Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Mr. Ickes on Another Line

Somebody forgot to lock down Harold. He's gotten loose on the deck. Here he is in The New York Observer bad-mouthing the brooding Brahmin's campaign consultant, Robert Shrum.

Talk about bad blood! This one goes all the way back to the Ted Kennedy presidential campaign of 1980. And it has been deeply ugly ever since.

As Manhattan comes to life this morning, rest assured that the phones are ringing. The urgent question: how to get Harold back in his box. It's delicate. Can't afford to piss him off, given the "independent advertising" he'll be doing with George Soros's money. On the other hand, the Kerry people are demanding that he be shut down, and asserting-- in a menacing sort of way-- that it's a "New York issue." We know what that means!

The big problem with a story like this is not the story itself (no one reads the NYO), it's the amplification of the story by other media. The key question: Will the NYT follow up? That would be bad, because then the "good" cable networks (those would be CNN and MSNBC) will make it a story. And then the slicks. And so on.

So many phone calls into the NYT today! Don't do it! It's not helpful! Don't forget that the publisher's wife is fully committed to the beat Bush cause. Wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of her, would you? Oh to be a liberal Democratic political operative in Manhattan this morning.

Ickes is, of course, right on the substance. But who cares about that?

Postscript: Happily enough, The New York Times did not follow up on the New York Observer's story. All those phone calls were not for naught.