Brand building trumps consensus building in Washington

BY WILLIAM FREIVOGEL / Speaking on the second-day of the federal government shutdown, journalist Mark Leibovich said Washington doesn’t work anymore because of media polarization, big money and the celebritization of politicians. He said the media “has made it easy to grandstand” for politicians like Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tx.

GJR book review: ‘This Town’ offers no prescription for reforming America’s gilded capital

BY CHRIS BURNETT / The funerals of Tim Russert, longtime host of Meet the Press, and Richard Holbrooke, American diplomat and advisor to Democratic presidents, involved two men who would seem on the surface to have had little in common. Holbrooke, the hard-charging special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan at the time of his death in 2010 moved in the highest diplomatic circles, never shied away from controversy and made no attempt to keep his ego in check. Russert, who died two years earlier, was the avuncular everyman, known for his fair-minded but tough questioning of American political figures. He clearly had an ego too, but he kept it under check, preferring to talk and write about his affection for his father, Big Russ.