Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

This Town

This Town

By Michael Strange

This TownThis Town

My dear husband has a new client, and this summer, as some clients do, he invited us into his lair. The premise was "getting to know you," which is how things got interesting. And, no, you dirty minded readers, it didn't have to do with spouse swapping. It had to do with the menu he sent of choices that were ours to make. Would we enjoy a cruise on his new 175-foot Feadship, which was docked in Antibes but could be repositioned to Croatia if we preferred? Or, perhaps, relax on the ranch at The Yellowstone Club and take a fly rod to some of Montana's best wild trout? Or, maybe some serious golf at his "little," 140-acre spread in Palm Springs. Or, the same at St. Andrews, Scotland, before a weekend party at his medieval country house in Gloucestershire, a mere gallop up the road from Prince Charles' Highgrove. Whatever the choice, he would send the G550 to whisk us from here to there.

My head whirled with the possibilities, but Mr. Strange, always level-headed, said we would limit the extravagance to the client's homebase in Aspen, which, he assured me, "is still one helluva outrageous monster mansion like you won't believe." He was right. This summer I got to see the world through new eyes, the eyes of the Big Dogs — the billionaire boy's club; the new new rich. Whatever you choose to call them, they are different from you and me, and anything or anyone that's come before.

The Big Dogs club is only for serious money; the mere millionaires are on the outside, their noses pressed to the glass, hoping to get membership one day. In this new rich world order, the talk is always of the possible. This is not old-school inherited wealth, meager by comparison, and too often mingy and moldy. These are proud, self-made, can-do, freshly-farmed fortunes. Our Mr. Big Dog founded a company in the Calloutearly '90s, sold it well in 2004 and now (as of August) weighs in at a cool $3.1 billion, making all about - his, the nation's and the world's. While he knows he could buy a small nation, he's content merely to try to run this one, and he's hired my husband to guide him through the choppy waters of Washington.

Fasten your seat belts, friends and neighbors — this town holds the last chunk of acquisition the billionaires haven't conquered. We've got what they want: the privilege to make laws. Anyone who has ever had big boy toys, whether the plaything be a yacht, jet or ranch in Wyoming, knows that even a private island can begin to bore. Power, on the other hand, has enduring allure. Yesterday it was Corzine, today it's Bloomberg, tomorrow it will be my husband's client and many more like him.

Let me take you inside the dinner we had with Mr. BD and a few of his cronies, each listening intently as my darling taught the master class in gaming higher office. No one flinched at the cost. Their chief concern, apart from maintaining their status as social welfare angels, was speed. "How much time will it take to get a Senate seat, and do I have to work my way up?" they asked, not wanting to waste time on the State house if it wasn't the fast track. From their go-go-go perspective, delay is a downer. So are suits and ties. In a brief mention of attire, Mr. Strange made light of our host's preference for Hawaiian shirts and cut-off jeans, not exactly the mufti of Capitol Michael StrangeHill or Pennsylvania Avenue. But he was not persuaded. "Man, I don't wear suits. Suits are for the lawyers and bankers," he shot back.

My sartorially splendid husband laughed about that crack half way back to Washington, as we sipped perfect martinis in the lush comfort of the Gulfstream. "Would you leave me for one of those guys and all those billions?" he asked. "No way," I said, honestly. "There's a reason it's called a 'boys' club, darling."



Home  |   Where To Find Us  |   Advertising  |   Privacy Policy  |   Site Map  |   Purchase Photos  |   About Us

Click here to go to the NEW Washington Life Magazine