The Corner

David Corn on Phil Gramm

The left-wing journalist David Corn is mightily exercised about 4 1/2 sentences I recently wrote about an article of his. He objects, first, to calling his article, “Foreclosure Phil,” a “hit piece” on Gramm. Fine. Let’s call it a criticism of Gramm that doesn’t tell his side of the story even to refute it and is written in purple prose. Is that better?

He makes the valid point that in my 4 1/2 sentences, I do not address every factual or interpretive claim that he makes in his hit–er, criticism of Gramm. In particular, I do not address Corn’s argument that the deregulation of a type of swaps contributed a great deal to our current financial troubles, not least because Corn barely makes an argument to that effect. Nor does my article go into the general question of whether lobbyists should be advising campaigns. (For the record, my answer to the rhetorical question Corn throws out is: I don’t care whether lobbyists advise campaigns.)

In retrospect, my article was too easy on Corn. His article passed along the long-discredited story that Gramm and his wife had pushed through regulatory changes for the benefit of Enron. I went through the distortions involved, but didn’t specifically mention Corn’s role in promoting the bogus story. Consider that omission rectified. 

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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