How D.C. really operates

If you’re a bit dubious about post-election euphoria — everything’s going to be different now! — we suggest tuning in to an exceptionally revealing reality-TV show, The Hill. The six-episode series is getting a fresh airing on the Sundance Channel (starting with Episode 1 tomorrow, and repeating Sunday and Monday) over the next six weeks.

It’s an unprecedented look at the inner workings of Capitol Hill from inside the office of Congressman Robert Wexler, a Democrat from south Florida.

Wexler’s young staff members spend most of their time getting him “placements” on CNN, feeding him sound bites, and having bitchy little fights over the wording of press releases.

The congressman presides over it all, nary a hair out of place on his perfectly coiffed, TV-ready head. (The series was shot before his appearance last summer on The Colbert Report, in which he played along with a fill-in-the-blanks stunt, telling Colbert: “I enjoy the company of prostitutes… because it’s a fun thing to do. Much like cocaine.”)

What’s clear is how all substance — Iraq, Social Security, Darfur — is fungible, because it’s all about political parrying.

By the way, Wexler and his hair just won reelection unopposed.

“>VIEW scenes from The Hill

“>CHECK airdates and showtimes for The Hill

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.

How D.C. <i>really</i> operates