Since it is Nerd Prom Day, it must be time for navel-gazing. Or, time to discuss the attempted preemptive strike Politico blasted at Mark Liebovich’s soon-to-be-released book This Town: The Way It Works in Suck Up City. It appears that Mike Allen is defecating bricks. The defense that he and Jim VandeHei have constructed reads more like they waived their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. At least, it reads that way when they aren’t using the “everybody does it” defense. Neither approach works since saying that everybody you know is at least as big of an asshole as you are is not really a defense. Liebovich’s book is about the culture of Washington. It is not about Mike Allen even if it turns out to be true that there is an entire chapter dedicated to him.
Perhaps the least shocking revelation in the piece is the fact that Tim Russert’s 2008 funeral was sullied by people who bargained for better seats and conducted inside deals between the eulogies. It appears that the spectacle was sufficiently unholy that it formed the inspiration for Liebovich’s book.
Two people familiar with the book said it opens with a long, biting take on Russert’s 2008 funeral, where Washington’s self-obsession – and lack of self-awareness – was on full display. The book argues that all of Washington’s worst virtues were exposed, with over-the-top coverage of his death, jockeying for good seats at a funeral and Washington insiders transacting business at the event.
“He’s at every single party, and NOW he takes the knife out?” protested one of Leibovich’s subjects. “And Russert’s funeral? People are appalled.”
They are appalled that Liebovich is appalled. Because he’s one of them. He was right there sharing the cocktail weinees, so who is he to talk out of school?
This is why the White House Correspondents Dinner invites such scorn. The culture surrounding it is rotten to the very core.