I’m not sure what it says that GQ is quickly becoming a go-to blog about politics, but it is. Larry Platt, the editor of Philadelphia magazine, briefly ran for Congress last year in suburban Philadelphia before dropping out. Why did he drop out? Not because he couldn’t win–but because he could. It’s so far the best political piece I have read this year.
Consider this account of his meeting with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, whom he has to persuade to support him, after getting support from local Congressman Bob Brady:
Mr. Platt Goes to Washington
Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, is a serious, formal man. He’s not the kind of guy you want to drink a beer with. He’s more the kind of guy who oversees the licensing of those who would serve you beer.
[County Party Chair Marcel] Groen and I had come down to D.C. to schmooze national party leaders. So here I was, sitting on a sofa in Hoyer’s spacious Capitol Hill office. After introductory pleasantries, there was an awkward silence. I decided to fill it with my by-now practiced routine. “When you’re a journalist,” I began, “you’re on the sidelines. At some point, you want to get in the game.”
I paused. Hoyer didn’t jump in.
I babbled on. I pulled out a Bobby Kennedy quote. Hoyer was impassive. I talked about how I knew the Sixth District to be politically moderate and yet populist. Nada. I said that if elected, I would refuse the House’s health coverage. Zip. I made the mistake of saying a local radio talk-show host, Michael Smerconish, a well-known Republican, has his finger on the pulse of my district: fiscally conservative, tough on terror, libertarian on social issues. At which point my chaperone, Groen, interrupted: “Well, he’s a bit conservative to our liking, but what Larry’s saying is there’s an opening against Gerlach in terms of the war on terror.” With this, Groen saved me from appearing to actually like a Republican. (Little did I know that inside the way-too-partisan Beltway, that’s a capital offense.)
When I was done, Hoyer leaned forward and dispensed his words of wisdom. “If Bob Brady vouches for you, that’s good enough for me,” he said.
That was it?