The Weekly Standard/Daily Caller Matt Labash’s book, Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, And Jewish Cowboys came to life Thursday night as characters from his anthology filed in one by one to the beautiful home of Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Tucker Carlson and his wife, Susie. The evening was one of fun, frolic and, of course, drinking, as the Distilled Spirits Council sponsored the party with a well-stocked Scotch-filled bar.
Characters from the book who showed up to the festivities included Democratic political strategist and former campaign aide to Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) David “Mudcat” Saunders, Vanity Fair’s Christopher Hitchens and GOP consultant Roger Stone, who famously taught Labash how to properly tie a tie (he claims Labash still needs help). Stone (in photograph above with Labash) explained that he was leaving later to catch a train to Manhattan – his policy is to never stay overnight in D.C. as the town is too awful a place to remain too long. “I hate it,” he said. “People are phony.” (Stone splits his time between New York City and Miami.)
Soon the party turned into a roast.
“Nice house, not waspy enough,” Stone cracked. “I appreciate the enormous role I have played in making Matt Labash.” Stone joked that people always ask of Labash: ‘What’s with all the Hitler memorabilia?’
Saunders, to whom Labash devoted an entire chapter, said the author was much more than a writer but a life confidant whom he still phones for advice. “He knows enough about me to get me arrested,” he said. Initially, Saunders said, he feared a story about him appearing in The Weekly Standard: “I’m a Democrat. The Weekly Standard ain’t a damn Democrat publication.”
The party was the scene of scenes for D.C. journalists. Faces in the crowd included conservative radio personality Laura Ingraham, The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes and Andy Ferguson, Politico’s Anne Schroeder Mullins, Patrick Gavin, Kiki Ryan, Michael Calderone and Pia Catton. Politico’s Jonathan Martin and NBC “Meet the Press” Executive Producer Betsy Fischer arrived simultaneously. The Daily Caller was represented well with opinion editor Moira Bagley, publisher Neil Patel, V.P. of sales Alex Treadway and congressional reporter Gautham Nagesh as well as Sean “Jim Treacher” Medlock on crutches. Others in attendance: The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard, the New York Post’s Charlie Hurt, Reason’s Michael Moynihan, Edelman’s Exec. V.P. Tony Blankley, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, D.C. media consultant David Bass, former Time scribe Tim Burger and Slate’s Editor David Plotz. The Atlantic’s Josh Green was there and spoke of the story he has been living as of late – that of Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) and the old Navy buddies who told him, among other sordid details, about the ex-congressman’s infamous Massa massage and now compelling “snorkeling”. Green joked, “I feel dirty talking about it.” More seriously, he called Massa the “Andy Dick of Congress.”
Lightening struck when former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry arrived. Late and decked out in a suit and cherry-colored tie, Barry stole the show. And for a good while, it was all guests could do but stare and snap cell phone pictures.
“It took me an hour to find this place,” Barry told the awed crowd, explaining his tardiness. “I wandered here and there and everywhere.”
Initially Labash had no idea that Barry that arrived. “No, no, I don’t publicly speak!” the author was imploring guests, unaware that his most striking character was about to weigh in.
Carlson explained to guests that The Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol was sorry he couldn’t attend – he was in Manhattan hanging out with former N.Y. Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Massa (everyone laughed). Carlson read a note from Kristol that said, in part, “When we hired Labash, we had hoped he’d become a star – we’re still hoping.”
Carlson, who wrote the introduction to Labash’s book, had solemn praise for Labash with a twist. “Matt doesn’t simply write about people,” said Carlson. “He takes them as lifelong friends – almost in a proctological way.” He said when subjects first read the stories Labash has written about them their first response is “horror.”
Then they realize that what Labash has written is true, that the author has maybe captured them more deeply than anyone ever has.
More party pictures after the jump…
Andy Ferguson of The Weekly Standard
More Andy Ferguson
Matt Labash in the crowd
VF’s Christopher Hitchens
Tucker Carlson, party host
More Tucker Carlson
Party scene…David Bass with a blur of Roger Stone
Marion Barry in a doorway
Marion Barry with The Atlantic’s Josh Green
Distilled Spirits Council offerings
The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard
Elaborate party cuisine