That Town: Q&A with Mark Leibovich
Mark Leibovich talk about the allure of Washington, preemptive bribes and where Minnesota’s ‘formers’ are now
Last year, Mark Leibovich published one of the most buzzed about books of the year: This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital, a hilarious, candid, exhausting evisceration of the social climbing and status seeking bonanza Washington, D.C. has become.
Writing with an impressive distance about the culture he’s ostensibly part of, Leibovich paints a picture of the capital as powerful vortex of social, political and professional self-interest driven by the warp-speed news cycle and an obsession over who’s up and who’s down. Washington, in his eyes, has become a machine fueled by careerism where loyalties are more easily bought than ever. We talked to him about preemptive bribes, the political class and the Minnesota politicians who’ve found the pull of Washington impossible to resist.
MinnPost: I was reading in the news that when former U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar died, his only funeral was being held in Maryland. I found this surprising, but after reading your book, it was less so. I guess there was no more point in pretending he lived in Minnesota.
Mark Leibovich: Really, nothing? Well, there is the whole, “I still keep a home in (fill in the blank) state,” for when you need to impress you clients.