December 15th, 2005

Novak Cracks Like April Ice

by Philip Baruth

Talk about the effects of torture.

Apparently the legal and media-related pressures on Bob Novak — the same pressures that caused him to curse and walk off the set of CNN’s Inside Politics back in August — have had their desired effect: Tuesday he fingered Bush in the Plame affair.

No, seriously. In public. At a Republican think-tank. In front of God and everyone.

“‘I’m confident the president knows who the source is,” Novak told a luncheon audience at the John Locke Foundation in Raleigh, N.C., on Tuesday, according to an account published yesterday in the Raleigh News & Observer. ‘I’d be amazed if he doesn’t.’

“‘So I say, don’t bug me. Don’t bug Bob Woodward. Bug the president as to whether he should reveal who the source is,’ Novak said.”

Read that last paragraph again. Is it me, or did this story get unbelievably little play? Bob Novak — Lord Dracula of the right-wing media empire, keeper of secrets, hatcher of plots — not only tells the world that Bush knows the source of the Plame leak, but actively encourages the mainstream media and the Special Prosecutor to hound him about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I ate it up with a spoon. But it’s weird and politically unnatural, like finding a salamander born with three heads. You wonder what it can possibly portend.

P.S. When I’m feeling low and blue sometimes, I like to pull out the footage of Novak’s tantrum with James Carville on that infamous Inside Politics segment. Novak looks so petulant and yet so much like he stumbled out of a second-rate Anne Rice novel. If it’s been awhile, go back and watch it again. Like Thelma and Louise, or Amadeus, it just gets better and richer with each viewing.