The Corner

The Perils of Joe Klein

He writes about “how the White House reflexively dealt with unpleasant news: destroy the messenger. Last week there was more of the same, according to a prominent Republican, who told me that the White House had sent out talking points about how to attack Brent Scowcroft after Bush the Elder’s National Security Adviser went public with his opposition to the war in the New Yorker magazine. ‘I was so disgusted that I deleted the damn e-mail before I read it,’ the Republican said. ‘But that’s all this White House has now: the politics of personal destruction.’”

I am almost certain I know the email this “prominent Republican” is discussing. It’s too bad neither Klein nor his prominent Republican friend read it. It was not a how-to guide about attacking Scowcroft, and it did not make any personal attacks on Scowcroft. Instead it explained why the author regarded Scowcroft’s specific points and general philosophy as wrong. Is that a terrible thing for the White House to do? The “politics of personal destruction” is generally thought to be a bad thing because it involves smears and distortions. Maybe Klein and his anonymous pal should stop practicing it. Mary Mapes asked for more corroboration.

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.

Most Popular

White House

Another Warning Sign

The Mueller report is of course about Russian interference in the 2016 election and about the White House's interference in the resulting investigation. But I couldn’t help also reading the report as a window into the manner of administration that characterizes the Trump era, and therefore as another warning ... Read More

Supreme Court Mulls Citizenship Question for Census

Washington -- The oral arguments the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday will be more decorous than the gusts of judicial testiness that blew the case up to the nation’s highest tribunal. The case, which raises arcane questions of administrative law but could have widely radiating political and policy ... Read More
Film & TV

Jesus Is Not the Joker

Actors love to think they can play anything, but the job of any half-decent filmmaker is to tell them when they’re not right for a part. If the Rock wants to play Kurt Cobain, try to talk him out of it. Adam Sandler as King Lear is not a great match. And then there’s Joaquin Phoenix. He’s playing Jesus ... Read More