Ezra Klein Reviews “Confidence Men,” and Finds it Sorely Lacking

Ezra Klein, AKA Beltway Bob

Ezra Klein (AKA Beltway Bob) is really coming up in the world. He somehow managed to get a gig writing a review of Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men for the New York Review of Books. I’m impressed, I must admit.

As you probably guessed already, Klein is quite critical of the book. In fact he thinks Suskind should have written a completely different kind book instead–maybe even a couple of different kinds of books.

As I see it, Suskind set out to write an interesting and entertaining political book about Obama’s economic advisers, how they interacted with each other and the President, and how administration economic policy took shape over the first couple of years. The book is gossipy and very much focused on the people involved and their relationships with each other. As a psychologist, I found it fascinating to read Suskind’s insights.

Klein admits that

The work that went into Confidence Men cannot be denied. Suskind conducted hundreds of interviews. He spoke to almost every member of the Obama administration, including the President…He takes you inside…the Oval Office. He heads to Wall Street and back. He quotes memos no one else has published. He gives you scenes that no one else has managed to capture.

But that isn’t good enough. Klein disapproves of the gossipy, personality-centered tone of Confidence Men. He wants Suskind to provide evidence for his personal assessments of people. For example, Klein objects to Suskind’s description of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s appearance at Obama’s announcement that Elizabeth Warren would be working with Geithner to set up a consumer agency that she had first conceived of and then fought for. Although Warren didn’t know it yet, she would never head the agency, because Geithner had already made a deal with the bankers: they would accept a consumer agency as long as Warren wasn’t put in charge.

Here’s the passage that Klein found offensive:

This has caused discomfort not only for the president, but also for his top lieutenants, including the boyish man in the too-long jacket at Obama’s right hip, bunched cuffs around his shoes, looking more than anything like a teenager who just grabbed a suit out of dad’s closet. That’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, looking sheepish.

Klein so objected to this paragraph that he felt he had to go watch the announcement again himself, to see if Suskind’s description was accurate.

I prefer to verify. So I went back to the tape. I rewatched the September 2010 press conference where Obama introduced Warren to the country. I paid special attention to Geithner. Suskind’s right: his suit is too big. But he doesn’t look sheepish or ashamed. He looks, by turns, bored and interested. He clasps his hands behind his back. He nods attentively. He tries not to fidget. He looks like every experienced bureaucrat looks when they’re asked to stand like a prop near the president. Blank, and trying not to make any news. He failed.

But Klein doesn’t offer any evidence for his observations either. How can he know what Geithner was thinking–that he tried “not to fidget” and tried “not to make any news?” He can’t. Klein has shared his own observations and interpretations, just as Suskind did.  But Klein finds it annoying. He didn’t want to read a book about people, based on the close observations and opinions of its author. No, Klein wanted a book about policy, and he felt that

…any account of what he [Obama] has done wrong, or what he could do right, needs to provide, first and foremost, a persuasive case of how the White House could have done more to promote an economic recovery over the last three years, or could do more to accelerate one now.

Klein wanted a wonky book, heavy on policy and light on human interest, and he can’t understand why Suskind wrote something different. Quite honestly, I think Klein should go right ahead and write a book like that if he wants to. It wouldn’t be as much fun to read as Suskind’s book, but it might make people like Matt Yglesias and Brad DeLong happy.

Still, Klein seems to have an inkling of why Suskind might have wanted to write an entertaining book that would sell well instead a book for policy wonks:

That account, however, doesn’t make for as satisfying a story. It’s not about heroes and villains, or dramatic meetings and angry confrontations. It’s about tough tradeoffs between what was politically possible, operationally plausible, and substantively wise. It is about whether more stimulus could have passed Congress or a different chairman of the Federal Reserve would have unleashed more effective monetary policy. And it’s much more about the collision of America’s political and economic institutions than the collision of particular personalities.

By the way, it’s quite clear from reading Suskind’s descriptions of the President that he (Suskind) deeply admires Obama and that he had and still has high hopes for this administration. Just look at the opening lines of the first chapter:

President Barack Obama dances lightly down the four marble steps to the Rose Garden and across the flagstones to a waiting lectern. He still glides, elegant and purposeful, in that tall man’s short-step–a ballplayer returning to the court after a time-out.

This kind of fawning praise of Obama’s style and grace continues throughout the book.  It really stood out for me, but Klein never mentions it. Perhaps it seemed too subjective and biased to be worthy of note.

In the first chapter, Suskind mentions that Robert Wolf, President and CEO of UBS, often joked back in 2007 that he had “a non-sexual crush” on Obama the candidate. Because of his admiration for Obama, Wolf kept the candidate informed about what was happening on Wall Street and warned him way ahead of time about the crash that was rapidly approaching.

Obviously Obama’s ability to charm other men has paid off handsomely for him. Based on my reading of his book, I have the impression that Suskind himself had a man-crush on Obama, just as many male progressive bloggers did in 2008 and early 2009 at least. Maybe that was true of Ezra Klein too, and maybe that’s why it’s so hard for him to read or write anything critical of Obama.

Now let’s talk about what’s missing from Beltway Bob’s Ezra Klein’s review.

Klein never mentions one of the more important conflicts that took place within the administration, caused by (IMHO) Obama’s dismissive attitudes toward women, which resulted in his allowing his female economic advisers to be treated disrespectfully and in Obama not listening to and following their advice. Apparently, Suskind’s detailed descriptions of the treatment of women in the administration were of a no concern to Klein at all–not even worth a single mention in a lengthy book review!

I’m not going to go through all the examples of Obama’s “woman problem,” because we’ve talked about them here and I know you’ve read about them in the media. But what if Obama had listened to the women he had hired to advise him?

What if he had fought to give Elizabeth Warren a powerful role in his administration? What if he hadn’t let Tim Geithner shut Sheila Bair out of meeting and conference calls and keep her in the dark about important policy decisions? What if Obama had met with Brooksley Born and asked her how she predicted that failing to regulate derivatives trading would lead to a financial crisis? What if he had listened to Christina Romer when she tried to explain to him (during the transition) that more could be done with monetary policy? Or when she argued for much larger stimulus? Of course listening to these women might have helped.

As Klein points out, the thesis of Suskind’s book is that the younger, more innovative economists who surrounded Obama during the campaign might have advanced more exciting and effective policies than Summers and Geithner, who clearly had been involved in causing the financial crisis in the first place.

That makes sense to me, but Klein doesn’t buy it. In fact, he is very protective of Summers and Geithner. He argues that Suskind tries to make them into bad guys, but then, paradoxically, sometimes they come off in the book as good guys–especially Summers. Frankly, most human beings behave inconsistently, but Klein seems not to know that. Suskind probably assumed that his readers would have some basic understanding of human nature.

I can think of many other alternatives to what actually happened. For example, it might have helped if Obama had focused on the economy and jobs from day one, rather than spending a year on a “health care reform” plan that Americans will see almost no benefit from until after 2013 at the earliest.  Klein mentions the possibility and then dismisses it.   I’m sure you can think of plenty of other possibilities, but Klein can’t. In the end, he thinks Obama was pretty much powerless against Congress and the bureaucracy (or something) to do anything differently than he did. Some examples of Klein’s excuses:

It is easy to tell the story of what the White House did wrong in its response to the financial crisis: it underestimated it. It had good reason to underestimate it, of course. Almost everyone was underestimating it. In the fourth quarter of 2008, when Obama’s economic team was meeting in Chicago to map out their policies, the Bureau of Economic Accounts thought the economy was contracting at a rate of 3.8 percent per year. It wouldn’t be until this year that we learned the economy was really contracting at a rate of 9 percent. And it wasn’t just the BEA. The Federal Reserve has been continuously overoptimistic. So have the leading private forecasting firms, like Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Analytics. And so have Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan.

The observers who got it right were the ones who could tell a story that didn’t rely on the early data. Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart, who would publish This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, their epic history of financial crises, in late 2009, saw that the recovery would be slow and tough. Economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitz, who were more knowledgeable about the struggles over recession in Japan and had their own Keynesian understanding of financial panics, were also suitably pessimistic….

The problem is political. Having very publicly passed a very big policy that you promised would revive the economy, the country blames you when the economy does not, in fact, revive. Your policies are discredited and your opponents are emboldened. You lose seats in the next election and your leverage over lawmakers. So you can’t, with any prospect of success, go back to the well and ask for a bigger stimulus or more money to buy up bad mortgages. And then, when the economy gets worse, you’re simultaneously in charge and out of options. You came to Washington promising change and now you’re begging for patience. It’s a crummy situation, and there’s no combination of policy proposals or speeches that can get you out of it. But this is the vise that has tightened around Barack Obama’s presidency.

Can’t, can’t, can’t. Is the presidency really that weak an office? Klein claims that no one predicted that the economic crisis would be as bad as it was; yet Suskind provides examples of Wall Street Insiders like UBS’ Wolf who warned Obama long in advance about how bad the meltdown would be. Early in his administration according to Suskind, Obama was carefully reading Krugman’s columns in order to be able to argue with Larry Summers during their meetings.

Would younger advisers who, unlike Larry Summers, were still doing academic research have made a difference? Klein says different advisers could only have led to different results “around the margins.” One by one, Klein sets up straw horses and knocks them down, finally concluding that the most powerful man in the post powerful country on earth was too weak and too “constrained” by politics to do what needed to be done.

Has Klein ever read anything about Franklin Roosevelt and the first 100 days of the New Deal? In the depths of the Great Depression, the country facing disaster:

FDR quickly won congressional passage for a series of social, economic, and job-creating bills that greatly increased the authority of the federal government—the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, which supplied states and localities with federal money to help the jobless; the Civil Works Administration to create jobs during the first winter of his administration; and the Works Progress Administration, which replaced FERA, pumped money into circulation, and concentrated on longer-term projects. The Public Works Administration focused on creating jobs through heavy construction in such areas as water systems, power plants, and hospitals. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. protected bank accounts. The Civilian Conservation Corps provided jobs for unemployed young men. The Tennessee Valley Authority boosted regional development. Also approved were the Emergency Banking Act, the Farm Credit Act, and the National Industrial Recovery Act.

About three-quarters of the way through Confidence Men, Suskind quotes from FDR’s first inaugural address. Referring to the bankers of his day, Roosevelt said:

Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The speech continues:

Yes, the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.

What if Obama had said something like that in his inaugural address? And what if he had gone on to follow Roosevelt’s example, creating a new CCC and a new WPA, as Robert Reich has repeatedly recommended? What if Obama had used his bully pulpit to rouse the American people from their stupor and inspire them to fight back against the forces of greed and despair?

Unfortunately, Obama wasn’t capable of that, even if he had had the imagination to conceive of it.   But it’s what a true leader would have done.  Like Obama, Ezra Klein has so little vision that he can’t imagine something like this happening–even though it did happen many years ago at another time when our nation needed saving.

44 Comments on “Ezra Klein Reviews “Confidence Men,” and Finds it Sorely Lacking”

  1. dakinikat says:

    He’s a young guy that must’ve been raised in a sterile jar. He seems very naive. He probably has an expensive copy of the Hope Poster hanging in his dorm room.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I can’t believe the NYRB let him do the review. They’ve gone down a peg in my estimation.

    • bostonboomer says:

      You should read the comments on Yglesias’s post praising Klein’s notion that monetary policy was Obama’s big mistake. You’ll get a kick out of them.

      • bostonboomer says:

        One great comment:

        “But the Federal Reserve is the U.S. government’s primary recession-fighting agency.”

        This is just so laughably, depressingly false that I don’t know where to begin. The US Congress could pass a handful of bills in a single night that could have an impact that would dwarf ten years of Fed monetary manipulations. When I read a statement like this it’s like confronting someone who just said that the Department of Energy is the US government’s primary war-fighting agency.

        I hate to get all generational on this, but I sometimes get the feeling that everyone I talk with who is under 40 has been educated by idiots, using idiot textbooks, into believing idiot theories of the way the economic world does work and can work. The US government is a chained colossus, and the reason it is chained is because a generation of neoliberal government-hating thinkers and their students like Matt have developed and continue to promulgate the ideology that keeps it chained up.

        Barack Obama’s fatal flaw is that he too has been educated to believe in the evils of an activist, engaged government running a powerful public sector, so that even when he starts to do something good with the government, he feels guilty and bad about it afterward, and rushes to put on the austerity sackcloth so he can atone.

      • dakinikat says:

        That column is what you get when you have some one with a BA in philosophy trying to write about economics. He has so many basics wrong about monetary policy it’s not even funny. And Klein’s degree is in literature.

        Does any one see a problem with this besides me?

        I certainly wouldn’t want my information on nuclear physics coming from some one with degrees in literature and philosophy. Do these newspapers assign the NASA beat to people with esoteric degrees and no background in the field? No wonder we see the newspapers go geegaw over junk science studies if that’s true. Philosophy majors reporting on medical advances or engineering discoveries?

        These guys must have missed the lectures or not had them on basic IS LM analysis and the fundamentals of the FED. I can’t believe some one’s criticism is that a President didn’t do something for monetary policy? The president’s role is fiscal policy and this president seems to have no idea about it as witnessed by the narrative on Romer’s interactions. The key to the fuck ups are in those episodes.

    • Beata says:

      Beltway Bob = Bubble Boy

      The description of Timmy G. wearing his daddy’s suit must have struck a nerve with Ezra. Ezra’s mother always buys her boy’s suits a little big hoping he will grow into them someday.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        That’s a good one Beata…

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yeah, that occurred to me. Ezra is probably sensitive about being so young and wet behind the ears. But I can’t understand why these progs are so protective of Larry Summers.

      • foxyladi14 says:


      • bostonboomer says:

        Yes, Larry Summers was president of Harvard. He did a terrible job, alienated people right and left and finally made a remark about women in science that made Harvard look bad world-wide. He was forced to resign. But I don’t know why that would make Klein protective of him.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          I don’t know, a sort of elitist form of loyalty? Well, what ever it is, there are so many of these young journolisters who have big man crushes on a few politicians and advisors and will support them no matter what.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      That is so funny Dak, and you are probably right.

  2. quixote says:

    Thanks for reading that drivel so I didn’t have to, Bostonboomer! I only managed to buffalo my way through the first page, and based on that you’ve let him off lightly.

    • bostonboomer says:

      He’s just a nerdy kid. But he’s pretty influential for someone with so little imagination.

  3. Thursday's Child says:

    The contrast between how great Obama was supposed to be and how he really is is funny, or it would be if not for the seriousness of the problems we face. Beltway Bob sounds just like my obamabot cousin and friend (two different people), one excuse after another. They sound pathetic. My friend almost had a nervous breakdown arguing with me about Obama.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Even when Ezra gets up the nerve to criticize Obama just a little bit in one of his blog pieces, he usually starts backtracking quickly and reverses course by the end. It’s so funny.

  4. ralphb says:

    If the presidency is such a pathetically weak office, then how would Beltway Bob explain the astounding success of George W Bush in getting almost everything he wanted? Bush’s policies were all wrong but he implemented whatever he wanted with R’s or D’s in control of Congress. I shudder to think what he might have done with a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.

    Bush puts the lie to all the Obamabot excuses.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good point. Bush got just about everything he wanted except privatization of social security. That’s Obama’s job.

    • northwestrain says:

      ralphb — ain’t that the truth!!

      0bama had the majority in both houses and he had no idea what to do — because he is at heart a republican.

  5. Pilgrim says:

    BostonBoomer: What an excellent review of Klein’s review.

    I’m halfway through the Suskind book, enjoying it greatly.

    It’s interesting to see how the Obama-adorers are flipping their lids about the dishing-ness of Suskind’s writing, and to recall how delighted they were with similar stuff from Woodward in his later work on the Bush admin.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’d like to go through the book a second time to catch anything I missed. I like everything about it except the fawning descriptions of Obama.

  6. northwestrain says:

    Good thing BB can stand to read crap from Beltway Bob — and that nick name says it all!

    Belway Bobbie looks just like what I expect an 0bot to look like — creepy — working on his computer in the basement — living on junk food. He’s probably suffering from high fructose corn syrup poisoning. That’s the ticket — 0bots are suffering from junk food poisoning.

    ——– Weather update and observations.
    I hope this storm doesn’t go full speed east — we spent the day heading south and fighting the wind. We are now in Southern NM — and the temps should say above freezing.

    There is a lot of obvious poverty on the reservations.

    I doubt that any of the candidates for Prez, Senator has seen the extreme poverty that a huge number of folks deal with daily.

    Seeing the poverty and the semi homeless people (folks who own some sort of RV and who live full time at the cheaper RV parks) — makes me realize that in many ways the US is a third world country. The Indian Reservations are mostly third world — even the ones with casinos.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      That is real interesting NWRain, I would like to hear more about your trip through the reservations. I know that here in the Cherokee Nation (In North Carolina) the poverty that surrounds Harrahs is so obvious, but I would imagine the folks who visit the casino never notice it.

      • northwestrain says:

        Today I saw so many ti ny home — one was made of old trailers. In fact vintage trailers are part of the Reservations. Many of the home and shelters aren’t much different than one would see in any rural third world country. Three years ago in the same area I saw pre-manufactured hogans — which indicated that at least some tribal members had some sort of income to buy traditional dwellings. This time the lots selling the hogans were out of business. There are also the traditional herds of Angora goats and sheep, as well as horses. The land is very poor — many acres required for one small livestock. Also this area has been through a long drought. Cars are old and most barely work. I saw a lot of signs — cash loads on value of your car.

        Some of the casinos are probably well run — and the tribal leaders put money back into the community.

        I expect that most people drive by and don’t even think about what they are seeing. Most people haven’t visited 3rd world countries to realize what they are seeing.

      • northwestrain says:

        That should read — cash loaned on car titles. I’m guessing that one would have to be really down on their luck to bet against a loan shark that they can pay back the loan.

      • quixote says:

        Speaking of betting against loan sharks, there’s a really good multipart series in the LATimes about the low end of the used car business. Preying on people who can’t get credit to charge them 22% loans, repossess cars, and then re-sell them again. Profits average around 38%, derivatives of these subprime auto loans are packaged and are favorites on Wall St. For some reason, it all sounds so familiar….

    • Thursday's Child says:

      I know that here in the Cherokee Nation (In North Carolina) the poverty that surrounds Harrahs is so obvious, but I would imagine the folks who visit the casino never notice it.

      The poverty that surrounds Harrah’s (Trump’s Palace and all the other casinos) is terrible in Atlantic City too. I don’t go to the casinos, but I doubt the folks who visit them here notice it either.

  7. ralphb says:

    Apologize for being OT, but it’s about time for these actions. Well, it’s way past time but …

    Greg Lippmann Calls for Mortgage Forgiveness After Winning Subprime Wagers

    Greg Lippmann, the former Deutsche Bank AG trader who gained fame for his bets against subprime mortgages before the housing market collapsed, is calling for debt forgiveness for U.S. homeowners.

    “Principal reductions are necessary to help ameliorate the housing crisis,” Lippmann, chief investment officer for New York-based hedge fund LibreMax Capital LLC, said in an Oct. 31 letter to investors obtained by Bloomberg News. The step will also lower losses on loans underlying mortgage bonds, he said.

    Lippmann, who co-founded LibreMax last year and oversees more than $900 million, joins a growing group of advocates for the increased use of mortgage modifications designed to keep borrowers in their homes by reducing their loan amounts. Current efforts to rework home loans mainly only lower monthly payments.

    Pacific Investment Management Co., manager of the world’s largest bond fund, Harvard University economics professor Martin Feldstein and California’s attorney general are supporting mortgage forgiveness after the biggest drop in U.S. home values since the Great Depression left almost a quarter of mortgage borrowers owing more than their properties’ values, according to CoreLogic Inc. data.

  8. Peggy Sue says:

    Truly enjoyed this, BB. I haven’t read Suskind’s book but I know from reading other books and other reviews, both before and after, that often the review says as much about the reviewer as it does the particular book. From what you’ve written, this is certainly the case of the Klein review. Klein strikes me as a shameless Obama apologist. Beltway Bob is a perfect pseudonym for him. He took one of the talking heads’ places for a week or so on MSNBC or CNN [can’t remember] and I thought he was positively dreadful.

    And btw, does every male in DC have a man-crush on Obama? I do not understand it. All I see is a chilly detachment. It must be a guy thing! And I do believe that Obama hasn’t an FDR cell in his body, mind or heart. Despite all protests to the contrary, I see very little empathy in the man and scant evidence that he believes that government can be effective in people’s lives. To even utter his name and FDR’s name in the same breath is a great disservice to FDR [who must be rolling in his grave]. FDR knew what a tragedy and danger mass unemployment presented. Obama acts as if it’s a great annoyance. And sorry, lying about the numbers and % of unemployment doesn’t fool anyone.

    I picked up a page earlier today about the staggering rise in poverty across the country. Now if we can find these stats on the Net, you know Obama has access to the same information. Unless, of course, he and his advisors are willfully blind. How any President can ignore the suffering of his own people, pretend that speeches are enough, borders on criminal negligence, IMHO.

    And nothing Ezra Klein and other Obama worshippers say or write can change that.

    • Pilgrim says:

      well said

    • Thursday's Child says:

      Hear, hear! Yes, excellent comment.

      And btw, does every male in DC have a man-crush on Obama?……. It must be a guy thing!

      Flighty creatures….LOL !
      I sincerely wish it was only a guy thing, but alas, both my cousin and my friend above are female.

  9. mjames says:

    Little Ezzie got where he is by worshiping at the alter of Obama. Whatever drivel he produces is without fail a disgusting display of a teenaged boy’s man crush, a pathetic overwhelming need to defend his love (are all these apologist sycophants latent homosexuals?) against any criticism (if you love Obama, nothing is EVER Obama’s fault), a desperate craving for acceptance by the “in” crowd (a crowd no one with a shred of integrity would want to be a member of), and a complete lack of intellectual honesty. Why should he stop?

    Oh how I would love for any regular on this site to take him on in a debate. He is a laughable excuse for an adult. A child. A jerk. A pampered little fool. No brain that I can discern. No maturity. No knowledge. No life experience. A total twit. Oh, and most definitely a whore. I despise him. I read the stuff about “nobody knew” or “nobody could have predicted” and I swear I want to tear him to pieces (and I believe in non-violence). Lying, excuse-making sack of horse manure.

    But he gets into print because he serves the fascist state. He serves his masters well. That’s all he is. A servant begging for a few crumbs, selling his soul in the bargain. When I see how the media avoided covering the true enormity of the #Occupy Oakland crowd, I am disgusted by all of them. Just wait until Obamacare kicks in – it is a travesty to end all travesties. But I’m sure we can count on the bootlicker to rationalize it all away.

  10. ralphb says:

    Just for giggles, go to google.com and type in “do a barrel roll”. 🙂

  11. ralphb says:

    Carl Hiaasen in the Miami Herald

    GOP laff-fest coming soon to our state

    Now it’s clear that many of us underestimated the redemptive entertainment value of the GOP race. Floridians are in need of a good laugh, and this particular ensemble will deliver plenty of those.

    Rick Perry, the Texas governor, spent last week denying that he was drunk or high when he gave a speech punctuated by odd giggles and twitches in New Hampshire.

    The video has become a YouTube sensation, and it’s hilarious stuff — at least until you consider that this goober might someday have his finger on the button that controls America’s nuclear arsenal.

    In the governor’s defense, his campaign staff said that Perry was simply being “passionate” in front of the New Hampshire crowd.

    Jerry Garcia liked to perform in a passionate state, too. Before he went onstage with the Grateful Dead, he’d go straight to his dressing room and drop some heavy passion.

    After that weird speech, Perry’s strategic mistake was claiming to be straight when it happened. He should have just said, “Yeah, OK, I had a few beers.” Or even, “Shoot, I must’ve accidentally popped a Xanax instead of my Lipitor.”

    Then people would have thought: Oh, that explains it.

    But the possibility that he was totally sober isn’t quite as funny. In fact, it’s semi-terrifying.

    Hiaasen also writes great pulp fiction novels. Great characters and very funny.

  12. dakinikat says:

    Brad DeLong’s writings are disappointing. It reminds me of when he was caught steadying up the kids on journolist. He’s beginning to remind me of one of those chubby little smart boys that will do and say anything to sit at the cool kid’s table in grade school.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Or maybe one of those older guys who likes to hang around with high school kids because they’ll look up to him?