Washington has always had lots of lawyers — it’s the very nature of this power town; lots of liars — it’s the very nature of politics; and, as we have recently discovered, yet again, lots of real horndogs — it’s the very nature of power politics.
My concern, however, is that with so many investigations and so many people under investigation, are we in danger of running out of lawyers?
Let’s take a critical look at each of these dynamics, in reverse order:
Horndogs: Yes, Washington is full of them and it’s nothing new. Here’s the basic dynamic at work: You have a bunch of short, fat, ugly, horny guys who have never been able to attract girls. They get elected to office in the House or the Senate, and then they hire a bunch of tall, thin, beautiful young women to work for them. Don’t believe me? Go to Capitol Hill and walk around at lunch time — it’s quite a show. I didn’t realize this until I worked on the hill and attended the annual “ice cream social” — it looked to me as if the event was catered by Hooters.
So, do these congressmen make sexual overtures to the tall, thin, beautiful young women who work for them? Yes, for sure, and this has been going on for a hundred years at least.
Will it continue to go on for the next hundred years? Yes, although the current focus will cause lawmakers to be much more careful for a while. Remember also that most of these randy guys are away from home when they are in Washington, so they behave as if they are by themselves in Las Vegas. Not pretty at all.
Liars: Again, what’s new here? While it’s perhaps the very nature of politics to lie, the best way to understand this dynamic is to remember the classic line from “Seinfeld” when George says to Jerry: “It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
Most of these “lying liars” may really believe what they are saying, especially because most all of what they say is written for them by their public affairs “spinners.”
Just watch most any congressional hearing as these congressmen and -women read from their prepared statements. One wonders whether they would read literally anything that was handed to them. And we are reminded of the scene from the movie “Anchorman” when Ron Burgundy reads teleprompter copy with the “F” word, without batting an eye.
As for the spinners who write the copy read by the politicians, we need to remember Obama White House staffer Ben Rhodes, whose brother is president of CBS News, and his “echo chamber” of “27-year-old know nothings” he depended on to spin the Benghazi attack. By the way, most insiders expect to see brother Ben as a CBS News reader or “analyst” — after a cooling-off period from his blatant partisan politics in the Obama administration.
Lawyer: It’s more than ironic, perhaps, that many — if not most — of the politicians in Washington are also lawyers, and that Washington probably has more lawyers per capita than any other place in the world.
But it’s not this aspect of the dynamic that concerns me the most. What scares me is that with so many people and scandals being investigated, will we have enough lawyers to go around?
You may laugh at this very idea — and I admit to a certain amount of satire here — but just look at what’s going on in Washington. Congressmen are hiring lots of lawyers, former officials are hiring lots of lawyers, the White House is hiring lots of lawyers — and even the lawyers are hiring lawyers.
This has contributed to the largest legal boom the town has ever seen, and there is no end in sight. It may even have longer-term repercussions for our nations’ law schools, which have been suffering declining enrollments in recent years.
So, will we survive?
Sure, and watching the evening news will continue to be entertaining, especially as more and more sex scandals are revealed — and they will be, because that part of the D.C. culture is not about to change, nor has it ever been any different.
It’s a sad commentary but true — we elect these folks and too often we keep them in office, even though we should know better. Is it all part of the “swamp”? You bet.
• Daniel Gallington writes about national security.