News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Aug. 30, 2013: It’s been said so often that Washington is a sewer, the two words are interchangeable.
Now we have a new book getting lots of attention that makes the smell even more robust. It deserves to be front and center in Obama’s America because the heart of this story is between the lines. It does not dwell all that much on the Barack Obama or the Obama Administration but it speaks many volumes about Barack and his team.
Exposing the reality of Washington yet again, it shines a very big light on Obama. Because Barack and Michelle can spin all they want, Washington is Barack’s and Michelle’s town as much as any other of hundreds of characters between these covers.
Their town is about the real world of the political elite in America and why DC is truly their capital much more than ours. Hypocrisy and greed rules this nest. It transcends party affiliation and like Presidents before him, Obama is at the top of this food chain. Where Bill and Hillary Clinton are permanent and very wealthy royalty having served this kingdom well, Barack and Michelle will reap their bigger rewards soon enough.
So along comes NY Times reporter Mark Leibovich, who clearly identifies himself as part of the “club” he is about to expose, which reflects the one problem with the book and why it’s good reviews are far better than the book itself. Leibovich is trying to serve two masters – good journalism and the elite he identifies with. So he treads as softly as he must without fear of getting drummed out of the club and DC itself. There is lots of fluff among the nuggets – far too much. I got tired and bored wading through all the meaningless crap, the humanizing profiles, the reality cloaked within.
Too bad Leibovich did not have the fortitude to write a short book without all the snory details about his targets, or better yet, write a volume that exposed them with complete candor. Instead we are left to fend for ourselves to get to all the Truth. Or as Leibovich says with complete candor – his kids go to the same schools with their kids. So he needs to protect not only himself, but their “inheritance” as well in the DC elite of the future.
Back to Barack – before I get to one of the superb reviews of the book. Every event described, every party detailed, all the buying and selling of favors, the Obama clan is right in the middle of all the action. They play as well as anyone.
The point is that should not be the Barack Obama we thought we elected in 2008.
So this week, while my source is familiar a NY Times reporter who wrote the book, the review is from the excellent Economist Magazine, which I listen to religiously while working out at the gym. In the Economist each week, I get to find out what dismal shape the world is in, far better than the U.S. media lets on, limiting the bad news they feed us.
To the Economist ….
“THIS TOWN” may be the most pitiless examination of America’s permanent political class – aka “the gang of 500” or “the Beltway establishment” – that has ever been conducted. With a wry touch, Mark Leibovich, a journalist with the New York Times Magazine, chronicles the tawdry work of Washington’s insiders and aspiring insiders. He refrains from presenting big thoughts about what is wrong with American politics and how it might be fixed. But it is impossible to read this book without concluding that something must be done.
“The lobbying industry has spent billions greasing the revolving door: in 2009 alone, special interests spent $3.47 billion lobbying the federal government. In 1974 3% of retiring policymakers became lobbyists. Now 50% of senators, 42% of congressmen do.”
Now this from the review ….
“While often amusing, this book is a story of disappointment. It opens with a “change election” that was supposed to sweep aside the old order and create a politics fit for the 21st century. Mr. Obama even imposed a ban on lobbyists. But the Washington machine soon took over. When Mr. Obama was an Illinois senator with big ideas and a silver tongue, his staff decried the media as “jackals.” But once in the capital, these same figures cashed in on their public service by getting lucrative jobs as lobbyists, bankers or talking heads. David Plouffe, an adviser to the president, joined the jackals at Bloomberg television. Mr. Orszag went to Citigroup. Meanwhile, the city’s politicos grew richer and the rest of the country was mired in recession. Washington now has a higher income per person than Silicon Valley.”
“Mr. Leibovich observes Washington’s failings brilliantly. He eschews the bias that mars so many political tirades, concluding that the city’s failings are thoroughly bipartisan. He seems to have been everywhere and interviewed everyone. But it is nevertheless impossible to finish this book without feeling a bit cheated. “This Town” is more a symptom of the problems that it describes than a cure.”
Enough. Message received. Obama and the others are deep in the slime.
I’m going to cut it here and break for the Labor Day weekend. The merciful end of summer, if not its heat and humidity. The Washington elite led by the Obamas and the Clintons will head for the places the Blessed go to relax and prepare for the heavy season of favors, lobbying, partying and taking care of each other to follow in DC. All at the expense of the rest of America, but that’s how a decadent oligarchy operates.
As for Leibovich’s book, it is down to # 6 from # 3 on the NY Times best seller list. Leibovich by the way or his publisher, pulled a trick on the DC elite in the book, forcing them to go through it page by page to find out if and where they are to be found. The book has no index as you would expect. No way to zero in on various individuals, except the really Big Fish like Obama and Clinton, who are everywhere in that so many of those covered in these pages have links to one or the other or both here in the early 21st century.
I notice more and more Back Obama has not escaped completely unscathed from his love of the DC elite and the very good life within Washington. Barack has markedly aged and it’s far more than the gray hair. He sure does not look like the Barack of 2008 and before.
At least there is some justice out there be it only skin deep in DC.
Happy Labor Day Weekend! I’ll be back next week for the start of the fall season tracking Obama.