The Corner

That’s Amore

The Washington Post style section has a classic profile of Heather Podesta, John Podesta’s sister-in-law and “The It Girl of a New Generation Of Lobbyists.” I love this passage:

…She got the ring, but kept her name. Miller.

Married, yes, but maybe still a hottie at the Capitol, where she was a top congressional aide in her pre-lobbyist days. One afternoon, while subbing for her boss, California Rep. Bob Matsui, at a meeting, another congressman, apparently a naughty dude, was “visually undressing her,” she says. She rolled her eyes to discourage him. But a Teamsters rep thought she was dissing him, and boy, did he give her bosses an earful. That is, until he learned that the aide he knew as Miller was married to a Podesta. Full stop. He backed off. Podesta power confirmed . . . which brought her, six months or so after saying, “I do,” to a question: To Podesta or not to Podesta? (She had waited that long, she says, “to see if the marriage took.”)

” ‘There are going to be people who hate you without knowing you,’ ” she remembers her new husband telling her. ” ‘And there are going to be others who are loyal to you without knowing you.’ I thought that was a lot cooler.”

So did Tony.

“I’m the third husband, but this is the first time she’s changed her name. That should tell you something,” says Tony Podesta, now 65.

Yeah, what should it tell you? That she really loves Tony or that she finds Tony’s last name too valuable not to trade on?

I’ve got no problem giving her the benefit of the doubt that this is true love, but the context of the passage is that she changed her name because of its networking value. That’s common in Washington, but rarely is it cast as romantic. And I’m not even sure Tony Podesta thinks it’s romantic. He might even be bragging about the crassness of it. I can’t tell.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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