I’ve just finished reading the book The List, about a DC journalist and her quest to make a name for herself in Washington’s overflowing power smorgasbord. The author, Karin Tanabe, was a reporter at Politico, that most inside-the-beltway of publications that has grown to set the media (and often political) agenda of the nation’s capital.
Tanabe clearly has a great sense of humor and a handful of self-deprecation to boot. Through her affable voice, she captures the incestuous nature of DC and its navel-gazing culture. She adds to the realism with some badly dressed bureaucrats who are enthralled with their own power. (I find Washington to be the frumpiest city I have ever been to. But many Washingtonians think that adding a badge on a lanyard makes a polyester suit classy.)
Many of her descriptions of trying to interview important people in the so-called halls of power brought me back to my time in the mosh pit of Washington journalism. I discovered that the halls of power were more like the halls of high school, with every wannabe prom king or queen manipulating the masses for votes, often using the most childish tactics. This is a place where legislative correspondents speak as though they are saving the world, rather than opening mail from constituents.
It is this same culture that I try to capture in Victor in the Rubble. While my manuscript deals with an intelligence officer, the overall theme is Washington’s inability to see beyond itself.
Check out The List. And take a Sneak Peek at Victor in the Rubble.
And send me comments about both, or either, or anything at all. Even if it’s just to tell me it’s raining where you are. Where are you, by the way?