Welcome to Washington, Mr. Smith, and welcome to the Agency. I salute your determination to apply common sense in Washington, to fix what’s broken in order to serve the public interest and the common good. Weirdly enough, everybody in Washington wants to do that: Republicans, Democrats, Tea Party patriots, Barney Frank. These guys don’t agree on much, but they all sincerely want to do what’s best for the country, pretty much to a man. I know, I know: Counterintuitive, right? But you’ll see.
In fact, one of the shocking things about Washington is how little cynical self-service there turns out to be. Okay, Charlie Rangel I’ll give you, and those ethanol bastards. But Rangelism is rarer than you’d think. The head-clutching paradox is that 536 elected Washingtonians and endless phalanxes of well-meaning appointees such as yourself wring such hideously wretched results out of such idealistic intentions. There is an explanation for that — so, if you’ll forgive me for the spoilsportsmanship and for tempering your understandably high post-appointment spirits with some gritty reality, it is my duty to inform you: You do not know what you are doing. Probably never will. You do not even know what you are talking about, and I mean that literally.