An old political dictum posits that New York is all about money while Washington D.C. is all about power. With a new President hailing from the city that never sleeps, some could legitimately take issue with that axiom. But here in D.C., there is no doubt that Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, major power players who built – then left – the left-leaning media dynamo Politico, are now poised to take the reins of power inside the Beltway again.
And now those two, along with a cadre of others from Politico, have emerged on the scene heralding a new venture called Axios. No one really knows the real reason VandeHei, Allen & Co. left Politico, but trust that plenty of ink and HTML has been spilled over trying to figure that out here in the nation’s capital. Washingtonian Magazine, for instance, wrote an exhaustive article on that very subject. That was then. This is now.
Mike Allen has always boasted and delivered on knowing those in the know. He has almost unfettered access to power brokers. Thus if you wanted the inside scoop in DC, you read Allen’s Playbook newsletter. When he left Politico, Playbook was handed over to others and, let’s just say, it was never quite the same.
Now Allen is back with another morning briefing called Mike’s Top 10 leaving no doubt that he is the insider of insiders – the reigning King of Washington whispers. Here’s #1 from Mike’s Top 10 yesterday:
Trump, who flew down to D.C. last evening for a fancy dinner honoring his prospective Cabinet, showed up unannounced at the Vice President’s Dinner, a fundraiser starring Mike Pence (entree was duck) at the National Portrait Gallery. Trump gave lengthy, no-teleprompter remarks that were closed to the press. But an Axios AM reader sent us a partial tape. (Don’t forget to do that.) Trump was feisty, funny and all over the place.
A sampler of what was on his mind, 36 hours before show time:
- “I chose Mike, and we went out on the trail, and I’ll tell you: From Day 1, we started hitting it. We had our little ups and downs. You might have known there were some little canyons there [laughter] on occasion. … We don’t give up, do we, folks? We never give up.” [Applause.]
- “A lot of you are political people. A lot of you are just rich people … ” [Laughter]
- “And we put out a tweet: Tweet! Tweet! [Laughter, applause.] I mean, you know, when I get all that dishonest stuff, one tweet can straighten it all out.” [Laughter.]
- “We could not have done it without the people in this room. The people in this room are very special. Everyone is special. [Applause.] They’re friends of mine. Sheldon Adelson is here someplace. … I think he only gave $125 million.” [Applause.]
- “I think we ought to straighten out the PACs — right, folks? I think they should be able to give to a campaign and expose it and everything. But I think this PAC stuff — maybe we can get it straightened out, because it’s a little ridiculous. [Laughter.] You have no idea. It’s like the great sinkhole. You have no idea who’s doing it, who’s running them. I think people get very rich running PACs, but we’re going to try and get that straightened out because it’s crazy.”
- “We’re going to cut your taxes. We’re going to get rid of the regulations that are strangling the economy. [Applause.] … I know the biggest businessmen and the small ones that love me and voted for me, and I love them. … Almost every single person that I ask was more excited about the regulations being cut than the taxes, which is surprising. [Applause.] So, we’re going to do that.”
- “Any Never Trumpers in this room? [Laughter.] No. … These people were angry. They didn’t even know me. I never met them. … They’re really right now on a respirator. … And we actually do have some Never Trumpers that are fantastic people. They just didn’t understand me.”
These juicy tidbits—from getting a recording inside a no-press event — all the way to the trivial — the entrée was duck – are Allen’s signature features.
Some have wondered whether VandeHei, Allen & Co. left Politico due to internecine squabbles and whether they no longer wanted to be associated with Politico and its damaged leftist reputation. Their new venture, Axios claims to be a neutral arbiter.
We are a new media company delivering vital, trustworthy news and analysis in the most efficient, illuminating and shareable ways possible. We offer a mix of original and smartly narrated coverage of media trends, tech, business and politics with expertise, voice AND smart brevity — on a new and innovative mobile platform. At Axios — the Greek word for worthy — we provide only content worthy of people’s time, attention and trust.
It seems fortuitous indeed that both LibertyNation.com and Axios were launched the very same week. Our goal is to offer incisive commentary on public policy, the news, and culture from a “conservatarian” perspective. We aim to provide quality analysis that invites the thoughtful reader to engage and comment. Here at LibertyNation.com we will be closely monitoring Axios to see if they live up to their mission. And we plan to hold their feet to the fire should they make a left turn somewhere along the way.