John Bolton has written a book, which seems to be what all Washington “insiders” eventually do. You haven’t really reached elite insider status until you have written a book and gone on tour to promote it. Until then, you are still a minor leaguer and a “player to be named later.”

An insider’s book is meant to do several things. First, of course, to sell. Insiders want their books to make money. They have a lifestyle to maintain and Washington, which is where insiders herd up like wildebeests on an African plain, is not a cheap address. You can easily drop two or three bills on lunch there, with a wine that is barely drinkable. But, then, you can probably find a way to write it off. Still, you need money.

You also want the book to sell because … well, face it, because you are vain. Or, to put it more charitably, because you take yourself, and your calling, seriously. You don’t have time to write books that nobody reads and that, therefore, make no impact. No news.

And, then, an insider book is a credential. Your club membership.


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