“I see lobbying,” Tony Podesta has said, “as getting information in the hands of people who are making decisions so they can make more informed decisions.” Last week the information Tony Podesta was giving was the divorce complaint he had filed in D.C. Court against his wife Heather. The hands receiving the information were those of a gossip columnist for the Washington Post, who made the “informed decision” to report on it. Later in the day Heather, who is also a lobbyist, passed the text of her counter-suit to the Post. It published a follow-up.
The communications giant Comcast announced in February that it would buy Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, creating the largest cable provider in America, with more than 33 million customers. That is about one third of the U.S. cable and satellite television market. FCC approval is required for the merger to go into effect. Critics of the deal say it would lessen competition and lead to even shoddier customer service. They are probably right, as all of us will soon find out, because there is little chance the merger will be stopped. Comcast, Time Warner, and their political fixers have spent years preparing for this moment—by buying off the Democratic Party.
Another man might have assumed, correctly, that launching a campaign of insult and insinuation against two billionaires would result in renewed attention to his own finances. Not Harry Reid. The Senate Democratic leader since 2005, and the Senate majority leader since 2007, is not one to reflect before speaking. His mouth runs far ahead of his brain.
Some lies just won’t go away. In February the Washington Post published an article with the following headline: “Why There’s No Democratic Version of the Koch Brothers’ Organization.” It was the umpteenth attempt to explain, in a particularly simplistic manner, how the millionaires and billionaires who donate money to the Democratic Party are nothing, absolutely nothing, like those meanie cancer research philanthropists Charles and David Koch.
So long have I waited for the glass ceiling to be shattered, for the barrier to be breached, for the blessed moment to arrive. I had thought that the day that begins with a woman in the Oval Office, with more than 50 percent of our population feeling truly represented, was a day long in coming. I had thought 2008 would be the year we made history, with Hillary Clinton coming so close to the Democratic nomination, with Sarah Palin becoming the first woman on the Republican ticket.
The headline from this week’s Organizing For America summit was the president’s remark that OFA volunteers are doing “God’s work.” Nothing, though, on who was in the audience during the invitation-only, “intimate roundtable discussion” between the president, his 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe, and his 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina. I would like to know who was there. I would like to know who was there because I would like to tell them, as gently as possible, that they are being bilked. Messina is taking their money and building an empire with it.
Over the last several weeks, reading news of disorder and upheaval from Venezuela to the Levant to Ukraine to Iraq to Afghanistan, I have thought often of a poem written almost a century ago. Thomas Hardy composed “The Convergence of the Twain” in memory of the sinking of the Titanic. It was published in 1915, three years after the great ship made contact with the deadly iceberg, but reading it today one cannot help experiencing its timelessness, cannot help sharing in its tragic sense of fate.
When the Free Beacon published “The Hillary Papers” last Sunday night, we knew the story would have to cross a high bar. The piece was scrupulously fact-checked. All of the documents we cited were loaded onto the Internet. Every effort was made to present as straightforwardly as possible the contents of the papers, which show Hillary Clinton as hardheaded, calculating, and, yes, ruthless. (Re-read the part where she axes a Supreme Court appointment out of spite.)
What I did not expect was that the media would undergo such a tortured and dramatic breakdown, would struggle so laboriously to acknowledge the scoop while schizophrenically downplaying its importance.
You are an accomplished adult, at the top of your field, working in the heart of the greatest city in the world. Important people answer your emails and phone calls. Yet there is one person in the office who bugs you, whose demeanor you find obnoxious. You want to take a stand, to let this individual know his behavior is uncalled for, imperious, despotic even. And so you do the only thing a mature and levelheaded man in your position can do: You refuse to sit with him at lunch.
Say goodbye to the big stick. Say hello to the big chide.
Five months ago, you will recall, President Obama was preparing to launch military strikes against Bashar al-Assad. The strikes were averted when the Russians, seizing on a gaffe by Secretary of State John Kerry, proposed a deal in which Assad would give up his WMD if the United States did not bomb.