Mark Leibovich, the chief national correspondent for the New York Times Magazine, says that at a time when select parts of the federal government are shut down over partisan feuds, there isn't a real difference between Democrats and Republicans in Washington anymore.
The author of "This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral-Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!-in America's Gilded Capital," Leibovich believes members of both parties make up a "huge" political "insider class" made up of "political careerists."
The author appeared on the Glenn Beck Program Monday to discuss the lack of gridlock in Washington.
"These are all people who might be yelling at each other on the House floor or on cable or something, but they're cutting deals in the green room," Leibovich said. "They're going out and giving speeches and doing these dog and pony shows about, 'Oh we disagree' -- it's one big kabuki."
He summarized the situation: "What you're seeing here is not a [capitol] that's hopelessly divided -- it's hopelessly interconnected."
Leibovich said that when people go to Washington, they get a "disease" and become "institutionalized, to some degree."
"50% of all U.S. Senators, after they're kicked out of office, now stay and become lobbyists," he explained. "If they lose the election, they're going to be fine. They are set for life. They are institutionalized in the political system. 'This Town' is about what that system looks like."
Leibovich said the media is also part of that system, and he's not too popular at the moment for revealing the inner dealings in Washington.
"Part of the critique against me is, look, he's violated the unwritten rule that people on the inside are not supposed to speak critically about other people on the inside," he remarked.
But Leibovich also said he's not too concerned about his popularity, and that it's an important topic to write about.
Beck turned to the audience, saying Leibovich's book, 'This Town,' is currently "neck in neck" with a biography about former President Woodrow Wilson.
"Please, for everything that is good and sacred -- I don't care if you use it as a doorstop -- just please don't make the Woodrow Wilson thing number one," Beck, a fierce critic of the 28th president, remarked. "Please, buy this book. Please, I beg of you."
Beck added that 'This Town' is also "one of the first stories where you actually hear the truth, because [Leibovich takes] everybody apart."
"Oh yeah, this is not a Democrat or Republican book. There's no such thing as Democrats and Republicans anymore," Leibovich responded simply.
The only solution, the author said, is for people to "keep telling the truth," because the "bull crap" in Washington "is not sustainable."
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