The picture Mr. Leibovich paints of this company town as sadly self-promoting, with few workhorses and a vast stable of preening if also less-than-spectacular show horses, is as to be expected, according to the reviews. At least if you live here. There is no modest intersection of government, media, and the special-interest lobby in "This Town." Instead, it’s as if the Venn diagram of Washington, which once contained a modest overlapping center between those three worlds, has fallen in on itself, forming one large swarming circle of always-striving inhabitants.
As if to taunt this master class of very important people, Leibovich failed to include an index at the end of his book. But no matter, The Washington Post published an unauthorized version. (Pity the summer interns who spent their weekend on this project.)
So who is targeted? Will the rendering of them be devastating? Literary blows too damning to endure? Which subjects will be forced to flee to flyover territory?
Most of those chronicled are probably no-names to the vast majority of Americans outside the Beltway. They include: party-thrower and -goer and media-relations guru Tammy Haddad, super lawyer Bob Barnett, and a young congressional aide named Kurt Bardella. These folks are cogs, Leibovich suggests, with personal agendas that barely, maybe never, touch on the public interest.
Then there are the boldfaced names, weighing in on other boldfaced names – often in a fashion that makes them all seem a wee bit smaller. As a headline on the Fox News website puts it: "Book: Harry Reid Says John Kerry Has No Friends."