Don't blame Kerry. Blame E.J.!

A mostly political Weblog.
June 14 2005 1:03 AM

Don't Blame Kerry. Blame E.J.!

A self-deluding media failed the Democrats.

(Continued from Page 5)

I'd be happy to put the records out. We put all the records out that I had been sent by the military. Then at the last moment, they sent some more stuff, which had some things that weren't even relevant to the record. So when we get–I'm going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn't in the record and we'll put it out.

We want the military things that aren't "even relevant to the record." ... And the diaries! ... P.S.: Kerry also told Imus he delayed releasing his records because he needed to first "get it clarified with the military."  Get what clarified? ("I have a stack of different materials they've sent me every time they've sent me something, and I want to know exactly what they're sending." Hmmm.) ... P.P. S.: Would the revelation of Kerry's mediocre grades have been enough by itself to cause him to withhold his records for such an embarrassingly long time? Is he that vain and insecure? I think so! (RCP doesn't.)  Plus, as Taranto argues, even a non-vain Kerry may have rationally concluded that much of his appeal  "rested on intellectual snobbery" incapable of surviving the mid-campaign revelation of his college transcript. ... Swift Gloat: Soxblog, Althouse, and Sailer--who all suggested last year that Kerry was not so damn smart--claim vindication. ... See also Malkin and Maguire  (a Kerry skeptic who nevertheless has never bought the Non-Honorable Discharge theory) ...  2:44 P.M. link

The Deep Throat Team: Edward Jay Epstein's suggestion that Deep Throat was "composite" has now been reduced to the claim that he had help:

Less than 2 months after he supplied Woodward with this story, Felt was out of the FBI, but the flow of information to Woodward did not stop. According to a recent disclosure by another former FBI executive, Paul V. Daly, at least 3 other FBI officers were involved with Felt in this clandestine effort, all falling under the portmanteau cover of Deep Throat. If so, the Machiavellian operation was effectively obscured by Woodward's Deep Throat package. Instead of learning that a high-ranking FBI executive-- possibly with the aid of others in the FBI-- had been manipulating the press, the public was presented with a heroic tale of a patriotic loner, code named Deep Throat, who helped a dynamic duo of journalists defeat the governmental Goliath. [Emphasis added]

Epstein seems to feel this Felt-based conspiracy would be somehow unusual or sinister ("Machiavellian") when in fact it's business-as-usual in Washington. The great leakers often have help. That doesn't make them composites. (Deep Throat would be a "composite" if more than one of the FBI men had actually met with Woodward or otherwise communicated with him.) ... But Epstein's right that the existence of the informal Deep Throat Backup Team within the FBI undermines the "loner" mythology surrounding Felt. ... 1:59 P.M. link

Buried lede of the week: Sally Quinn, in an article about Deep Throat:

[Sen. John] Tower, who was a friend of my father, had attempted to sexually assault me when I was 18 and a college freshman. Embarrassed and ashamed, I had kept this story a closely guarded secret for years.

Hmm. .... How to get this juicy morsel into wider circulation? Serving suggestion: "Some trace the ugliness of Washington confirmation battles back to the 1989 rejection of John Tower's nomination to be secretary of defense. But it now looks as if a nominee like John Bolton falls far short of the Tower Standard for unacceptable behavior. ... " .... [Thanks to alert reader PKB] 1;18 A.M. link

Monday, June 6, 2005

Un-Times-like things happening on the LAT Web site. ... I don't understand. Where's the Pulitzer in this? Blogs won't win the LAT any Pulitzers, and everyone knows Pulitzers are all people in Southern California care about!  4:09 A.M.

The Rich Get Richer--But Why? David Cay Johnston's Sunday front-page NYT story on the very rich shows (a) they've gotten richer and (b) they've gotten big tax cuts. What he doesn't answer is the important question on the relationship between (a) and (b), namely how much richer would they have gotten if they hadn't gotten the tax cuts? ... When I looked at this question in the early 90s, the answer was pretty clear: the rich were growing richer due to changes in the underlying economy (e.g. greater rewards for skills) that affected their pretax income, not changes in the tax code that affected how much of that income they got to keep. Even when you factored in the income the rich earned on the money they kept due to lower Reagan-era taxes, tax cuts and benefit changes seemed to explain less than half the increase in the share of after-tax income going to the rich.** Maybe that's now changed, and the rich are getting richer entirely through tax changes. It would be interesting to know! It would suggest we really could reverse rising income inequality at the top by reversing the Republican tax cuts. I doubt this is true--the underlying economic forces (technology + trade) that produce big pre-tax fortunes are very powerful. But Johnston doesn't even try to give us the answer. ... He seems to assume we'll be so outraged that the "hyper-rich" are getting tax cuts at all that we won't ask if denying them the tax cuts would actually be enough to stop them from getting richer. Or maybe his editors just vaguely assume that all economic inequality comes from tax cuts. ...


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