This Town's Mark Leibovich on Shaming D.C.'s Power Elite

"People now come here to get rich," explains Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and author of the DC-centered book This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral - plus plenty of valet parking! - in America's Gilded Capital. "Twenty years ago, theoretically, this was a city built on public service."

From the ugly networking at Tim Russert's funeral to the incestuous relationship between media and politicians to the naked desire to cash out on one's "public service" by becoming a lobbyist, Leibovich's horrifying peek at life within Washington's elite has something to offend every American.

"What I try to do is give voice to the entire carnival here," Leibovich tells Reason's Nick Gillespie. "[I wanted] to give readers outside of Washington...a fuller sense of what the full movie looks like."

Approx. 12:30 minutes.

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Camera by Joshua Swain and Bragg.

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  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Old school Buccaneer gear. I believe him already.

  • John||

    Reporter in post game press conference: "Coach McKay, how do you feel about the team executing the offense?"

    John McKay, "I think it is a pretty good idea."

  • Sevo||

    Tossed him a fat one, did they?

  • John||

    The thing with DCs elite is what social losers they all are. Name me a politician or media figure in DC that wouldn't be considered a complete social retard anywhere else? And some of them, people like Yglesias have obvious developmental and social adjustment issues.

    They have all of this power and money. But they are complete losers as people.

  • ||

    It takes a special kind of person to be a impressed by a politician. Probably the same kind of person who's impressed by a life counselor. Or a public school principal.

  • JW||

    I think your'e talking about the wonks and the other mid-level peasants who make a living in DC off of the system.

    Politicians are the ultimate social animal, the biggest schmoozers; it's part and parcel of the job description. They can and will flatter and charm you, engage you in what looks like a spirited conversation, all the while lying through their teeth or thinking about tomorrow's agenda while you talk.

    Which makes perfect sense, considering that the bulk of them are sociopaths.

  • timbo||

    You're right but I do agree with john.

    If these dickheads were not in power, people would turn the other way immediately if they were talking in a bar.
    And the people that are impressed are usually complete tools.
    A political fan is tantamount to a sports nerd who quotes caddy shack all of the time.

  • Nazdrakke||

    "Twenty years ago, theoretically, this was a city built on public service."

    I've read history as a hobby since I was 9 years old and I'm still searching for this gilded age of noble government that always seems to be set 20-30 years before whatever time period I'm reading about.

  • Warrren||

    Yeah, what was the government that wasn't filled with the corrupt, vile, and self-serving? And when was that?

  • Sevo||

    Washington griped about the gov't contractors extracting 'pelf' for the supplies provided the army, so you'll need to look further back than that.

  • effinayright||

    You miss the point. US government wasn't anywhere near as huge and powerful in the past, and as a result it's "corrupt, vile, and self-serving" class (a) wasn't anywhere near as large , and (b) had a helluva lot less "spoils" to fight over.

  • timbo||

    But vile and corrupt going back to the first organized government ever. when you organize a group and give them power and other people's money, you have scum politicians immediately.

  • ||

    They can and will flatter and charm you

    That part always comes across to me as incredibly creepy. But, then, they are selling themselves.

  • Wat Tyler||

    Shaming D.C.'s Power Elite?
    One can only shame someone who has a conscience. A politician, by definition, has no shame.

  • TheSpiteHouse||

    So I guess the analogy for politicians is...bots.

  • TheSpiteHouse||

    Spambots in particular.

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  • deeyui||

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  • timbo||

    wie geht es Ihnen

    You do know this is a website for stupid americans. None of us know two languages. We have been watching owe my balls for 25 years now.

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