A Journalist and a Senator Look for News and Truth in Washington

By Eugene J. McCarthy and James J. Kilpatrick

Among the most familiar creatures of Washington’s political seas is the Bloated Bureaucracy. The species is almost always accompanied by its adjective. Mill in 1848 wrote of the “Dominant Bureaucracy.” In our time, we encounter the “Entrenched Bureaucracy.” But the preferred form, used by cultivated orators and writers, is Bloated Bureaucracy.

Bloat is no laughing matter; a bloated government has serious digestive problems. The more it eats, the more it wants; the more it wants, the more it eats.

The Bloated Bureaucracy has a life span that ranges somewhere between the infinite and the eternal. This is partly owing to the languid nature of the species; the Bloated Bureaucracy cannot be hurried, it swims at its own pace. The Bloated Bureaucracy’s longevity also is attributed to the thick scales with which the body is armored. Through the protective covering, the barbed shaft can seldom penetrate.

Editors, senators, taxpayers—they all have tried to insult the Bloated Bureaucracy. Nothing takes.

The fossil remains of this durable creature have been carbonated from the tombs of the pharaohs and may be encountered in Washington to this very day.

This was first published in the October 1978 Washingtonian; it was part of an article, “A Political Bestiary,” written by McCarthy with James J. Kilpatrick, that became a small book published in 1978 by McGraw-Hill.

An introduction to the article noted that Kilpatrick and  McCarthy had spent many years in Washington, Kilpatrick in pursuit of news, McCarthy in quest of truth, and the two goals are often confused.

A remembrance of Gene McCarthy, with a lot of poetry, written by Jack Kilpatrick in 2006 after McCarthy died at the age 0f 89. Kilpatrick died in 2010 at the age of 89.

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