“[Expletive] the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.” – Secretary Hillary Clinton, from This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America’s Gilded Capital, by Mark Leibovich
INSIDER GOSSIP book “This Town,” by Mark Leibovich, has been talked about for months. The latest quote from the book getting attention is former Secretary Clinton’s f-bomb, her language reportedly also going to be a component of the upcoming biopic on her, “Rodham.”
As a woman who also uses similar salty language, Clinton uttering such an expletive is hardly news, but it is amusing considering she’s talking about the elite media prom. It’s emotionally descriptive, while giving a perfect review of the importance of The Prom that hardly should be discussed in the same sentence as the bin Laden raid.
There isn’t an index, but in a hilarious move that reveals the obsession of the establishment on what’s being said about them, the Washington Post has offered an A to Z list for those establishment players concerned they might be in the new book.
The Beltway is riveted, waiting for the book’s publication on July 16, but whether anyone else will care is another story.
If advance dish is true, the New York Times Magazine writer doesn’t mince depictions of the establishment that stalk the halls of Washington, D.C. power, including the “media industrial complex,” which is described as “incestuous” in the book’s promotional at Amazon.
It’s not bad, but the longer I roamed around “This Town,” the more I thought Leibovich should have borrowed Newsweek’s memorable post-Sept. 11, 2001, cover line: “Why They Hate Us.” His tour through Washington only feeds the worst suspicions anyone can have about the place — a land driven by insecurity, hypocrisy and cable hits, where friendships are transactional, blind-copying is rampant and acts of public service appear largely accidental.
Only two things keep you turning pages between gulps of Pepto: First, in Leibovich’s hands, this state of affairs is not just depressing, it’s also kind of funny. Second, you want to know whether the author thinks anyone in Washington — anyone at all? — is worthy of redemption.
[...] Here’s how some Leading Thinkers came out: In “This Town,” we’re told that Chris Matthews and Matt Lauer have joked that David Gregory would rub out a few colleagues to advance his career. That Bill and Hillary Clinton are convinced that Tim Russert disliked them, and that they’re not wrong. That Harry Reid has “observed privately to colleagues” that John Kerry has no friends. That West Wing types suspected Valerie Jarrett had “earpiece envy” after David Axelrod got Secret Service protection, and so arranged the same for herself. And that when a national security official suggested that Obama shouldn’t skip the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Dinner on the weekend of the Osama bin Laden raid because the media might get suspicious, Hillary Clinton looked up and issued her verdict: “[Expletive] the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.”
The publisher is Blue Rider Press, with the book sold by Penguin Publishing. As modern publishing goes, it takes several alliances to get a book to the public. Also in the Amazon blurb is the acknowledgement of some additions to the book since the original buzz began: “And how an administration bent on “changing Washington” can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath.”
Leibovich begins the book…
“Yes, I’m guilty,” he writes in the prologue. “I write about national politics at a big media outlet. I’ve been in This Town sixteen years, nine spent working for the Washington Post and the last seven for the New York Times. I have a title, an affiliation, and a business card that seem to impress. People appear to believe I am worth knowing (and I must be, because sometimes I get to go on Morning Joe!). I have lots of ‘Washington friends’ and also some real ones. People then ask, legitimately, would it be possible to write honestly about The Club from the inside? ’Who discovered water?’ goes the old Yiddish riddle. ‘I don’t know, but it wasn’t a fish.’ I am a fish. I have chosen to live, work, and raise my family in the murk.” [Politico]
We won’t love the book, either. It is clear that POLITICO and Playbook are portrayed as enablers of the culture Leibovich lampoons. (See: this column). He will write about how often Barnett appears in our publication, as both a source and subject, and how often POLITICO is setting the narrative on stories he argues are superficial or trivial. Mike is the subject of at least a chapter – drawn largely from the New York Times Magazine profile that helped win the “This Town” book contract — that paints him as suspiciously popular with people in power, oddly private and the middleman in many news transactions in town.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appears in the following spots, according the the Post’s public index: prologue, ch. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, epilogue.
Other names for the book that had been considering were “The Club” and “Suck-Up City.”