Saturday, May 5, 2018

Jake Tapper

Jake Tapper is CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and the New York Times bestselling author of The Outpost. His debut political thriller is The Hellfire Club.

From the transcript of Tapper's interview with Fareed Zakaria:

ZAKARIA:...The novel is set in early 1950s Washington at the height of McCarthyism. People often say that novels are in some way autobiographical, that you write about what you know. So in what sense is this, you know, about what you know?

TAPPER: That's a great question. I think that it is an expression of concerns I have about Washington. The hero is a young Republican congressman, the Eisenhower era. He's a World War II hero and an academic who's, kind of, thrust into this world and he and his wife experience a conspiracy. But one of the themes of the book is the compromises that the main character, Charlie Marder, makes, along the way. He comes to Washington to do good. He wants to be a good congressman. He wants to protect people. And little by little, bits of his soul are eroded by the system.

And that's something that I've seen happen. A lot of people come to Washington to do good things. And they find themselves immersed in the swamp, bit by bit, and next thing you know, they're in over their head and they lose themselves.

ZAKARIA: And what do you think is the system that makes all this -- you know, all this -- all these good people turn bad?

Is it partly pandering to special interests? Is it pandering to voters? You know, how do you see -- what is the perverse incentive that makes people make all these compromises?

TAPPER: I think the first one is money. Money really runs Washington. People's self-preservation is about getting campaign contributions and about big donations. So that's one. And two, a lot of people go down to Washington to do good and then they ultimately end up getting trapped in the system, and there are all of a sudden all these favors that they're getting and all of a sudden they're living a lifestyle that they're not used to. And then preserving that, holding on to that power, becomes more important than why they were sent there.

ZAKARIA: Now, you -- you used the title, "The Hellfire Club," comes from a British...

TAPPER: Well, you know this.

ZAKARIA: ... 200-year-old society.


ZAKARIA: What I'm struck by is...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue