Mark Leibovich on Glitz and Greed in Washington

August 23, 2013

Bill talks with journalist Mark Leibovich about his latest book, This Town, a city where money rules the day and status is determined by who you know and what they can do for you. “If you can sell yourself as someone who knows how Washington works, someone who has these relationships,” Leibovich explains, “that’s a very marketable commodity. If you’re seen as someone who knows how this town works, someone who is a usual suspect in this town, you can dine out for years — that’s why no one leaves.”

Category: Politics, Video

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7 Responses to “This Town: Glitz and Greed in Washington”

  1. S Brennan says:

    Funny, I posted this last night on my FBook…

    S[] Brennan shared a link.
    20 hours ago
    Back in the day, PBS used to air shows like this…definitely not for sound bite junkies, find a comfortable chair and hit play. If you have kids, or younger viewers might want to show them an example of what journalism was…you know, kinda like looking at dinosaurs and mammoths at the Field Museum.

    FYI, vid plays smooth about 40 mins

  2. wally says:

    C’mon… Moyers has got to be sandbagging here, right? He’s watched these self-serving sacks of excrement his whole career and there is absolutely nothing in that whole interview that ought to even raise his eyebrows… or anybody else’s, for that matter. The fact that politics is for sale and that the ‘implied bribe’ is the tool is widespread, common knowledge in this country. Everybody knows it. Everybody knows that laws are for sale… just like everybody pretty much knew the NSA was spying on everything.
    Where Washington insiders are tone deaf is that they don’t understand that everybody knows this stuff. They really think their words hide their actions.

  3. RW says:

    No great surprises but the disconnect between the way the inside-beltway crowd perceived the book — some interesting gossip, maybe some juicy dirt — and the influence this had on the author who didn’t see great impact until he interacted with the outrage and disgust of readers outside the beltway. That helped illuminate the bubble that the DC crowd inhabits and helps explain some of the venality and the tone-deaf or arrogant moves of successive congresses and administrations: when you all swill from the same trough and wallow in the same shit it starts to smell good and those who hold their noses are obviously nobodies (or maybe due for the next batch of swill).

    • RW says:

      I think there are probably a lot more good people within the DC beltway than not but it’s also clearly akin to Bill Black’s “criminogenic environment” — the bad inexorably drives out the good because the bad is rewarded so much more handsomely and the bad becomes increasingly supported (not merely condoned) in the rationales of the players — so the revelations of DC insularity, decadence and arrogance ultimately reminded me of the classic dialogue between Captain Yossarian and Major Danby in the final chapter of Catch 22:

      You must try not to think of them,’ Major Danby advised affirmatively. ‘And you must never let them change your values. Ideals are good, but people are sometimes not so good. You must try to look up at the big picture.’

      Yossarian rejected the advice with a skeptical shake of his head. ‘When I look up, I see people cashing in. I don’t see heaven or saints or angels. I see people cashing in on every decent impulse and every human tragedy.’

      ‘But you must try not to think of that, too,’ Major Danby insisted. ‘And you must try not to let it upset you.’

      ‘Oh, it doesn’t really upset me. What does upset me, though, is that they think I’m a sucker. They think that they’re smart, and that the rest of us are dumb. And, you know, Danby, the thought occurs to me right now, for the first time, that maybe they’re right.’

  4. Moss says:

    Until the campaign finance rules are changed and the ridiculous Citizens United case is overturned (corporations ARE NOT people my friend) nothing will change. I think that the average winning Senate campaign cost 10 million.

    • wally says:

      The campaign finance rules are not going to change. Even the traditional last hope – the Supreme Court – is going along with the game. Short of a violent purge, which NSA spying and ‘Homeland Security’ aim to prevent, we are going down this road for the forseeable future.

  5. flipspiceland says:

    I’m still sputtering even though I was well aware as most americans are not (and remain so) of the venality of D.C. and the “One-Party” system so eloquently stated decades ago by Gore Vidal.

    The hatred and utter contempt these people have for the masses is enough to wish for a John Wilkes Booth with a AR-17 penetrating a full congressional session.

    This book should be mandatory reading for everyone who can read. And then they should throw out their incumbents at the very next opportunity, and continue to do so until they finally get the message that their gravy train is over, and the Supreme Court justices who voted in favor of giving corporations the same rights as human beings should be impeached.