This Town Melts Down

Mark Leibovich is the author of the 2013 New York Times bestseller “This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral – plus plenty of valet parking – in America’s Gilded Capital.”

On Sunday July 16, he follows up with This Town Melts Down in The New York Times Magazine.

Chances are political junkies will read it, read about it or both.

I suggest both.

Perhaps there have always been calls for a third party but we now seem very close to having one, or maybe even two or three.

There are Democrats in two flavors: Pussy Hat Progressive and Don’t Be Silly.

Republicans are divided between The Base and Holy Shit.

Morning Joe co-host, Joe Scarborough, recently exited the Holy Shit wing of the Republican party in favor of None of the Above.

None of the four factions has a majority and, if a second choice were offered, Disgusted would show well.

When I read his story, I tried to decide if Leibovich was snarky or nasty. I think he is both but he moves back and forth between the two, sort of like the debate about whether Trump is a psychopath or a sociopath. Since few of us really know the differences between the two pairs of words, you might as well go with “both” for each pair.

What is not in doubt is that Leibovich is accurate. What is also beyond doubt is that reactions to the story will depend entirely on which wing of which party you call home.

Is Leibovich a Pussy Hat Progressive or a Don’t Be Silly? I am not sure, but it doesn’t really matter. He is definitely not a Holy Shit or he would have depicted the current situation more as an extension of prior Washington conduct – okay a substantial extension – rather than a phenomenon that appeared from nowhere descending the escalator of Trump Tower.

Read his story, watch him on the talk shows as Trump critics suck up to him or Base commanders attack him. Neither group will be discussing anything that matters; they only care about his impact on the preferred narrative. He didn’t care about anything that mattered either or, if he did, he did not include it in the story.

Imagine the kind of person who thrives on reporting and writing this story. Imagine the contrast between what he had to do to get people to talk with him and then what he did to them.

Then imagine that Mark Leibovich is not an outlier. This town is full of them.

14 Responses to “This Town Melts Down”

Brandy, July 13, 2017 at 7:02 am said:

From far outside the Beltway/Swamp – Mark who? 🙂


Haven Pell, July 13, 2017 at 7:05 am said:

Leibovich the author of the story in NYT mag that I wrote about and linked to.


Gaetano Cipriano, July 13, 2017 at 7:32 am said:

I hope I live long enough to see the Chinese Fire Drill which Congress conducts when Social Security and Medicare crater. The spineless weasels in both parties will have to step up and do something. God forbid they should show a little courage and take a stitch in time early. I”ll read the Leibovich piece. Sounds interesting.


Haven Pell, July 13, 2017 at 7:39 am said:

I think I should use the term spineless weasel more often. Thanks for the reminder.


Gaetano Cipriano, July 13, 2017 at 7:56 am said:

There are a few Cassandra’s trying to get the attention of their colleagues and the American people, but not enough. My suspicion is that the congressmen and women are incapable of doing fourth grade math which would explain their inaction. When the New deal programs melt down , and they will melt down, the hand wringing and breathless recriminations will be delicious to watch. Then Congress will need to take a chain saw to spending just to survive. They could use a little scalpel now and with some nips and tucks make some real progress.


Haven Pell, July 13, 2017 at 7:59 am said:

I think they can do the math but their sole priority is getting reelected. The recriminations will happen to the next guy.


diana, July 13, 2017 at 7:34 am said:

too funny–perhaps because it hits the nail(s) on head(s)!!


Haven Pell, July 13, 2017 at 7:55 am said:

His article is good too and worth reading


GARRARD GLENN, July 13, 2017 at 10:43 am said:

It seems everyone senses an eventual meltdown. It looks like it will be debt, again. China and Japan are at about 250% public debt vs. annual GDP. All the Euro countries are very high as well. The U.S. is toying with 100%. And it all keeps going up. Corporate debt has risen since the
Fed started handing out free money.

Who can stop this? Trump? Xi? Ryan? Macron? Corbyn? Abe? Sean Hannity? David Brooks?
Ross Douthat? David Ignatius? Joe Scarborough?

All fear nobody can stop it. But one fellow, whose country has little debt, will enjoy the DemosMelt (as opposed to a Tunamelt.)

His name is Vladimir Putin.


Haven Pell, July 13, 2017 at 12:04 pm said:

the debt clock ticks quietly but it never stops ticking. And I bet it gets really loud at the end.


PATTON, July 13, 2017 at 11:36 am said:

I’m excited to see Scarborough jumping out in front of this. Regardless of his motivations it shows that a 3rd party and also renouncing hyper-partisan versions of Left or Right is “marketable.” If he can prove this out others will follow. We are in a time when individuals, brands and orgs can use their own platforms. E.g. Joe Scarborough is not reliant upon establishment for success. He can have his own YouTube channel, website, etc. to prove viability.


Haven Pell, July 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm said:

well, I guess we are going to see aren’t we. Maybe there will be a Kardashain party too?


PATTON, July 13, 2017 at 12:18 pm said:

God I hope not. That’s certainly the dark side of marketability… However, I think there is a certain barrier to entry and know-how. The recent mutterings of Kid Rock running for a seat in 2018 in Michigan is horrifying. Plato’s Philosopher Kings will truly be relegated to the past if they haven’t already been.


Haven Pell, July 14, 2017 at 10:29 am said:

The idea of philosopher kings now looks like Renaissance paintings of St. Sebastian

Shot full of arrows.


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