This Will Not Pass

I don’t usually buy into the cable news/internet hype and buy a newsy new political book. I made an exception in the case of This Will Not Pass. Why the hell not? I love making fun of KMac and the tapes revealed therein had already provided grist for my mockery mill, KMac’s Reality Show Moment.

What’s not to love about a book that inspired this photo array of the feckless GOP leader surrounded by Bravolebrities?

Now that I’ve finished This Will Not Pass, the question posed above should be rephrased as what’s not to like?

It’s a good but not great book solidly reported by Timesmen Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns. The best bits are about Congress, which the authors understand quite well. As expected, the prose style is serviceable but unexceptional. Why did I expect that? They work for the Gray Lady, which is not now, nor has it ever been a writer’s newspaper.

I almost issued my standard denunciation of books like this until I read Laura Miller’s review of Mark Esper’s book at Slate:

Was Esper—most likely under the direction of his publisher—motivated by self-interest in holding back this dirt? Sure, and that makes his high-minded talk about duty and values ring a bit hypocritical. But was the dirt itself capable of changing the course of history? Nah.

The same goes for the Martin and Burns book. In this case, however, they sound like a comedy team mashup:

For the uninitiated, on the left are Burns and Allen who loved one another; on the right are Martin and Lewis who did not.

Back to This Will Not Pass. We already knew that KMac’s initial impulse was to deplore the Dipshit Insurrection. He said so on the House floor. From the book, we learned that KMac briefly considered acting on his decent impulses and that my home boy Steve Scalise concurred.

KMac better not turn his back on Scalise: Martin and Burns report that center-right House Republicans consider him a better choice for Speaker. Why? They don’t respect KMac. Anyone surprised? I thought not.

Much of the material in This Will Not Pass felt familiar but I learned a few things:

  • Senators Thune and Collins made several passes at convincing the Man of La Manchin and the Sinematic Senator to change parties. Sinema’s rejection was more emphatic as she pointed out that she was bisexual, pro-Gay marriage, and pro-Choice. In Manchin’s case, the rejection was based on JFK idolatry and sheer contrarianism. In any event, both have voted for all of Biden’s judicial nominations.
  •  White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is Biden’s bridge to the left of the party. He has the thankless task of soothing the ire of House progressives when his boss commits an unforced error.
  • Mitch McConnell is so frustrated with the Impeached Insult Comedian that he may step aside as Republican leader if they stay in the minority. Make it so, voters, make it so.

Martin and Burns trod on more familiar ground in their coverage of Vice President Kamala Harris. Their reporting is as cliched and unconvincing as the rest of the MSM. The good news for the Veep is that Ron Klain has her back. It’s good to be Chief.

Martin and Burns’ best sources are on the Republican side. We see an exasperated Turtle calling Trump a “son-of-a-bitch.” Truer words have never been spoken. Besides, it takes one to know one.

I wish that the authors would stop calling the Turtle wily. Consult with a thesaurus the next time you write a book, unless you want this to happen to your readers:

Martin and Lewis are inside the beltway insiders. Their take on other aspects of the political scene is shallow and Trump obsessed. For example, they insist on dissing Senators Warnock and Ossoff as candidates and give Trump *all* the credit for their upset wins. I beg to differ: both were outstanding candidates who have the makings of first-rate senators. Not everything in the world is about Trump. Yeah, I know, Trump sells books.

In the end, This Will Not Pass is a solid and unspectacular book. Martin and Burns are neither as funny as Martin and Lewis nor as loveable as Burns and Allen:

It’s grading time, which means I have to type the whole damn title. I give This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future a solid and unspectacular 3 stars and an Adrastos grade of B.

Trivia time: Whilst searching for information about the authors, I learned that Jonathan Martin’s journalist wife Betsy Fischer Martin is from the New Orleans metro area, which is why they call it home for part of the year. It doesn’t get more trivial than that.

It’s time to play:

Thanks, Groucho.

This is a morning post but I’m using the above trivia and Burns and Allen shtick as an excuse to give the last word to Dr. John who bids Irene, not Gracie, goodnight.

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