Once a Predictable Tool, Always a Predictable Tool

novak-pawned.pngPoor Bob Novak. Usually when people use him for political ends, he’s able to maintain the fiction that the leaks he gets are true.

But not so his "scoop" that McCain was going to announce his Veep choice this week:

I got a suggestion from a very senior McCain aide late yesterday afternoon that he was going to announce it this week, that they didn’t want it to come out the way it was going to come out, and they suggested that I put it out. I then called another senior person, who said, "I can’t talk about that but wouldn’t this be a terrific week to announce it, that is, with Obama getting the headlines? So I just put something on the Internet that the McCain camp–sources close to the McCain campaign suggested he might, he might name it this week, but didn’t disclose the name. I, I since have been told by certain people that this was a dodge, they were trying to get a bit of publicity to rain on Mc–on Obama’s campaign. That’s pretty reprehensible, if it’s true, but we’ll find out in a few days whether, uh, what I was, suggested was true or was a scam.

Curiously, Novak doesn’t seem all that pissed at being set up as a tool. Given that he was quick to admit Karl Rove and Richard Armitage as his sources for the CIA leak case–though not, remember, Scooter Libby–that sort of suggests Novak’s not that surprised or pissed this tip turned out to be false. Otherwise Novak would name the senior McCain aides.

Then again, I can’t help but remember the central role that the Off the Record Club played in the leak of Valerie Wilson’s name. There was Ken Duberstein, the guy who set up Richard Armitage to leak to Novak. He’s McCain’s senior political aide. The founder of the Off the Record Club, Richard Hohlt, is the guy who faxed Novak’s column to Rove in advance, so he would know that Valerie was good and outed so Rove could start prepping the secondary "Wilson’s wife is Fair Game" campaign. I don’t think Hohlt has a significant role in McCain’s campaign–though he is "known as the person you go to to try to get stuff in Novak’s column." Another key Off the Record Club member sure does have a key role in McCain’s campaign, though: Charlie Black, McCain’s ethically-impaired Chief Strategist. Black was pushing the Administration line on the leak throughout the investigation and trial.

Now these guys wouldn’t have reason to believe they could call up Novak and give him just any story and he’d print it, would they? They wouldn’t think that Bob Novak, with all his years of experience, would take an obviously politically motivated suggestion, call up another source who kind of sort of confirms the first suggestion, and publish it, would they?

I don’t know–but I guess I understand why Novak’s not outing his sources here.

  1. JimWhite says:

    Shocked. I am just shocked. No, not that he would print the obvious plant. I’m shocked he made a call to try to verify the plant.

  2. Peterr says:

    That’s pretty reprehensible, if it’s true, but we’ll find out in a few days whether, uh, what I was, suggested was true or was a scam.

    Could this be a Novak shot across the bow, suggesting that the McCain senior aides take a few days to ponder whether/when Novak will out them? “Nice campaign you’ve got here, fellas. It’d be a shame if anything were to happen to it, because someone told me a couple of lies.”

    But whether Novak is whining or posturing, if Obama comes back to the US and no VP candidate has been named, we ought to help poor Robert get his dignity back.

    I mean, if Novak can out a NOC, surely he could out a couple of CONs.

      • Peterr says:

        The phrase “blaze of glory” comes to mind.

        With Broder taking the Washington Post buyout and his other old cronies either dying or retiring, Novak’s got to be leaning in that direction himself anyway.

        But you’re probably right. Still, it would be nice to see Novak bite the hand that’s been feeding him all these years.

  3. MadDog says:

    And totally OT, if either or both WilliamOckham or Citizen92 happen to stop in, I left a final techie comment over at EW’s “How Could It POSSIBLY Be Part of Karl Rove’s “Official Duties” to Hijack DOJ?” post.

  4. masaccio says:

    Cass Sunstein, a legal adviser to Obama, says he thinks only egregious violations of the law should be prosecuted. He thinks we should avoid even a hint of retribution.

    Why bother changing parties at the White House?

    • bmaz says:

      Another genius “Constitutional scholar” from Chicago. Do these elite Chicago “Constitutional scholars” actually pay attention to what is going on in the world, or are they just so stunningly oblivious that they don’t think there have been mass “egregious violations” of the law and/or Constitution? I am just a lowly schlep compared to the Chicago scholars, but I just don’t understand their apparent standards. And they are certainly not consistent with any Constitutional scholar I know or have known. I am trying to remain polite, my real thoughts have, um, a few sharper edges right now.

      • MadDog says:

        Yeah, I think the word has gone out to all the “Democratic” Villagers from on high that everything, and I mean every-fookin’-thing is “off the table”.

        Unless blood has been spilled (ours, mind you, not “theirs”), everybody gets a free pass, and heaven forbid, don’t look back ’cause something is probably gaining on you.

        That “Constitutional Scholars” are apparently lacking in common sense surprises me not at all. These are folks who are so myopically focused on twigs, bark, leaves, they miss the tree much less the forest.

      • Leen says:

        Sunstein also said the American people do not need to witness two President’s in a row face impeachment. Hogwash complete hogwash. He could not be more off target. Our country was held captive by the MSM’s and a Republican controlled congress’s obsessive fixation on President Clintons lies under oath about a blow job. Obsessive fixation! After six years of a Republican controlled congress doing absolutely NOTHING about an administration who fed the American public an intelligence snowjob and peoples lives being lost based on this “pack of lies” It is essential that this Democratically controlled congress (and those Republicans who have any real integrity) to hold the Bush Thugs ACCOUNTABLE. It is the very least that our reps can do for those who have lost their lives based on an unnecessary and immoral war.

        Sunstein is out of touch with the peasants

    • bobschacht says:

      Cass Sunstein, a legal adviser to Obama, says he thinks only egregious violations of the law should be prosecuted. He thinks we should avoid even a hint of retribution.

      Why bother changing parties at the White House?

      If ever there was a group in the White House that went by Luther’s motto, Sin boldly (if at all), Bushco is the prime #1 all time demo. What they have done ought to be held up as the dictionary definition of “egregious” (with an apologetic nod to the firepup with that nom de plume). To deny that these acts were egregious is, well, an extreme act of denial. And I’m not writing about a river in Africa, either.

      Unfortunately, instead of a Democratic Party, we have a gaggle of ostriches, only a few of which have their heads out of the sand. No wonder their approval rating is so low (9%? did I hear that correctly?) That’s getting into Ralph Nader territory. Maybe we do need a Green Party.

      Bob in HI

      • PetePierce says:

        That would be Candidate for President Cynthia McKinney. It’s profoundly disappointing to hear such crap from Cass Sunstein who has written so much so well in law reviews and books previously.

        • Leen says:

          Seriously Sunstein needs to get off the campuses of Univ of Chicago and Harvard and on too the streets. Mingle with some folks who are not all wrapped up in that academic world.

          Most Americans have completely lost any faith that they had in this system. There is a moral and spiritual crisis in this country. If we do not witness our elected officials stand for any substantive accountability how can they expect the same from the common folks.

          Monkey see Monkey do

      • PetePierce says:

        Cass Sunstein is making a sudden move from U Chicago to Harvard Law Obama’s alma mater to be with his new honey Samantha Power.

        The Real Reason Cass Sunstein’s Going to Harvard? He’s Got the Power

        And equally OT and of no substantive value to this conversation, one of my prime “PP Candidates” Tom Delay DeLay’s lawyer says he won’t seek a “pre-emptive pardon” or “to get a PP” as it’s known in the most sophisticated legal circles, but that doesn’t mean that Bush won’t [bestow a] PP on him:

        DeLay’s lawyer rules out seeking pardon from Bush

    • prostratedragon says:

      Wonder where his line is in relation to either version of the Yoo Boundary (”organ failure” etc. as LUB to the allowable or no apparent LUB if the President orders it; you can switch “upper” for “lower” if you like)?

    • Leen says:

      I watched Sunstein on Democracy Now yesterday.
      http://www.democracynow.org/ His reasoning for not holding the thugs in the Bush administration accountable were weak and distasteful. It would be bad for the country etc etc. This guy spends too much time doing research and reading law books, he needs to get out on the street more and talk to some middle class and other citizens who are struggling and demoralized. He needs to come and visit families in Glouster, Chauncey or Trimble Ohio where two family members are working for 8 dollars an hour (because the unions were destroyed in these areas) and have a son or daughter serving in Iraq based on a “pack of lies”. (I believe he lives in Chicago he needs to go start talking to folks in Gary and in the areas of Chicago where families have family members serving in Iraq)

      If Sunstein has any real interest in witnessing this country get back on its feet with any type of integrity or hope the American people need to witness this administration held accountable in very serious ways. The very same justice system that would throw any of these folks and most of us in prison for life for the crimes committed by the Bush administration and yet the Bush thugs run free, just does not stand up for these people and many more. If they are not held accountable that will only confirm for most Americans that there are indeed several Justice systems in this country and the lack of accountability will confirm ONCE AGAIN that we are NOT ALL EQUAL UNDER THE LAW. These folks are well aware of this.

      If our congress people really want this country to regain any belief in this system there had better be accountability or the moral, physical and spiritual degradation that is taking place in this country will move at warp speeds.

      Sunstein’s analysis is way off…I don’t care how smart he is

  5. PetePierce says:

    Back in the day Evans and Novak was a column to be respected. Bob Novak has morphed into a walking Fox Noise and should be relegated to the Judy Miller Fox Noise dungeon of shills who are much less journalists than Jon Stewart.

    Or a better way to say it is Jon Stewart is exponentially more of a journalist on his show than Novak or Fox.

  6. 4jkb4ia says:

    If Obama ends the war, then the ship of accountability will have sailed on the war. But Obama still has the responsibility to show that the human rights violations Team EW has been talking about are egregious violations of law and cannot be hidden behind OLC opinions or good faith or any such thing. If Team Bush is held accountable for even one of these then history will never justify them.

  7. 4jkb4ia says:

    “history will never justify them”–their ignominy will be clearly known and will overshadow their accomplishments even if they had any. The American people would not go along with the rehabilitation of Nixon if they knew that was happening.

  8. PJEvans says:

    Sunstein sounds like he’s out of the same pile of sh*t that got us into this mess. No way will he help us get out.

    Back on topic: Novakula has been cited for hitting (and slightly injuring) a DC pedestrian. He was driving his male-ego-supporting convertible ‘Vette, and ‘didn’t know he’d hit anyone’. (Not his first run-in, either. Apparently Novak is a hazard to everyone around him.)