Sep 192012

Author: Kenneth Myers

 Lobbyists are the men and women behind the curtain in this country. These people, lobbyists, are among the only men and women in America who can get any decent amount of power without getting elected. In today’s world a lobbyist can change the world. That’s what They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? is all about.

This book constructs the Washington that Buckley sees, a place where lobbyists and fanatics half crazy on Adderall use lies and innuendo to almost start World War 3. The lobbyist, one of two main protagonists, is Walter “Bird” McIntyre. He doesn’t retain the likability of the lobbyist portrayed in Buckley’s previous work. Bird makes the fatal mistake of doubting his effect on the world. Nick Naylor (Thank You For Smoking’s protagonist and lobbyist for the tobacco industry) knew he was a plight on the nation and more than that, didn’t care was proud of it. In that acceptance the character was infinitely interesting you felt like you had to hate him but loved his nonchalance. Bird thinks he a good guy while putting the fate of the world in jeopardy for nothing but a paycheck.

His partner in crime, Angel Templeton is a crazy Glenn Beck-esque crazy person staunchly declaring America’s need to constantly be fighting a war. It’s Angel who utters the title of the novel proudly on national television. Her crazy lack of morality seems to be there to balance the awareness of the two tricksters. Together the two characters create their own narrative, the people pulling the whole world’s strings with nothing but a couple lies and a few phone calls. They play their little game with the future of the entire planet in their hands as though it’s a penny-stakes poker game.

The second major protagonist is President of the People’s Republic of China and general secretary of the Communist Party of China. He’s the head honcho and because of Angel and Bird’s schemes, finds himself under the very serious threat of a coup. He’s a political genius is in planning well and dealing well with the hand he’s dealt. But there are no clean hands in a dictatorship and Fa knows that and at the outset of his story is being deprived of sleep by nightmares. Despite his past indiscretions Fa is by far the most likable character in the whole affair.

These two stories lay out for the reader what power represents in the world. In America, all you need is a few connections, a reason and some cash. In China you must rise to the top of your party, and fend off the near constant threat of losing your power. The President of the United States is in the picture for only a few pages, but is mentioned by nearly every American once specifically about how they either play tennis with him or question how they’ll tiptoe around the president, skirt the edge of their power and do whatever they want. The more I read They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? the more I knew I loved it. From the beginning the story felt very real, possible in the worst way. An excellent read if you have any interest in politics. It shows us the Washington under the press and it’s horrifying in a very intriguing way.   

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