Friday, December 19, 2008

Book Excerpt Of The Week: Part 1- "Prince Of Darkness: Richard Perle" By: Alan Weisman

"The lure of a new, like minded administration began to play on Perle's ego and his imagination. He was recruited onto no less than three Reagan transition-team groups: State, Defense, and Export-Import bank. This was one of the opportunities that played to Perle's strength: his ability to place those who shared his views in positions that mattered. For more than a year, Perle had been part of a good-old-boy network that met every other Friday for lunch at the Madison Hotel. They were mostly top staff aides to conservative senators and congressman including John Tower, Strom Thurmond, Jake Garn, Gordon Humphrey, and Malcolm Wallop. Money for the lunches and trips for the group was provided by the benignly titled Institute for American Relations, a tax-exempt entity formed by John Carbaugh, and aide to Thurmond and Jesse Helms. The Madison Group, as it came to be known, would plot ingenious ways to thwart their dovish counterparts, and blue-sky about the potential of a Reagan administration.

'It wasn't a collaborative organizational structure,' Perle said. 'It was an occasional lunch. I gave my views on some things and listened to what people had to say.' Most of those in the group would end up on the Reagan transition team, and then as part of the administration. After Lehman was nominated as navy secretary, Perle pushed for Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, and Mike Rashisi for major jobs in the dreaded State Department; Perle's friend and arms control mentor Fred Ikle was already ensconced at Defense, so the pieces were falling into place. While ideological opponents saw a dark conspiracy in this spreading network of like-minded bureaucrats, the fact is virtually everyone who lands a job of any import in Washington is part of some cadre- political, ideological, fraternal, or social." -From, "Prince Of Darkness: Richard Perle" By: Alan Weisman

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