Here's a surprising (some might say refreshing) throwback in the mucky trough of Washington political novels--a saga of ambition thoroughly marbled with idealism that ends with everybody out-noble-ing everybody else. Just elected Senator, ex-Governor Jason Crockett (J.C.?) of Washington State hits Monument Town all fresh and eager and green and ready to sit at the feet of that Senatorial has-been, boozy, lonely Austin Barraclough, who can barely make it to the Capitol these days but has political wit and wisdom galore to dispense. Jason laps it up, encourages Barraclough to get back into the power-broking business, and starts sleeping around--despite wife Sheila's warmth and allure--with Barraclough's bitchy real-estater niece, Esme. Presidential Convention time cometh, with Jason heartily supporting fellow Washingtonian Paul Ormsbee, but then Ormsbee coronaries out, and the field is open. Jason? God-fearing Zack Boone? The revitalized Barraclough? That's when the idealism hits the fans, and even if it's highly improbable, it's decently crafted by veteran Longstreet, who takes this scene awfully seriously (Crockett? Boone? ""Book IV--Temptation and Concupiscence"") and delivers it in doting detail. Except for that over-familiar, nasty take-off on Babwa Walters (here she's ""Snow Williams""), this is one new Washington novel that's old Washington through and through: professional, respectable, and totally tame.