Patriots. David Frum. CreateSpace Publication. May 2012. 484 pages, pbk. ISBN #: 9781475141962.
Well-known and vague commentators state that the political system in Washington is rotten to the core and needs to be scrapped and reshaped. David Frum, former economic speechwriter for President George W. Bush, has given the reader a look at the inner machinations and nefarious actions of America's most powerful Senators, lobbyists, assistants, radio commentators, bloggers and anyone else therein.
Walter Schotzke, rich playboy son of the famous "mustard" family name, is mandated to employment by his grandmother who has had enough of his free-wheeling, uneducated, partying lifestyle. Initially, he is assigned to work as an assistant to an eminent Senator who supposedly is a fierce supporter of the "Constitutionalist" (Republican?) Party. But things begin to run amok when the newly elected President states he will be working to cross party-lines in all decisions, and the ire of the Constitutionalist Party awakens to become a destructive monster determined to destroy the President.
There's a war in Mexico and a horrific attack occurs in which it is believed that traitors within were responsible for the death and kidnapping of American soldiers. Add to that an economy that is about to tank, with a plan to rescue the looming crisis by taxing new homeowners, and the picture becomes clear. Other similar nightmarish scenarios follow.
What is specifically horrific is the political blurring of fact and fiction used by behind-the-scenes, well-paid agents of change who shape the news and thereby shape public policy enacted by our local and national politicians. Is this news? Not really to any intelligent, news-savvy, aware citizen but the blatant way Frum depicts the opulence and vicious nature behind the attacks is, as obviously intended by the author, quite revolting. The reader spends an inordinate amount of time working out who the "real" people behind this account are and the party affiliations, a process not very hard to decipher.
For those who eat up the Washington scene and the big players there, Patriots is a must read. It's satirical qualities reek off every page. Walter Schotzke starts off as an ignorant "yes" man but evolves into a man wanting to know all the facts and fiction and believing that the "truth" (which is very hard to figure out) must be allowed to rule the day rather than the "rotten in Denmark" conditions.
The reader is left to decide what the solution is, if one exists! After all, this is fiction, isn't it?
A bit overdone but all in all, a clever account of political fiction, David Frum!