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Expendable Mudge Muses Aloud

Advise and Consent

Advise and Consent - Allen Drury Book Circle Reads 25Rating: 4* of fiveThe Book Description: ADVISE AND CONSENT is a study of political animals in their natural habitat and is universally recognized as THE Washington novel. It begins with Senate confirmation hearings for a liberal Secretary of State and concludes two weeks later, after debate and controversy have exploded this issue into a major crisis."I can recall no other novel in which there is so well presented a president's dilemma when his awful responsibility for the nation's interest conflicts with a personal code of good morals." (The New York Times)My Review: They's fags in this book! Ack-chew-ull hom'sexshulls!! Myrtle, git the Babble an' we'uns'll exercize it!Allen Drury was a conservative. He thought World Commanizm was a-gonna ruin the New Nited States of Murrika!! They's a-gonna take us over!!Ahem.As one might surmise from my initial response above, I have zero respect for conservatism, equating it with ignorance and intolerance. I should know, as I was raised by parents whose politics were to the right of Hitler. McCarthy was a fine, fine man and an upstanding American patriot to my mumsy and daddums. Goldwater was a bit too liberal for them.So when I take exception to Drury's preachifyin' and speechifyin', it is from an insider's point of view. The Senate process of advising the President on his cabinet nominees and consenting to the appointment of officers of state is never more brilliantly illuminated (in all senses of that phrase) than in this novel. Drury, who very much knew whereof he wrote, brings a harsh actinic glare to the role of personal charisma and individual power in the business of the Senate. The small, collegial nature of the Senate focuses the astounding power of the body onto a few key players: The Majority and Minority Leaders, in particular, are vitally important to any legislation or appointment passing through the body.Drury reported on the Senate for United Press International. When he came to write this book, he used two decades' worth of knowledge to weave believable characters and put them in actual situations that have occurred in the Senate, and my gawd it is grim reading. Human nature run rampant, greed and viciousness running roughshod over the needs of We-The-People, and craven poltroons running for re-election from the second they take the oath of office.Sound familiar? It should. But this came out in 1959, and was based on men in office from 1939 to 1959. Nothing changes. Never will. All we-the-people can hope for is to elect a better class of scumbag (read: beholden to voters not banksters and billionaires) once in a while.Drury is telling a story of a man's, well, tawdry and tacky infidelity as it figures into the national conversation. *cough*Clinton*cough* The plot in many ways hinges on this private peccadillo, and even though it's never exactly made public, it's the linchpin of the events that follow...a suicide, an international crisis that reaches into space, and the death of a key player at a very delicate moment all come together to make the outcome seem inevitable from the outside.The genius of the story is that we, who have seen it all unfold, know that it was in no way inevitable. It was an ad hoc decision based on an unforeseen turn of events by way of a surprise occurrence packaged as perfect control by the media.Sound familiar? It should. It was ever thus. Always will be thus.Read this and weep. Read this and realize that inaction on your part has huge costs. Vote YOUR conscience, educate YOUR mind. (Unless you're conservative, in which case succumb to despair and sit out every election for evermore, nothing you do will matter or help.)