Washington - Two Parties and a Funeral in America’s Gilded Capital

July 24th, 2013
When we try and conjure up a place that is all about power, ego, success, money, hard work, personal baggage and branding, most of us would think first of Hollywood.  As Orson Wells said of Hollywood,  "Hollywood is Hollywood. There’s nothing you can say about it that isn’t true, good or bad. And if you get into it, you have no right to be bitter — you’re the one who sat down, and joined the game." 

Much the same might be said of Washington D.C.  The difference is that we mistakenly think Washington should be a place of sober reflection on policy and ideas.  But was it ever?  Is the Washington of today any different than it has ever been; from the preening and egos of our Founding Fathers to the cronyism of FDR’s advisers, to the highfalutin schmoozing of Camelot?

It was the wise and sagacious Marilyn Monroe who said, “I don't know if high society is different in other cities, but in Hollywood, important people can't stand to be invited someplace that isn't full of other important people.”

That's the beginning and the backdrop for NY Times magazine's chief national correspondent, Mark Leibovich's  new book This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Capital. In it,  he fully pulls back the  curtain on the great and powerful Oz,  that is our nations capital.

My conversation with Mark Leibovich: