Many years ago, a year after I graduated from Duke University and had worked in Washington, D.C., for a while, I spent the summer before starting Emory Law School with my grandparents, Isadore and Freda Klayman, at their home in Hallandale, Fla. Working for Burdines Department Stores as a camera salesman in neighboring Hialeah, I had enough free time in the mornings and evenings to swim at their pool, catch a few rays and read books. The book that influenced me most was "Washington, D.C." by the famous literary icon and now deceased leftist novelist Norman Mailer.
Mailer's leftist bent was certainly at odds with my own budding conservative self, but his cynicism and disdain toward the rank corruption on both sides of the political aisle in Washington, D.C., driven home in this semi-fictional novel, seemed to confirm what I had only begun to understand. You see, the year before I took time off to visit my grandparents, I had worked as an aide to Republican Sen. Richard Schweiker in the nation's capital. While the senator was generally a decent man, as I chronicle in my own book "Whores: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment," thanks mostly to his ethically compromised staff I experienced a lot there that was troubling to me: the illegal acceptance of corporate contributions and an intellectual dishonesty where I would be forced to use an "auto pen" to sign "robo letters" – that is, computerized form mail to constituents, sometimes as many as six different versions on the same topic, to get voters to believe that the senator agreed with them. The tilt of these form letters, which were catalogued on a mainframe government computer, ranged all over the spectrum of political views – right, left and center. It was an exercise in deception to further the senator's re-election efforts, thereby keeping the staff employed – an early version of Eddie Murphy's comedic film parody "Distinguished Gentleman," where a Miami con man and his gang of accomplice misfits decide that the biggest con is to win election to Congress and then deceive their constituents.
What Schweiker and his staff did was not unique; this was standard practice with nearly all senators and representatives. Finally, after about eight months of this con, I could not take it anymore and I quit to join my grandparents for the summer. Selling cameras – and photography was a passion of mine – was far more rewarding than defrauding the public.
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So Mailer's depiction of Washington, D.C., so corrupted by money, deception and self-serving hypocrisy, rang true to me and sowed the seeds of my later career path. While this novelist's book was semi-fictional, I – during the years leading up to the founding of Judicial Watch and now Freedom Watch – had lived this political "horror story." Regrettably, what I saw in government and the courts was not make believe; it was real hardcore sleaze – much more obscene than photos of Anthony Weiner's "weiner."
This week in Washington, D.C., we got another taste of Mailer's semi-fictionalized prophecy (his book was published in 1973 – almost 40 years ago) that the nation was sinking into a cesspool of cataclysmic corruption.
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On the heels of a new economic forecast showing that the domestic and international economy is tanking, and with new turmoil in the oil-dependent Middle East, both President Barack Hussein Obama and the minions of Democrats and Republicans who spend their time feathering their own nest continued to dis-serve the American people with gamesmanship, intellectual dishonesty and outright treasonous behavior – all designed to further their re-election efforts.
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First, there was the president's grossly belated decision to wind down the confused and ineffectual war in Afghanistan, now going on a decade. The decision was not totally wrong, but it should have come much sooner. Not wanting to be seen as the weak leader that he obviously is, Obama left our troops in this hellhole far too long, costing unnecessary lives and disfigurement to our brave and heroic fighting men and women. Now, Obama and company plan to leave most of them there at least another two years, with no victory in sight in this historic Afghan quagmire. And, all of this is to boost his re-election effort for 2012. Do the president and Republican establishment dinosaurs like Sen. John McCain, who has been a cheerleader for this senseless continuing war, have no shame? True believers both left and right were shocked at the stupidity and politics of this decision.
Then there was President Obama's decision to "cleverly" force an end to the budget talks with Republicans – talks obviously designed to reduce the huge and life-threatening federal deficit. Obama and his socialist allies in Congress demanded huge tax increases as a quid pro quo to deficit reduction. This tact, taken to again appease Obama and his fellow Democrats' left-wing base, necessary for their re-election in 2012, would further damage the economy, stifle job growth and put a bigger dent in family incomes during what is in effect an economic depression. And, Republicans reacted quickly to take the bait for political ends, calling off any further talks to make them look strong to tea-party voters who had forecast correctly that the GOP would overly compromise during the talks. Tea-party votes are necessary for the Republicans to win control of the White House and total control of Congress in 2012.
Last but not least, President Obama ordered last Thursday that the nation's strategic petroleum reserves be drawn down to put more oil on the market, just temporarily lowering the price of gasoline for the summer months. Americans are overwhelmingly upset with Obama at his failure to curb the increase in gasoline prices. This executive order would jeopardize our emergency reserves at a crucial time when the Middle East is in turmoil, Libyan oil has stopped flowing to world markets, and the region may explode in war – cutting off oil supplies almost totally. While most Republicans objected, none to date has taken a strong stand against this reckless outrage. Obama's executive order was designed, again, to boost his chances of re-election.
Yes, Norman Mailer, a leftist, was "right" almost 40 years ago. That it took this long for the corrupt political pygmies of Washington, D.C., to bring the nation to the brink of disaster is the only miracle that is apparent.
Before my book "Whores" was published, I tried to contact Mailer to ask him to proudly write its foreword. Sadly, Mailer had died, just a few years before we Americans may soon experience the death of our nation.