In his new book This Town (Blue Rider Press, 400 pp., $27.95), Mark Leibovich commits an act of treason against the Washington establishment. After years of attending its parties, Mr. Leibovich, a national correspondent for The New York Times, turns his pen against the city’s social class and empties his notebook of all the cozy friendships and indiscreet cocktail chatter. The book, when it finally came out last week, had already unnerved the capital for months. Politico published a prophylactic piece that attempted to scoop some of the book’s best scenes, with the clear message that their “Leibo” was no outsider.
But he doesn’t need to be. Mr. Leibovich goes out of his way to disclose his own insider status, and then uses it to deliver a thoroughly entertaining—and mildly devastating—critique of the grubby, self-dealing Washington establishment. His focus is on the city’s permanent class, “The Club,” as he calls it, “a political herd that never dies or gets older, only jowlier, richer and more heavily made-up.” Its members feed off a political establishment that seems far removed from public service, and they amass a local form of power through media hits, party invitations, Politico mentions and lots of loud conversations about their well-positioned friends. It’s “a system that rewards, more than anything, self-perpetuation,” and while it may be petty, transactional and transparent, as Mr. Leibovich points out, it often pays quite well.
The Wee Hours
Outside the French ambassador’s home the people of Washington, D.C., mobbed John Legend as if the city had never before seen a star. David Arquette walked out of the gates and met bunches of fans clutching outdated head shots and fresh sharpies. David Byrne emerged, and a man broke into a sprint, holding in his Read More
Washington, D.C. is always a bleak and desolate place to be, but in the winter the weather is cold, too. So, being a fairly intelligent man, President Barack Obama opts to spend the holidays away from the chilly District of Columbia and hightails it to his native Hawaii. Lucky for the White House beat reporters Read More
There’s not a single person in New York who would defend food in Washington, D.C. — or any city, for that matter — against food in our town. But this collection of disses that The New York Times has levied at D.C.’s glaring inferiority in all epicurean categories may indicate that the paper of record Read More
A frequent theme at today’s Bloomberg Real Estate Briefing was just how great New York City real estate is. But there is one other place that all the machers look fondly on–perhaps making them the only people in the country who do so: Washington, D.C.
Even the politicians don’t like it, at least not Read More
Two months after Glenn Beck corralled thousands of people to the National Mall for his Restoring Honor rally, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are set to unleash their response to the gathered masses tomorrow. Pegged as the Rally to Restore Sanity, the event pushes Stewart out of the realm of satire, even if he insists it’s Read More
In the winter of 2009, David Bradley, the owner of the Atlantic Media Company, and Justin Smith, one of his top executives, met for a late-night dinner at Kinkead’s restaurant on Pennsylvania Avenue to plot the opening gambits in a Beltway media war.
Mr. Bradley wanted to talk about the future of the National Journal, Read More
Inauguration Day is coming! And this morning Joe Scarborough was broadcasting ‘Morning Joe’ from Washington, D.C., where Mayor Adrian Fenty was to be on hand to talk about the city’s security and traffic plans for Jan. 20.
But the public safety angle got a different twist when Mr. Scarborough revealed that an hour before his Read More
New York’s political leaders and private sector executives have fretted for years that the city might lose its reputation as the world’s financial capital to London. Now, it looks like the city should’ve been worrying about Washington instead.
The Wall Street meltdown and its litany of fallen titans has shifted the nation’s financial Read More
On the night of Wed. April 16, comedian Mo Rocca walked across the stage in the spacious auditorium at the Hilton Washington on Connecticut Avenue in Washington D.C. and thanked several hundred reporters, politicians, and celebrities for showing up at the annual Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner.
"I know that the White House Read More