The Spectacle Blog

Dateline Hillandale: Who’s the Real Threat?

By on 7.1.14 | 11:02AM

Well, this was unexpected. It’s not everyday you find your old neighborhood lambasted on the Spectacle.

Perhaps you’ve read Bill Zeiser’s bare-fisted slam on the “limousine liberals” who reside in Hillandale—the gated Georgetown community Janet Yellen calls home. I can’t imagine Bill’s blog post took him on assignment to the 20007, but I’d like to offer some personal context. You see, I used to live there…albeit in the comparative steerage of a rented townhome, where I resided with friends while in graduate school. 

As the original Wall Street Journal article suggests, Hillandale is a quiet, peaceful place, a manicured oasis amid a neighborhood brimming with drunken college kids and bustling commerce. Yes, the residents (those who own their homes) are generally wealthy. Many are retired. They value their privacy, and they’ve paid the price to enjoy it. I met many neighbors and can safely attest that few of them fit the “smug, liberal elite, [crybaby]” avatar Bill has foisted upon them. Many have spent a professional lifetime in D.C., and most I knew were bright, successful, and politically savvy.

I would agree with the Journal’s anonymous source regarding another famous fed who lived in Hillandale. Bob Mueller, former FBI chief, always arrived home in an up-armored Suburban, but he kept a suitably low profile. To my knowledge, there was no subsidized carriage house needed to board his security detail.

(I might add, at the expense of the poor man’s privacy, I recall Senator Lieberman swimming in the pool's lap lane with without assistance from frazzled schedulers or terse body-men.)

Yes, some of the people who live in Hillandale are probably snobs. They might not like exposed firearms or fast food or oil stains on the blacktop. But I’ll echo William Shawn's sentiment, from Williamson’s article: “Is this really necessary, [he wondered], to protect an unarmed economist from Brooklyn?”

The answer is “of course not.” What Bill ignores in his rant against the presumption of liberal elitism, is that Janet Yellen is being protected from a perceived threat from the political right.

If you're looking for obnoxious liberal elitism and political disconnect, there you have it. Janet Yellen isn’t being sheltered from ISIS or Boko Haram. Make no mistake: the Federal Reserve has equipped Yellen with a personal bodyguard to defend her from gun-toting crazies who claim the Gadsden flag as their political banner. 

I'd suggest to Bill, that offense begins far from Hillandale.

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