Fresh West Wing dish!

Political commentary and more.
April 24 2002 8:57 PM

Fresh West Wing Dish!

And we're not talking about the TV show ...

Mary Matalin
Mary Matalin

White House counselor Karen Hughes'departure was no fun—everyone seems to believe she actually wants to spend more time with her family! But her leaving has, kausfiles hears, triggered a predictable scramble to get her powerful West Wing job.

The most intense scrambler (according to kausfiles' well-placed Bush source) appears to be Mary Matalin, currently an aide to Vice President Dick Cheney. As another brassy female, Matalin seems a logical candidate to replace Hughes. Cheney's camp is supporting Matalin, and she's experienced at talking to the press. There are just two problems, kausfiles hears:

1. Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, is opposed.

2. Bush doesn't like her.

Matalin doesn't know Bush doesn't like her. (Well, maybe she does now.) She thinks her relationship with him has improved.


It didn't help when Matalin opened up to Maureen Dowd of the New York Timesconfessing to Dowd that she was "inspired" by Hughes' departure, even gushing that it made Hughes something of a feminist hero. ("If Karen can do the work she loves in the place she wants to live while making her family happy and the president happy, isn't that a breakthrough?")  Matalin even filled the rest of Dowd's column with charming stories of her own children visiting the family-friendly White House.

Normally this sort of blather is good PR. But if her Dowd appearance was a campaign event, Matalin badly misjudged her audience. The Bush White House  (not without reason) detests the NYT op-ed page, and Dowd in particular. It's hard to think of a worse place from which to lobby for a big West Wing job. Bush also despises leakers. He would probably prefer to hire somebody who had never heard of Maureen Dowd, let alone somebody who knew her and provided her with material.

P.S.: Matalin is not going to get the job.

P.P.S.: There's also a possible complication involving Matalin's husband, James Carville, the Democratic consultant and broadcast personality who ran Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. Matalin, remember, ran George Bush Sr.'s 1992  campaign. (As a friend of mine once quipped, Carville and Matalin are famous because she's the woman who ran the worst presidential campaign in history, and he's the guy who beat the worst presidential campaign in history.) If the younger Bush doesn't want to repeat his father's mistakes, something he's reportedly obsessed with, he knows what to do—or, rather, what not to do. …



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.