Sally Quinn Asks, ‘Did a Lack of Good Parties Shut Down D.C.’s Power Circuits?’

Quinn and Bradlee, not at a party. (Bill O’Leary/AFP)

Ben Bradlee wife and hostess extraordinaire Sally Quinn has taken to the pages of the Washington Post to announce the end of power in D.C.(That’s actually what the piece is called: “Sally Quinn Announces the End of Power in Washington.”) According to Quinn (who has been working on this theory for a while), Washington used to run on big dinner parties, where everyone — senators, congressmen, diplomats, journalists, the president — would gather to work on mutual goals over bipartisan cocktails and food. Now, she says, people just hang out in “small groups,” except for when they are attending fund-raisers to troll for money.

Money is power,” she writes.”The fundraiser has replaced the Washington dinner party.” So, false alarm: Power still exists in our country’s power center, it’s just less schmoozy. Still, Quinn doesn’t like it: “How special can you feel when you know you have to pay to go to an event and then get a bad seat on top of that?”

Apparently, our First Couple (who “have been roundly criticized for not being part of the Washington social scene”) isn’t helping the situation, though maybe they just don’t know any better.

Could it be that the Obamas, not knowing Washington, think that’s all there is to the social life here? Who wouldn’t want to stay away? On the other hand, he is the president of the United States and, whether he likes it or not, the leader of social as well as political Washington.

Or maybe they’re just really anti-fun. Either way, Quinn has managed to find a small upside in the passing of the party-power era:

But maybe this small-group trend is not such a bad thing. Maybe, as in one of those post-apocalyptic movies where the planet has been destroyed by war, people will begin to make their own lives.


Did a Lack of Parties Kill D.C. Power?