David Rothkopf

Introducing Capitulimia, the new Washington weight-loss sensation…

While we here at FP don’t recommend eating disorders as an effective weight control technique, sometimes it’s hard to pass up the canapés at those fancy Washington parties — like GQ‘s “50 Most Powerful People in DC” cocktail blast at 701 last night.  Of course, GQ‘s party had its own built-in trigger of the gag ...


While we here at FP don’t recommend eating disorders as an effective weight control technique, sometimes it’s hard to pass up the canapés at those fancy Washington parties — like GQ‘s “50 Most Powerful People in DC” cocktail blast at 701 last night

Of course, GQ‘s party had its own built-in trigger of the gag reflex for most Washingtonians: their names weren’t on the list. (I talked with one of GQ‘s writers as she was working on the list, a conversation I enjoyed right up until the moment it was clear they didn’t think I was list-worthy. As for the final product’s, um, curiosities see FP‘s earlier take. But, Leon Panetta ahead of Hillary Clinton? Tom Donilon on the list, but his boss Jim Jones off it? Various worthy but random journalists and bloggers and not Tom Friedman or David Sanger? The Sidwell admissions director ahead of the GDS admissions director? Insiders know the truth … even as they all hungrily pour over the list looking for their own names and those of their allies, enemies and worst of all, their friends.)

But when a glossy, man-perfume scented equivalent of a long hairy finger down your throat isn’t readily available, then knowledgeable Washingtonians know there is always another place they can turn, the Capital’s naturally produced form of Serum of Ipecac. Just follow the news until you develop the acute reaction to hypocrisy that is certain to launch away your own indiscretions in one or two turbulent but satisfying moments.

For example, here’s a recipe for Capitulimia drawn from just what’s going on around town today:

Take just one dose of insurance companies trying to suggest in print and broadcast advertisements that after years of making indefensible profits from literally killing people and destroying families with their policies (the one’s they didn’t actually deny to those who needed them), it is they who are actually looking out for the interests of Americans in need of health care.

Add one 30 second American Petroleum Institute commercial in which they actually argue that the pending climate bill might hurt consumers by producing more highly priced gasoline? After their record? While they should actually all be hovering in their basements waiting for the class action suit from the planet for selling a product they have known for years was destroying it?

Then sit down and take a listen to say, Rush Limbaugh complaining the media is making spurious, emotional, and uninformed attacks against him … and that “the media” has too much power. The media? Who is he? Where does his power and obscene wealth come from? Appearances to the contrary, he is not a manatee sunning on a rock. 

If that hasn’t done it, listen to one-time supporters of the havoc wreaked by the Great Decider’s impulsive and catastrophic policies in Iraq or his ineffective blundering in Afghanistan as they criticize President Obama for actually taking some time to work out a sensible adjustment to tackling the mind-boggling challenges posed in the AfPak region … challenges that were altered by the recent elections embarrassment in Afghanistan.

Or listen to Republican legislators responsible for the biggest deficits in American history and the collapse of the American economy, attack President Obama for doing what had to be done to clean up their mess.

Not there yet, go to Amazon.com and pre-order not only the Sarah Palin book but the upcoming books from President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Hank Paulson, and Karl Rove. Then think about the millions that will be generated by these books. (In New York State, I seem to recall once upon a time in the days of “The Son of Sam” they passed a law blocking criminals from writing books allowing them to profit from retelling the tales of their wrong-doing. These aren’t criminals, of course … well, not all of them … but what are we to make of millionaires who gutted the American economy making millions from telling us all how they did it?)

Still on the verge of relief but not quite cleansed? Well, pick up a paper and read about the fact that roughly $140 billion in compensation will be paid out on Wall Street this year, a record beating out the last peak year of 2007. (And while you’re at it, flip back to the FT from a day or two ago and read Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s call for more industry reform and ask yourself: was placing this oped at the time the bonuses were going to be announced just a little cynical? Do they really think we’re going to fall for that kind of grade-school spinning — even if he did make a number of good points.)

There, that ought to do it. Feeling better now? Lighter on your feet? Angry but empty? No need to thank me. Just another public service from your virtual friends here on the Internet who will always do what we can to ensure our Washington readers are ready for another day of making the rounds from the Four Seasons to the Palm to the usual receptions sponsored by the likes of the American Foot Odor Institute and the National Alliance for Getting Children to Make Their Beds. And for the rest of you outside the beltway, with America’s health care system unlikely to be high functioning any time soon, it’s probably a good idea to drop a few pounds and get into better shape. 

And here’s our hint for turning what could be an eating disorder into a sustainable diet: just keep watching those headlines — they’re the world’s most effective non-addictive appetite suppressant. If you follow Washington without losing your appetite, you’re not paying attention.

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

 Twitter: @djrothkopf

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