If you’re willing to watch an ad for ESPN, you can read Judd Legum and Faiz Shakir’s analysis of how unlikely it is that the White House blowback effort directed against Joseph Wilson took place without George W. Bush knowing all about it. Legum and Shakir point out that, as far as pure, nasty political legbreaking goes, Karl Rove had nothing to learn from his most famous client.
They recount the following story:
In 1986, veteran reporter Al Hunt predicted that Jack Kemp would receive the 1988 Republican presidential nomination instead of George H.W. Bush. When George W. saw Hunt dining with his wife and 4-year-old son at a Mexican restaurant in Dallas, he went up to their table and said, “You fucking son of bitch. I won’t forget what you said and you’re going to pay a fucking price for it.” Bush didn’t apologize until 13 years later, when the incident resurfaced in the context of his own presidential campaign.
Footnote I must be three sigma above the mean in political junkiness, but I had never heard of that incident before, a fact which provides, I think, eloquent testimony about the incompetence of the Gore campaign and the lack of enterprise of the reporters who covered the campaign of 2000. Just imagine if we’d heard half as much as that story as we did abot Gore’s fashion consultant.