HILL RAT by John L. Jackley


Blowing the Lid Off Congress
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 Brittle exposÇ of Congress by a former aide to three Democratic congressmen. It's unbelievably nasty on the Hill, says Jackley, who saw the light and left to write this book. According to the author, ``Hill Rats'' (congressional aides) and their employers conspire to lie, steal, cheat, and play games with national policy and finances. Moreover, he says, congressmen are vain and ill-informed, talk dirty, and lavish government money on their offices. But the vicious partisanship that Jackley purports to have left behind seems to run rampant even here. His finger-pointing undermines any sense of considered judgment and suggests that getting even is part of his agenda. Primarily concerned with Democratic perfidy, Jackley ends up offering ammunition to conservatives attacking Congress; and, by default, the Executive and Judicial branches come off well. The author offers no sense of cultural/historical context--the ascendancy of the Executive Branch, the conservative packing of the Supreme Court, the new role of the media. He does occasionally explore a situation in depth (Jim Wright and Texas politics in Washington; election-year shenanigans), but, more often, he simply reels off names, incidents, and accusations in a scattershot flurry of tiny paragraphs tumbling along one after another, helter- skelter. Nor is there any real sense of the man or what inner development led him to abandon his life as a Hill Rat. Jackley remarks of Congressman Ronald Coleman (a former employer) that, after a meeting with President Reagan and several Cabinet members, ``he expressed no sense of history, showed no heightened feelings of gravitas toward great issues.'' The same could be said of the author.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-89526-529-X
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1992