Evangelism and politics have a lot in common, when you think about it: Whoever speaks loudest and glad-hands best draws the most money to his coffers to further promote his agenda. Whoever puts the best spin on the proselytizing from the media pulpit wins the most souls. Whoever can convince the masses he is the way and the truth and the light draws the most sheep to his flock. The only difference in the two jobs is the final destination. In Washington, D.C., the Promised Land has a specific address—1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
In a city filled with spin doctors and silver-tongued orators who can almost always be counted on to give good oral, Senator Davis Hudson is a man who’s becoming frustrated with the party line. He’s a man who has always been able to trust his tongue to deliver the right message, even if his brain wasn’t entirely engaged in the point on which he was pontificating. In a city where so many languish in relative obscurity, overshadowed by their peers who seemingly thrive upon inviting attention to themselves, Davis has suddenly, and questionably, thrust himself into the spotlight, where scrutiny and speculation throws more than his political aspirations under the microscope.
Kurt Lamb is the man who becomes an unintentional chink in Davis’s political armor. Kurt is a former media analyst who, after a bad break-up, puts his theater training to use and becomes a makeup artist for CNN. He and Davis meet when the senator begins doing the requisite political press junkets that come with taking a strong stand and voicing that stand so vehemently and eloquently that it draws attention to him, like predators are drawn to fresh meat. The spark of attraction between the two men is instantaneous and not altogether comprehensible to Davis, seeing as how he isn’t gay. It doesn’t take long, however, for the man whose career is all about pressing the flesh to put an entirely different spin on the meaning of the phrase.
Does it take immeasurable courage to continue to pursue a dream, even when that dream will mean drawing the media, the American public, as well as every political and religious group with an agenda into your personal life? I’d have to say, yes, it does, especially when there’s a bitter and ambitious ex-wife waiting in the wings to be sure the path you’ve chosen is paved with stop-sticks to let the air out of all your hopes and ambitions.
Washington is a city of alliances and antagonism, a city where you find out who your true friends are only when the tide of public opinion begins to turn against you. Politics is a stage where only the most accomplished actors, those whose images are the best scripted by their handlers, succeed. Davis Hudson, in his pursuit of a personal life that is redeeming, fulfilling, and gives him the strength to pursue a public life that isn’t at all about him or whom he loves, but is about the desire to represent the nation, as a whole, stands out as a man of character in the face of adversity.
Inside the Beltway is a book that you read and can’t help but hope for a day in the not too distant future where the oath to execute the office of the President of the United States, and to protect and defend the Constitution, is based on the content of that person’s character alone.
The message in this story was hopeful and encouraging, and I enjoyed the way Ellen Holiday delivered that message subtly rather than it becoming overwhelming. While I’d have loved to have been given a little more insight into the development of Davis and Kurt’s relationship, the build up from attraction to love, I couldn’t help but become invested in the part these two men played in changing the face of the political nation.
Buy Inside the Beltway HERE.