FISHBAIT: The Memoirs of the Congressional Doorkeeper by William Fishbait with Frances Spatz Leighton Miller

FISHBAIT: The Memoirs of the Congressional Doorkeeper

Email this review


Most people do not know that Republicans do not use the same urinals as Democrats""--a fair sample of the kind of information Miller vouchsafes. Coming to the Hill in the midst of the Depression, ""Fishbait"" rose in the ranks by doing those much-appreciated little favors for congressmen; as Doorkeeper he saw to it that the House phones were duly manned, the restrooms attended to, the barbershop working smoothly. It was his job to bellow, ""Mistah Speakah, the President of the United States""--you can see it on camera in All the President's Men. All told, Fishbait was an excellent ""flunkey'--his word--and proud of it. He has plenty of scuttlebutt about congressmen who got ""their tail caught in a crack"" including Adam Clayton Powell, Wayne Hayes--he was a real meany--and Wilbur Mills who, by contrast was ""a sweet and great man."" For the most part Fishbait's tales out of school are anonymous or harmlessly trivial because, though he's now retired, he knows full well that ""it doesn't pay to buck the Hill powers or to insult the Congress."" But of course he had his favorites, or ""stars""--Fishbait is very starstruck--and the brightest was ex-Speaker Sam Rayburn whom he worshipped. Stories of secretaries and aides bedded by congressmen give this a distinct boys-in-the-locker-room flavor. But we do appreciate Sen. John Tower's flaming recipe for chili which Fishbait kindly passes along.

Pub Date: May 5th, 1977
Publisher: Prentice-Hall