WaPo columnist Kathleen Parker hosted guests at her Georgetown home Tuesday to celebrate author and freelance writer Robert Draper‘s book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.
Draper’s book largely focuses on the Republicans who swooped into Congress “intending to shake things up” in 2010. “This was my interest,” Draper told FBDC, “to see whether all these guys, all these freshmen, about a third of whom had no political experience, would succeed in changing the institution or be changed by it.” He said the jury is still out on this one.
What Good We Do was completed over the course of 14 months. Draper conducted about 300 interviews with several freshmen in the House along with some high-level Republicans and Democrats. He said he was surprised to see how much pressure Republican congressmen are under from activists and Tea Partiers in their districts. “Even after the debt ceiling [vote], when the approval rating for Congress as a whole plummeted and there was a reason to work together, they still lived in mortal fear of the activists who would show up to their town halls and scream at them and say ‘why did you vote for the debt ceiling? We should shut the government down, we should learn how to live within our means and if that’s the consequence so be it.’”
Draper’s book was published in late April.
Parker’s home is beautiful but we ran into a few oddities; this giant pear set on a decorative table, for example.
Parker has a pet poodle that she saved from a shelter. His name is Ollie and he’s completely blind in both eyes.
We asked Parker what she thought about her short-lived CNN co-host and former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer replacing Keith Olbermann on Current TV. “No, I’m not going to answer that,” she quickly said… before actually answering. “Well, I sent him an email and I said, ‘congratulations, I think you’ll do well there.’ I’ll say that.”
In his Wikipedia entry Draper is described as being “known for his brash and self-confident personality.” He was self-confident but didn’t come off as brash. He told us that part of the entry came from a former editor who made a toast at Draper’s wedding rehearsal, saying “Robert’s a great writer and if you don’t believe me, ask him.” Draper said Wikipedia “seized upon” the quote and “deduced from that that I’m brash or have a healthy estimation of my abilities or something.”
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