A Political Crash Course: The Capital's Rule Book How to Do Things Correctly Inside the Beltway

By Peter Grier, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, August 8, 1997 | Go to article overview

A Political Crash Course: The Capital's Rule Book How to Do Things Correctly Inside the Beltway


Peter Grier, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Washington's organizing principles - its habits, traditions, and methods of operation - are under scrutiny this summer as never before.

Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld's complaint that "Washington Rules" are blocking his nomination as ambassador to Mexico has launched a nationwide op-ed debate about the extent to which US politics is a cozy power game. At the same time, Senate campaign-finance hearings have explored a money system where fund-raisers appear in party headquarters carrying bags of cash.

Nobody ever talks about The Code of Dubuque, the Waco Way, or a San Francisco System. Are there really Washington Rules? If so, what are they?

"Rules? Sure, I got one for you," says a veteran of numerous political offices as he munches a lunchtime ham and cheese. " 'Cooperate with the FBI before your boss does.' "

On one level it's obvious that a cultural conglomeration that might be called Washington Rules exists. Human societies tend to exhibit unique traits, based on their circumstances. The nation's capital is no different from Boston's Beacon Hill.

Washington Rules, so defined, stem from the codified (the Constitution) to the informal (never wear brown suits). They can be high-minded, as in the Declaration of Independence. Or they can be mundane, as in the Lobbyist Lapel Rule: Wear a lapel pin identifying your special interest. Otherwise, politicians will never remember who handed them that check.

But Mr. Weld seemed to imply that Washington Rules are something a touch more, well, sinister - a nonpartisan conspiracy of incumbents that's denying him a nomination hearing.

It's an opinion that the United States public appears inclined to agree with, if polls are any gauge. Inside the Beltway, it's made many a touch defensive - including some people willing to support Weld's nomination.

You don't get a job at Microsoft by insulting Bill Gates. Why should you get to be envoy to Mexico by insulting Jesse Helms?

"There's a lobbyist in town who's drawn up an exact set of rules for nomination hearings," says Stephen Hess, a Brookings Institution senior fellow in government studies. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Political Crash Course: The Capital's Rule Book How to Do Things Correctly Inside the Beltway
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.