Satire of the American political process by a former Clinton Administration official.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Big Government

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price


Satire of the American political process by a former Clinton Administration official.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
To say that Clinton White House veteran Erlich's characters are cardboard is not a criticism: this debut novel, a rollicking parody of current American political life, works like a puppet show. The Being There plot follows the elevation of naive incompetents through the self-serving machinations of soulless politicos. Many of the scenes are brilliantly absurd, as when one Senator Moss is eaten by an alligator while wooing a militant naturalist for campaign support, or when the campaign staff of ailing Senator Wheezle restricts media access because being in a coma 'is usually perceived as a negative.' There are hilarious lampoons of political double-think, e.g., the 'universal daylight savings time initiative,' a pork barrel for the electric companies, and the 'equipment that doesn't work tax credit,' baldly subsidizing businesses for giving away things they never needed in the first place. All the men in power speak like the puppet Punch, unashamedly full of themselves, generally to hilarious effect. ('No, it's absolutely legal,' says one, 'and we can always give the money back if we're caught.') On the other hand, Ehrlich is given to excessive exposition and summary narrative, as if he doubted the readers' ability to appreciate the satire in the action itself. Some interior monologues militate against the total effect, and, because the characters are so thin, it's sometimes too easy to confuse them for one another as the novel jumps from one crazy subplot to another. In the last few pages, Ehrlich tries to draw an uplifting moral that is not at all warranted by the horrific picture he has painted: everyone is for sale, and only fools and losers have scruples.
Library Journal
Imagine the U.S. Congress inflamed by upcoming elections when a string of unexpected events occurs: a sitting president resigns to go fishing, and two members of Congress cannot continue their campaigns. One aide, assigned to monitor a dingbat crusade for universal daylight savings time, vaults to the front lines as a candidate, while another aide's conscientious striving gets him within sneezing distance of a candidacy for himself. This is an extravagantly funny entry into the ranks of the Washington novel by a Clinton administration staffer. Silent on Whitewater and Lewinsky, he nevertheless reels through current sagas such as the story of the 114-year-old senator and the grisly death (with a tip of the hat to Carl Hiassen's Miami riffs) of Florida's senator. One of the sweet subtleties is Ehrlich's successful delivery of the traditional message of hope about the wacky but working American system of government, even as his nonstop silly-season stuff provokes tears of laughter. For all public libraries.--Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress, Falls Church, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Absurdist farce about Congressional aides whose zeal, stupidity, and occasional flashes of insight take on great significance in an out-of-control Beltway bureaucracy. Idealistic Lenny Keeler joins the staff of Pennsylvania Congressman Ezra Wheezle—but only after he's enlivened Wheezle's boring speech by jumping into a river to save a girl from drowning. Meanwhile, airhead Dickie Vanderholz, an inept academic who holds a Ph.D. in volcanos, becomes an irresistible political force when, as a useless researcher on a senatorial committee, he begins a crusade to make daylight savings time a permanent, year-round affair. Miriam Moskowitz, Vanderholz's cynical supervisor, rival, and, finally, swooning lover, discovers that a passionately advocated single issue understood by no one, such as the equipment-that-does-not-work tax credit, can pitch a washed-up hack like Wheezle into the Oval Office. With a nod to the paranoid paradoxes of Heller's classic Catch-22, first-novelist Ehrlich's Capitol characters appear as the victims of a vast, incomprehensibly foolish anthill of craven ambition and blatant greed. The only winners here are people like handsome, vacuous President Wade F. Hoak, who, after realizing that 'making history is interesting work, but, the fact is, we all can't be Nixons,' happily quits after his third year in office, in exchange for a $50-million going-away present from his wealthy backers. Included among the denizens helped, or hurt, by Ehrlich's trio of plucky slaves are tough-talking House Speaker Rollo Plank, a 114-year-old Idaho congressman, and TV preacher Colonel Cody Clark, a smarmy faith healer of spiritually delinquent bodies, souls, and stock portfolios.A beguiling satire of Washington's wacky ways and means that, for all its dead-on delights, lacks bite. Funny, but featherweight.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759523487
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/1/2001
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 291 KB

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)