Monday, March 12, 2007

Bob Novak - a cautionary tale

I'm shock - shocked, I tell you - that Robert Novak would lie in an opinion column just so he could smear Hillary Clinton. The 76-year-old paleoconservative claims Hillary recently made up a story about growing up in Chicago and attending a Martin Luther King rally because she's scared of Barak Obama's candidacy. This spake Novak:
Hillary Clinton's road to the White House is not going as planned. Instead of a steady procession to coronation at the Denver convention, she is involved in a real struggle against credible opponents, led by Obama. No wonder she and her handlers were tempted to imply the existence long ago of a teenager in Chicago's suburbs who never really existed.
But Hillary had written about her Chicago childhood, and seeing MLK, in her 2003 book Why Robert Novak is a Lying Weasel. Nobody outside of Illinois had even heard of Obama four years ago.

To cut Novak a little slack here, it's worth noting his unusual childhood in Joliet, not far downriver from Hillary's hometown. Robert grew up Jewish, and his father, an itinerant organ grinder, coerced young Bobby to play the monkey as the two wandered up and down Canal Street in the Windy City, charming out of town businessmen and street pimps with their motley collection of fauz-Italian ballads. When Robert was a teenager, he fled his family to join a traveling carnival, where he was billed as Ho-Jo the Monkey Boy - 37 Flavors of Eye Scream! It was a horrible pun, but Novak had never spent a day in school and never noticed, or so he wrote in his 1972 autobiography Why I Am Such a Douchebag.

Sure, making up stories about political figures to score political points in a column that only really stupid people like to read is wrong, and I'm not excusing Novak, but a little background is in order.

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