is "outdated" and not used currently by the governor. Likewise, it's unclear why an "administrative staffer" had access to an Amazon account under Ducey's name.
Shortly after Phoenix New Times contacted the governor's office, Ducey's wish list and the review disappeared. (Another sign that it was his.) Fortunately, screenshots are forever.
Whoever wrote the review apparently had trouble figuring out how to open the suitcase because it was locked when it showed up at the door.
“Luggage arrived in good condition and locked,” the author writes. “Searched for a key or instructions with no luck. Searched their website that was "under construction". No ohone [sic] # to call for customer support. I finally had to bust the lock to open suitcase. No key. No instructions. Once opened. Found the instructions inside luggage! Very frustrating and disappointing.”
The title of the review reads: “Forced to give 1 Star. No star would have sufficed.”
Pretty harsh. The author's blow-by-blow of the fiasco paints a vivid picture. Imagine them fumbling with the suitcase, searching in vain for a customer support number on a nonfunctioning website. Finally, they resort to breaking the lock, only to find the instructions inside like some kind of cruel joke — Pandora's box in reverse.
It's only natural that they'd want to log on to Amazon to leave behind a scathing review.
The post loses points for the handful of typos — chalk it up to typing quickly in frustration? But the devastating burn of a title makes up for it. If I could review this review, I'd give it four out of five stars.
In fairness, other customers apparently had trouble unlocking the Titan suitcase, too. On this particular item’s question-and-answer section, the vendor had to explain several times that customers need to push a button near a green arrow on the lock to unlock the suitcase.
According to his spokesperson, Ducey travels with a plain black suitcase, not a red one.
Let’s move on to Ducey’s wish list, which also has now vanished from Amazon.
Item number one:
Killing Jesus: A History
By Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard
Audiobook from Audible
The latest item on Ducey’s list, the governor added the audio version of Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus to his wish list on June 12, 2017. The disgraced ex-Fox News host co-wrote the book with Martin Dugard. It's one of O'Reilly's endless mass-market "Killing" series of books (Killing Reagan; Killing Kennedy; Killing Lincoln). In the audio version, O’Reilly serves as the narrator. From the blurb of the 2013 historical nonfiction book:
Nearly 2,000 years after this beloved and controversial young revolutionary was brutally killed by Roman soldiers, more than 2.2 billion human beings attempt to follow his teachings and believe he is God. Killing Jesus will take listeners inside Jesus' life, recounting the seismic political and historical events that made his death inevitable and changed the world forever.
Les Misérables (English Language)
By Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo’s classic 1862 novel of Jean Valjean and revolt in 19th-century France is free on Kindle, apparently. Who knew? Ever the businessman, Ducey knows a good deal when he sees it. And who knew our governor was such a bookworm? The former Cold Stone Creamery CEO added this item on December 30, 2012.
The Arizona Republic
Another Kindle entry on Ducey’s list, he added this subscription to a digital version of the state’s largest newspaper to his wish list on November 25, 2011. While it's good to see Ducey supporting his local newspaper in the digital age, keep in mind that this is only a wish list, after all.
Golf My Way
By Jack Nicklaus
We’re going way back in Ducey’s archive for this one: a paperback edition of pro Jack Nicklaus’s golf bible. The future state treasurer apparently sought to up his golf game sometime around February 6, 2003.
In addition to his wish list, Ducey follows several people on Amazon. The shopping site has a weird feature where you can follow your favorite brands or authors to receive updates on new products.
Ducey's three thought leaders are a mixed bag. Two are head-scratching choices, but one is perfect.
Pressfield is an author who writes mostly historical fiction and vaguely-self-help titles, including The Warrior Ethos ("The book examines the evolution of the warrior code of honor and 'mental toughness.'") and Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae. He also is a self-styled writing coach, and talks about overcoming Resistance (capital R), what he describes as the mental blocks all writers must suffer through.
An offbeat influencer for Ducey, sure, but Pressfield seems in step with the governor's aforementioned interest in O'Reilly-style light historical fare.
Charles G. Koch
The elder of the infamous Koch brothers, Charles G. Koch made his fortune in the oil racket. Since then, the Kansas natives have flooded the American political system with money in support of the free-market and deregulatory causes near and dear to their hearts and wallets.
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As a gubernatorial candidate in 2014, Ducey thanked the Kochs and called their annual summit of mega-donors "inspirational" during an address at the brothers' conference, captured in an audio recording.
This choice is slightly confusing, but it stands to reason that Ducey might read Noonan, a longtime opinion columnist at the Wall Street Journal.
Sometimes it's hard to remember that our elected officials are people, too. The public Amazon lists are a good reminder. See, wealthy CEOs-turned-politicians fêted by the Koch brothers are just like you!
They shop on Amazon. They stay up-to-date with their favorite celebrities and media personalities. Maybe they even leave mean reviews.