The opening image of Versailles on the Potomac well sums up the thesis of this book. The aristocracy who lived in Versailles were completely divorced from the people they ruled. They led extravagant lives while the common people starved.
This is to a large extent what the political class in Washington does. They live lives inside the Beltway seldom seeing the people who vote for them and not trying to understand their concerns. Of course, this is not the case with all our congresspeople and senators, but there are glaring examples. Fields tells the stories of several of these elitist politicians: Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Joe Bieden, the Clintons, and the list goes on. Being even handed, Fields also includes a long section on Jeb Bush receiving favored treatment because of his famous family.
Probably the best part of this book is the attention paid to what the Founders wanted for the republic they created. They were against any kind of an aristocracy, they believed people should serve the country because they believed in creating good laws, not to get rich.
Bureaucrats like Lois Learner and political appointees like Eric Holder are not exempt, nor is the press. They also believe in their elitist entitlement.The culture in Washington is so insular that the press parties and plays with the politicians making it difficult to ask the hard questions and be a watchdog on the process of legislation.
The final section of the book gives remedies for this problem: term limits, restraining lobbying, and reducing the size of government. It will not be easy to get the privileged class to forgo their perks, but actions need to be taken so that the average American has a better chance to be understood and helped by our government.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.