Scattered throughout “This Town,” the new book on power and pettiness in the nation’s capital by New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich, is a series of tips for making it in Washington, D.C.
The tips are based on the author’s observations of politicians and lobbyists, congressional staffers and journalists, party hacks and party-throwers.
Here are a few of the best:
• Professional ambiguity: “You know you’ve made it in D.C. when someone says . . . ‘It isn’t clear what he does’ . . . about you.”
• Fair warning: “Nothing is more important in Washington than giving or getting a ‘heads-up,’ the better to avoid the intolerable humiliation of being surprised or blindsided by some piece of information.”
• Humblebragging: “While a focused and surgical ambition is vital to success in D.C., the ability to be appropriately sheepish about it is more so.”
• Rainmaking: “You can be the most detestable person in the world . . . but you would still be assured of having thousands of elegant friends by being a good fundraiser.”
• The Haley Barbour rule: “He told one friend that his main goal was to get paid by as many people as possible for doing as little work as possible.”
• Not from here: “Refashion (yourself) as a Washington outsider type . . . a smart political strategy in this day and age.”
• Make sure they see you pray: “Public faith does tend to be the first step in any Washington rehab.”
• Feigned indifference, aka the Hillary 2016 rule: “There’s no better point of seduction in politics than being reluctant, or acting it.”
• The Gore Vidal rules: “Never turn down an opportunity for sex or being on TV” and “Success is not enough. One’s friends must fail.”Carlos Lozado is a Washington Post editor.