The Prince is dead
August 18, 2009 9:15 AM   Subscribe

Robert Novak, "The Prince of Darkness," died at his home early Tuesday. He was 78.

Novak was suffering from a brain tumor announced last summer. Human Events has an obituary column.
posted by T.D. Strange (168 comments total)

 
grudgingly: .
posted by klanawa at 9:19 AM on August 18, 2009


Unless there's a stake through his heart, he's not really dead.

Nonetheless...
.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:20 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


 
posted by grouse at 9:20 AM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


He was an ass.
posted by Mister_A at 9:20 AM on August 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


I mourn his replacement by people like Glenn Beck.
posted by DU at 9:21 AM on August 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


I believe he finally decided to "meet the sun."
posted by geoff. at 9:22 AM on August 18, 2009 [12 favorites]


If he was the immortal Prince, Tuesday would be like Thursday underwater or outer space, depending.
I suspect neither.
posted by Mblue at 9:23 AM on August 18, 2009


Gone home.
posted by Sailormom at 9:23 AM on August 18, 2009


My mom taught me that if you can't say something nice about someone, don't say anything at all. Here then, is my tribute to RN : " ".
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I always hoped for a guilty of treason verdict and a hanging over the Valerie Plame outing at some point.

I guess this will have to do.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Mblue at 9:24 AM on August 18, 2009


Can we not link to Human Events from here, please?
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 9:25 AM on August 18, 2009


,
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 9:25 AM on August 18, 2009


Barbara Matusow interviewed him last year: "Pray for Me".

Here's his response to the Valerie Plame leak story, prior to Libby's conviction.
posted by zarq at 9:25 AM on August 18, 2009


Not a fan of his in the slightest, but I wouldn't wish a brain tumor on anyone -- having watched a relative die that way, it's not a pleasant way to go.
posted by modernnomad at 9:26 AM on August 18, 2009


Another scoundrel that could play dirty but still rub elbows with elites at nice dinner parties. Strange world. Adios.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:26 AM on August 18, 2009


Can we not link to Human Events from here, please?

Why not?
posted by zarq at 9:26 AM on August 18, 2009


*
posted by diogenes at 9:28 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Mark Shields, a highly respected Democratic pundit, said he was a good friend for many years and described him, and I'm paraphrasing, as a man of integrity and heart. RIP.
posted by uraniumwilly at 9:28 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Good riddance.
posted by grubi at 9:29 AM on August 18, 2009


Here's the classic clip of Novak getting schooled by Frank Zappa.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Christ, what an asshole at 9:29 AM on August 18, 2009 [19 favorites]


.
posted by jaimev at 9:29 AM on August 18, 2009


Let's also not forget that he sabotaged George McGovern's presidential bid by identifying him as a candidate of "Amnesty, Abortion and Acid," based on an unnamed source. That source? Thomas Eagleton, McGovern later asked to run as his VP candidate, which, obviously, would never have happened if McGovern had known he was the source of the quote. Eagleton had a history of mental health problems, which he had not disclosed to McGovern, and this likewise helped sabotage the McGovern campaign. As a result, Nixon was reelected.

Good work there, Bob. You leave behind a hell of a legacy of jounalistic malcompetence.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:34 AM on August 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


Here's the classic clip of Novak getting schooled by Frank Zappa.

Christ, what an asshole.
posted by Christ, what an asshole


You don't need to sign your posts. It's an automated feature.
posted by gman at 9:34 AM on August 18, 2009 [18 favorites]


*
posted by notsnot at 9:39 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Mark Shields, a highly respected Democratic pundit, said he was a good friend for many years and described him, and I'm paraphrasing, as a man of integrity and heart.

Mark Shields is also capable of having reasonable discussions with David Brooks. So his judgment is questionable.
posted by diogenes at 9:39 AM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


It's awful but Robert Novak always reminded me a bit of this.
posted by Shanachie at 9:39 AM on August 18, 2009


Unless he apologized to the nation for being a traitor, he can rot in hell.
posted by 2sheets at 9:39 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Here's the classic clip of Novak getting schooled by Frank Zappa."

Gah. 1986 and they were already shouting over one another.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 9:40 AM on August 18, 2009


Well now he's never going to apologize.
posted by c*r at 9:41 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's awful but Robert Novak always reminded me a bit of this.

His oddly-dark eyebrows (not to mention ridiculous conservatism) reminded me of this.
posted by DU at 9:42 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


A few classic TV moments.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on August 18, 2009


Robert Novak explains why he published Valerie Plame's name (YouTube).

Also: "Don't tell me to shut up, asshole."
posted by pracowity at 9:43 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


For all the ill this guy did, you have to admit he was pretty good as the bad guy in Weird Al's UHF:

This community means about as much to me as a festering ball of dog snot! You think I care about the pea-brained yokels of this town? If you took their combined I.Q., and multiplied it by a hundred, you might have enough intelligence to tie your shoe, if you didn't drool all over yourself first. I can't stand those sniveling maggots! They make me want to puke! But, there is one good thing about broadcasting to a town full of mindless sheep. I always know I have them exactly where I want them. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:44 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here's the classic clip of Novak getting schooled by Frank Zappa.

Frank Zappa, prescient as always.
posted by dammitjim at 9:46 AM on August 18, 2009


All right, coffee break's over. Back on your heads!
posted by cerebus19 at 9:47 AM on August 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


Last July, Novak was involved in a hit-and-run incident with a pedestrian. Novak claimed he didn't know he hit someone. A few days later, he found out he had a brain tumor.

I never agreed with anything that came out of Novak's mouth but I do empathize with what he had to go through in the final year of his life.
posted by grounded at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2009


.?
posted by JoanArkham at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2009


Well done, cerebus19!
posted by Xoebe at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2009


Funny, he reminded me of this.
posted by mazola at 9:50 AM on August 18, 2009


i'd like to retract my "."

since everyone else is doing it: rot in hell douchebag!
posted by klanawa at 9:51 AM on August 18, 2009


And I would like to retract my "." (even though it was only used to end a sentence)
posted by mazola at 9:52 AM on August 18, 2009


*

From the grave, Novak has managed to teach us a new meme. The appositeness came to me before I even saw the other uses in this thread.
posted by mwhybark at 9:56 AM on August 18, 2009


Ah, the douche bag of liberty is no more. Will the follow-on douche bag be better or worse? Beck is no heir to the throne, he doesn't have the skill.
posted by Bovine Love at 9:56 AM on August 18, 2009


Despite the ugly sentiments people express when an ideological rival dies, Novak understood his base and had an uncanny ability to find the facts that would be of keen interest to them -- it was news you could use, but only if you stood to the right of the line in the sand.

I was never a fan of partisan reportage, but Novak knew how to do his homework -- you could not dispute the facts -- what was far easier to do was dispute his interpretation of what those facts meant.

These days, partisan journalists are spoon-fed spin and act as part stenographer, part actor, hamming it up with insults and tantrums to hide the fact they did no research -- but despite their smoke and mirrors tricks, what you see if all opinion, no facts. Just tell people what they want to hear to justify their fears of monsters and you can make it far in the business, even if for a few moments before a shriller shill out-shouts you.

People will remember Novak for the partisanship and his "outing" of a spy, but what will get lost in all the noise is that he was no slouch as a journalist -- perhaps this could be a lesson for reporters who fancy themselves as celebrities and will want to do it the quick no-brainer way of partisan reportage -- all your accomplishments will be eclipsed because you only looked at the world from one side of the fence...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:58 AM on August 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


I have nothing nice to say, so I'll say nothing at all.
posted by jsavimbi at 9:58 AM on August 18, 2009


well damn, one more person to add to the list of why I should invent a time machine and use it go kick people in the nuts... scribble Walter Freeman, Ronald Reagan, Edward Teller, Robert Novak...

that said... well yeah, that's about as much as I can muster.
posted by edgeways at 9:58 AM on August 18, 2009


Can we not link to Human Events from here, please?

Why not?


Mainly to avoid supporting batshitinsanity with Google juice and more ad revenue.

rot in hell douchebag!

You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Save it for whatever the liberal equivalent of FreeRepublic is.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 10:02 AM on August 18, 2009


His actions went beyond ideology and mere punditry, he was a traitor.
His last days should have been spent in a prison hospital.
posted by 2sheets at 10:04 AM on August 18, 2009


mwhybark: "*

From the grave, Novak has managed to teach us a new meme.
"

Uh....read some Vonnegut.
posted by notsnot at 10:07 AM on August 18, 2009


Funny how much people loathe this guy. He never really caused any death or long term suffering (and Plame got a sweet book deal out of the "outing"). His views were fairly obtuse and he was combative and boorish but he wasn't hugely crazy bastard like many in favor now. It must be a combination of all the screen time and his distinctly off-putting voice and facial expression that is factoring into the hate.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by brundlefly at 10:08 AM on August 18, 2009


He never really caused any death or long term suffering.

Except for all the long term suffering he caused. And probably death.
posted by item at 10:08 AM on August 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


Was having a lousy day, so thanks for this post!!
posted by jeremy b at 10:09 AM on August 18, 2009


I'll wait 15 Minutes for a . I can believe in.
posted by togdon at 10:09 AM on August 18, 2009


Ahhh... that's a beautiful sound that I hear: the sound of that generation dying off, one by one.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:09 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


De mortuis nil nisi... oh, who am I kidding?

As for his motivates behind his hit-and-run (just like his style of journalism), he had previously declared, "I really hate jay walkers. I despise them. Since I don't run the country, all I can do is yell at 'em. The other option is to run 'em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:10 AM on August 18, 2009


Not to derail, but I googled up John Lofton, the guy who's frothing at the mouth in the Zappa Crossline appearance. That guy is like nine buckets of crazy in a four bucket sack....how do these people ever get on television, much less sitting next to Frank Zappa?
posted by nevercalm at 10:16 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can we not link to Human Events from here, please?


I tried to find a liberal viewpoint obit to even out the post- but the HuffPo roundup was as close as I got.

But I think Metafilter's natural invective provided the balance.
posted by T.D. Strange at 10:18 AM on August 18, 2009


As for his motivates behind his hit-and-run (just like his style of journalism), he had previously declared, "I really hate jay walkers. I despise them. Since I don't run the country, all I can do is yell at 'em. The other option is to run 'em over, but as a compassionate conservative, I would never do that."

Wow. Just wow. This universe is really better off without that cockhead.
posted by item at 10:18 AM on August 18, 2009


Ahhh... that's a beautiful sound that I hear: the sound of that generation dying off, one by one.

And that other not-so-beautiful sound is the hushed whisper of that generation handing over their baggage to the next generation.
posted by blucevalo at 10:19 AM on August 18, 2009


His views were fairly obtuse and he was combative and boorish but he wasn't hugely crazy bastard like many in favor now.

I dont understand why people think this is a bad thing. I want to see the GOP collapse and American Conservatism move to a sane middle. For that to happen all the slick douchebags like Novak need to be replaced by unsophisticated nutters who will do nothing but alienate and marginalize the right.

My only complaint is that bums like Novak, Regan, Buckley did not live to see the eventual fruits of their hateful and ignorant philosophies.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:19 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not to derail, but...

Honestly, crosstalk is probably more appropriate in this thread than that period thingy
posted by mazola at 10:19 AM on August 18, 2009


Mainly to avoid supporting batshitinsanity with Google juice and more ad revenue.

Ah.
posted by zarq at 10:19 AM on August 18, 2009


Here's wishing Bob Novak the kind of afterlife he deserves.
posted by markkraft at 10:21 AM on August 18, 2009


.
posted by gyc at 10:26 AM on August 18, 2009


Things you Don't Know: Novak was a registered Democrat. He worked for Lyndon Johnson. He was raised Jewish but converted to Catholicism in 1998. BTW. He supported Ron Paul in 2008. And he opposed the invasion of Iraq.
posted by tkchrist at 10:28 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Things you Don't Know: Novak was a registered Democrat. He worked for Lyndon Johnson. He was raised Jewish but converted to Catholicism in 1998. BTW. He supported Ron Paul in 2008. And he opposed the invasion of Iraq.

None of that shit makes the man more likable.
posted by item at 10:31 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:36 AM on August 18, 2009


rot in hell douchebag!

You ought to be ashamed of yourself.
what you think I should be and what I am are two very, very different things. give the old sarcasm detector a tweak.
posted by klanawa at 10:36 AM on August 18, 2009


Eh, one of the requirements of claiming to be more human than the other side is, um... being more human than the other side.

Perhaps fewer pirouettes on the man's grave? Just saying.
posted by Pragmatica at 10:39 AM on August 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


He was a man of wealth and taste.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:41 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


And he opposed the invasion of Iraq.

Except for outing a spy because of his support for the invasion of Iraq, sure.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:41 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let me know when Cheney and Frank Luntz join him. Then I might muster a dot out of pure celebration.
posted by kimdog at 10:46 AM on August 18, 2009


klanawa, you and I appear to be using different definitions of sarcasm.

Eh, one of the requirements of claiming to be more human than the other side is, um... being more human than the other side.

Bears repeating.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 10:50 AM on August 18, 2009


You know if it weren't for his distinctly off-putting voice and facial expressions people probably would have loved him.
posted by Sailormom at 10:59 AM on August 18, 2009


> Perhaps fewer pirouettes on the man's grave? Just saying.

Robert Novak stood on a soapbox and was heard around the world. While up there, he lied (over and over again) & committed treason, all for little more than personal gain. Men and women died because of the partisan hackery he committed.

Dancing on his grave is neither an actual, nor a moral, equivalent.

The only good thing Robert Novak ever did in public is die. Rot in hell, you piece of shit.
posted by FfejL at 11:02 AM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


He was a stooge.
posted by benzenedream at 11:03 AM on August 18, 2009


Men and women died because of the partisan hackery he committed.

I'm not apologizing for the guy, but who died because of what he said or wrote?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:05 AM on August 18, 2009


News seems a little slow today. I thought I saw something about this on HBO on Sunday night.
posted by sixpack at 11:05 AM on August 18, 2009


Robert Novak stood on a soapbox and was heard around the world. While up there, he lied (over and over again) & committed treason, all for little more than personal gain. Men and women died because of the partisan hackery he committed.

Dancing on his grave is neither an actual, nor a moral, equivalent.

The only good thing Robert Novak ever did in public is die. Rot in hell, you piece of shit.


And were you in a position that your words and opinions swayed public policy, then you, too, might say something that loses people their lives. I'm not advocating for the man; I personally found his methods and politics distasteful.

I'm advocating that you (generally and specifically) do not become what you rail against.
posted by Pragmatica at 11:07 AM on August 18, 2009


You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

I'm not. Fuck that guy in his dead, rotten ear. He was barely a human being and it came across everything he did. i don't care if he was a skilled journalist, when all he did was advocate death, hate, and lies.

Fuck him. Fuck him hard.
posted by grubi at 11:13 AM on August 18, 2009


For all the ill this guy did, you have to admit he was pretty good as the bad guy in Weird Al's UHF

I'm not sure if you are joking or not, but that part was played by Kevin McCarthy.
posted by Bort at 11:20 AM on August 18, 2009


He was a traitorous ass. But no one deserves a brain tumor.
posted by chairface at 11:22 AM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


So it's human to call for acts of otic necrophilia?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2009


He was barely a human being and it came across everything he did.

Frankly, every time I hear someone say something like this, I get a little more worried. "Death, hate, and lies" are human, all too human; just look at what's been thrown around already in this thread. If there's one lesson we should learn from the twentieth century and what we've seen so far of the twenty-first, it's that othering people, even those whose thoughts and actions we find despicable, gets people killed wholesale.

This country will only have a future if it brings some sanity and empathy into its collective worldview. Statements like this are not helping.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 11:25 AM on August 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


To me, who Robert Novak was, is contained in this:

In his memoir, Mr. Novak said he would not have used Plame's name if the CIA director or the agency's spokesman told him it would have endangered national security or Plame's life. A CIA spokesman had twice warned Mr. Novak not to print Plame's name but could not reveal why to Mr. Novak because her status was classified.

Mr. Novak told Washingtonian magazine in November that he would not hesitate to run the column again. "I'd go full speed ahead because of the hateful and beastly way in which my left-wing critics in the press and Congress tried to make a political affair out of it and tried to ruin me," he said.

"My response now is this: The hell with you. They didn't ruin me. I have my faith, my family and a good life. A lot of people love me -- or like me. So they failed. I would do the same thing over again because I don't think I hurt Valerie Plame whatsoever."

And that last quote sums him up: nasty, petty, vindictive, narrow-minded, ignorant and unapologetic about it.

There's nothing special about dying. Everybody dies. Some are remembered fondly. And some only leave stench behind. Fuck Robert Novak.
posted by VikingSword at 11:31 AM on August 18, 2009 [19 favorites]


Novak's heaven: "I’m going to a place where there are no blogs."
posted by ericb at 11:34 AM on August 18, 2009


I'm not apologizing for the guy, but who died because of what he said or wrote?

Hard to say.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:35 AM on August 18, 2009


It makes you look bad to do it in public, so it should probably be done under the cover of darkness and never be admitted to, but some graves were made for dancing on.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:41 AM on August 18, 2009


Hard to say.

That's anything but a substantial link to Novak's outing of Plame. But anyway, I'm not defending the guy. Chalk up his behavior to a brain tumor. Anyway, I'm saving my vitriol for the impending Cheney obit thread.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:42 AM on August 18, 2009


After watching the Frank Zappa clip, I want to issue another . for Frank. I have nothing for Robert Novak.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:44 AM on August 18, 2009


News seems a little slow today. I thought I saw something about this on HBO on Sunday night.

Thanks for the spolier. I TiVo'd that 'True Blood' episode and have not yet watched it.

Do not click on that link, as it reveals a major spolier in the video title!
posted by ericb at 11:46 AM on August 18, 2009


That's anything but a substantial link to Novak's outing of Plame.

I don't know what to tell you, but when spies are outed, people get taken into back alleys and are shot. That's their line of work.

The CIA warned Novak not to out Plame, but he did it anyway. He got away with it because he was a conservative media stooge during a time when conservative media stooges were critical operatives for the Republicans during the Bush administration.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:47 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


> I'm not apologizing for the guy, but who died because of what he said or wrote?

While I still believe Novak was a piece of garbage, the "millions died" remark was an overreach, and I take it back. Shouldn'ta posted angry.................
posted by FfejL at 11:55 AM on August 18, 2009


"But of course, Plame was 'hurt' because of Novak’s column — she no longer has a career as a covert CIA agent. Moreover, Plame has said that she feared for her and her family’s lives after Novak revealed her identity.

But Novak ignores the point that Plame’s outing had broader national security implications. In fact, Plame’s CIA job was to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and as one former senior intelligence officer put it, the leak made 'it harder for other CIA officers to recruit sources.'"*
posted by ericb at 11:55 AM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


OK, actually I said "men and women died." Sheesh, I can't even backtrack well today.
posted by FfejL at 11:56 AM on August 18, 2009


Yeah, can we just re-eulogize Zappa instead? That sounds like a lot more fun, with a worthier recepient.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 11:59 AM on August 18, 2009


Love for Zappa aside, I don't think he schooled Novak at all. Does no one viewing this page (which is primarily made of words) see the irony of Zappa on a talk show (which is primarily made of words) imploring the panel that his lyrics are "just words"? Just words, indeed.
posted by klarck at 12:09 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, there are a lot of brainless assholes here. I guess Godwin was right.

Bob Novak seemed like a smart, principled guy who stuck to his guns and said what he believed. I think his role in Plamegate is wildly misrepresented by the left. It *was* weird that the Bush administration would send Joe Wilson to build their WMD case against Iraq. Connecting the dots through Plame's CIA status was the sensible journalistic way to go. Furthermore, it's totally stupid to think that Novak would take part in a plot to smear/punish an Iraq War opponent when he himself publicly opposed the war.

As for getting schooled by Frank Zappa... huh? I watched the video and all I see is Novak playing the devil's advocate. Remember, the show billed him as the rightwinger. In fact, based on his comments at the end, I think he actually agreed with Zappa's First Amendment stance. Now, as for that other asshat....
posted by thejimp at 12:10 PM on August 18, 2009


Now, as for that other asshat....

Yeah, why the fuck is John Lofton still walking around like anyone cares about his opinions? Apparently he's joined the Constitution Party, of all things. Whatever you might feel about Frank Zappa or Robert Novak, I think we can all agree that John Lofton is a dick.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:14 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


We don't really know what Plame did or how important she was in the effort to stop Iran from getting nukes. That said, I always found it a bit odd to see so many erstwhile liberals defending the CIA. These are the guys who founded the School of the Americas, the ones who ran the "black sites", etc. Also, somewhat tangentially the Wilson's are close to Larry "Whitey tape" Johnson, who also used to be with the CIA.

I'm not saying Novak wasn't a douche (the douche-bag of liberty no less, according to John Stewart) but I've always found the obsession with the Plame case on the left a little weird. Somehow I doubt most of you would have a problem if the names of the CIA torturers were released.
posted by delmoi at 12:20 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Novak on cancer. This is my comment in a MeFi thread where I said Novak's brain tumor caused him to hit the cyclist. I am not a doctor, and I don't even play one on TV, but about two weeks before Novak said it I had that diagnosis.

I'll give him half a .
posted by fixedgear at 12:26 PM on August 18, 2009


I've got an extra . around here for Zappa. I miss Zappa.

I got nothing for Novak; that toadying, traitorous, elitist-pandering, bile-filled bucket of hate and self righteousness.
posted by dejah420 at 12:28 PM on August 18, 2009


Mr. Novak relished making outrageous comments. He once complained that his Thanksgiving dinner had been ruined by seeing so many homeless people on television. Always combative, he left CNN in 2005 after storming off the set in a row with James Carville, the Democratic strategist and commentator. He later contributed to Fox News.
Interesting regression there.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:48 PM on August 18, 2009


I'm not saying Novak wasn't a douche (the douche-bag of liberty no less, according to John Stewart) but I've always found the obsession with the Plame case on the left a little weird. Somehow I doubt most of you would have a problem if the names of the CIA torturers were released.

Not speaking for anybody else, just for myself, what I object to here is mostly the utter hypocrisy and double standards. Conservatives like him like to rail about liberals endangering "our soldiers" and "CIA agents" through our outspokenness. It was almost always a bum rap. The conservatives have held up secrecy in the interest of security as a sacred cause and virtue, and have used lies to smear and impugn the patriotism of anyone who dared question their party line. Yet, when it suits their political interests, they don't seem to hesitate to commit exactly the sin they accuse (unfairly) liberals of. And really which liberal has been shown to deliberately leak a CIA operative's name to the press? Can you imagine what Robert Novak and his ilk would have said had it been a liberal who actually blown a CIA agent's cover in a newspaper, after repeatedly being asked by the CIA spokesman not to do so?? It's breathtaking.

This is why I am filled with contempt for the conservatives who are caught in sex scandals - it's about the hypocrisy. They make their whole political careers on attacking (usually unfairly) and demonizing people for their sex lives and supposed lack of morals, and yet themselves engage in the very worst conduct.

It's the hypocrisy and the double standards - that is what animates me, in the Plame-Novak affiar; that's the "obsession" for me.
posted by VikingSword at 12:50 PM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, this:
After largely ignoring religion and dabbling in Unitarianism, Mr. Novak, in 1998, at age 67, converted to Roman Catholicism. In a ceremony, Msgr. Peter Vaghi proclaimed that the “prince of darkness” had been transformed into a “child of light.”

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, who was in attendance, warned against jumping to conclusions.

“Well, we’ve now made Bob a Catholic,” Mr. Moynihan said, according to Washingtonian magazine. “The question is, Can we make him a Christian?”
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:51 PM on August 18, 2009


I don't care if he was a dedicated journalist who stood by what he believed. I don't care if he was a registered Democrat. I don't care if he "did his homework." And frankly, I don't care if he died of a brain tumor. All causes of death suck, and this "I wouldn't wish a brain tumor on anyone"--well, of COURSE you wouldn't. So?

He outed a CIA spy, undermining national security. That's treason. If a prominent journalist of the left had done what he did, you can bet your ass the Neocons would have hounded him out of a job and made his life a living hell.

Fuck him. He should have been executed. I'm not wishing that on him; it's a fact.

* --> ∞
posted by tzikeh at 12:52 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


delmoi: Somehow I doubt most of you would have a problem if the names of the CIA torturers were released.

If, by "released", you mean "released after said agents were prosecuted and sentenced for committing crimes along with those who ordered and facilitated said crimes", then yes. I'm unaware of any crimes committed by either Wilson.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:54 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I rarely speak ill of the dead but only Dick Cheney could tempt me more than this douche nozzle. I imagine that Jon Stewart will have the good graces to avoid comment but I sort of hope he won't.
posted by Ber at 12:55 PM on August 18, 2009


Don't know the man. But when I wandered in here, I thought you guys were talking about Bela Lugosi.
posted by fcummins at 1:08 PM on August 18, 2009


Perhaps fewer pirouettes on the man's grave? Just saying.

You won't see any pirouettes from me, but you may hear a tinkling sound.
posted by @troy at 1:14 PM on August 18, 2009


Man, there are a lot of brainless assholes here. I guess Godwin was right.

Yeah, people shouldn't be allowed to express their opinions, especially when the person they have the opinion of is dead.

*eyeroll*
posted by grubi at 1:25 PM on August 18, 2009


I always found it a bit odd to see so many erstwhile liberals defending the CIA. These are the guys who founded the School of the Americas, the ones who ran the "black sites", etc.

It's not that we don't criticize the CIA for their shit, but none of us are going around putting other Americans at risk when in the service of their government.

Jesus, it's not a double-standard. It's a single standard that applies regardless of your opinion of the person/organization in question. You self-righteous ass.
posted by grubi at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, people shouldn't be allowed to express their opinions, especially when the person they have the opinion of is dead.

Not at all. Please do express your opinions; that's the point of the place, after all. It just strikes me as passing odd to see the hateful bile being poured upon someone (alive or dead) by people who would otherwise abhor such a thing being done by members of the Loyal Opposition.

"He deserves it" is not a rationale for hypocrisy.
posted by Pragmatica at 1:31 PM on August 18, 2009


"Well, I think that's bullshit, and I hate that."
posted by kirkaracha at 1:46 PM on August 18, 2009


It just strikes me as passing odd to see the hateful bile being poured upon someone (alive or dead) by people who would otherwise abhor such a thing being done by members of the Loyal Opposition.

Give me an example.
posted by grubi at 1:53 PM on August 18, 2009


Give me an example.

Nah, I'll concede. There's no point in getting into a war over semantics. We disagree.
posted by Pragmatica at 1:57 PM on August 18, 2009


Novak had a deep fryer filled with the fat of kittens that he used to fry all of his meals in. Do you know how many kittens it takes to obtain enough fat to fill a restaurant grade fryer?
posted by Burhanistan at 2:10 PM on August 18, 2009


Nah, I'll concede. There's no point in getting into a war over semantics. We disagree.

I'm not sure your statement is about semantic nuance.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:13 PM on August 18, 2009


notsnot: "Uh....read some Vonnegut."

yeah, of course that's what we are referencing. despite my poor choice of attire my momma did teach me some literary mores. I realize it's not evident at first blush.

The meme is the one we are using right here, in this thread, for the first time, replacing our customary dot with Kurt's puckish pucker.
posted by mwhybark at 2:32 PM on August 18, 2009


I'm not sure your statement is about semantic nuance.

True, but the ensuing conversation about what constitutes an example of 'bile', 'abhorrence', and 'hypocrisy' almost certainly would have been. He thinks he's right, I think I'm right, and our viewpoints are at odds. I'm more willing to concede the point than to argue it.
posted by Pragmatica at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, an article of Novak's from the New York Post

RIP you who made much news..

.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2009


with arms crossed: .

It sucks to die of brain cancer. My sympathies to his family.
posted by disclaimer at 2:41 PM on August 18, 2009


True, but the ensuing conversation about what constitutes an example of 'bile', 'abhorrence', and 'hypocrisy' almost certainly would have been.

That's a bit of a cop out. Your statement is pretty accusatory and I think you should own up to it, if you can't back it up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:47 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole: Here's the classic clip of Novak getting schooled by Frank Zappa.

The other guy's getting schooled quite a bit more.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:01 PM on August 18, 2009


All right, if Pragmatica won't bite, I will. We've been talking about traitors hanging, douchebags rotting in hell, cockheads improving the universe by dying of brain cancer and only leaving stench behind, and fucking barely-human people in their dead, rotten ears. Christ, it wasn't even this bad when Robert McNamara died!

We're all fairly smart people with decent verbal skills. If we don't act like we're the grown-ups in the room, there will be no grown-ups left at all.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 3:18 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


NYT commenter dispenses poetic justice of a kind:

I don’t wish the man ill.
He was merely a conservative shill.
He stopped real reporting and simply took dictation.
As a result, he betrayed the nation.

“He laid down with the swine.”
His critics will whine.
So true, for their pearls, he did diddle.
But in the end, he was played like a fiddle.

What will come round will come round again,
to a man who makes more enemy than friend.
The moral is: If you live by the spread of a rumor,
You might just die of a brain tumor.


— Raymond
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:18 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


All right, if Pragmatica won't bite, I will.

Fair enough, I'll bite, too. (It looks like he or she has left the discussion and has chosen not to own up to their comment. That's fine.) I'll suggest that what you're citing has nothing to do with what he or she was objecting to.

If people are to be allowed free expression of their opinion, allow them that. If you're (editorial "you") going to issue accusations of hypocrisy — a word that has a reasonably unambiguous meaning — then back it up. A critical opinion is not a display of hypocrisy in itself, just because you don't like the wording.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:28 PM on August 18, 2009


That's a bit of a cop out. Your statement is pretty accusatory and I think you should own up to it, if you can't back it up.

Sorry, had to walk the dog.

haltingproblemsolved makes a good point; mine was a little different (and yes, accusatory): take the posts he's highlighted, change the target to a recently deceased person with politics similar to your own, and make the speaker Rush Limbaugh.

If none of the people who said these things wouldn't go out of their minds with righteous rage on hearing about it, if such a thing wouldn't offend their sensibilities, then I'm in error, and please do call me on it.

My guess is I'm not in error, though, and 'he deserved it' still isn't a rationalization for hypocrisy.
posted by Pragmatica at 3:28 PM on August 18, 2009


take the posts he's highlighted, change the target to a recently deceased person with politics similar to your own, and make the speaker Rush Limbaugh.

Citations, please.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:33 PM on August 18, 2009


finally
posted by valentinepig at 3:39 PM on August 18, 2009


Citations, please.

Oh, for pity's sake. You seem an intelligent enough person; if you don't see the hypocrisy, it's either a) because it's important to you that a liberal wanting to skullfuck Mr. Novak as he rots in hell not be hypocritical, or b) because it isn't. I happen to think it is, and I gave my explanation. If it doesn't satisfy you, I can't help you.
posted by Pragmatica at 3:49 PM on August 18, 2009


In the Holocaust Museum shooting thread, we all pretty much agreed that Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, O'Reilly, Coulter, et al. have been walking a fine line between political speech and incitement to violence. And they don't even call their opponents subhuman out loud or talk about skullfucking their corpses in hell, like we have. Consider that.

I'm not trying to deny anyone the free expression of their opinion; only Matt, Jessamyn, and cortex can do that here. I'm wishing we on MeFi would start expressing our opinions a little more rationally. The comments I linked to represent exactly the kind of discourse that makes us complain about how our political opponents are destroying the political climate and civil society, and that's hypocritical. It's our duty as people who aren't trying to destroy the political climate and civil society to do better than that.

Whether you want to is up to you. It's certainly harder than dancing on opponents' graves.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 4:03 PM on August 18, 2009


If it doesn't satisfy you, I can't help you.

I thought I made what was a fair request, namely for you to cite actual examples of hypocrisy on the part of people participating in this thread, per your initial objection.

So far, you have not actually defined what is hypocritical about their comments, but argue from incredulity.

When called on it, you invented a hypothetical with (apparently) no basis in cited comment history.

If you don't like the wording of some people's opinions, that's fine, just be honest and say so.

then I'm in error, and please do call me on it.

Despite eight years of right-wing politicians and their journalist lackeys redefining parts of the English language, "hypocrisy" has a reasonably definite meaning. Unless you can substantiate your complaints, I'll submit that you're in error.

Apologies to others for pushing the point. This aforementioned tactic simply bugs me to no end. I'll leave it at that. Thanks for your time.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:04 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


We've been talking about traitors hanging

Fuck. You're right. It was inappropriate for me to hope that a person responsible for a crime was punished under US law. Sorry about that.

Robert Novak was a fucking saint and I fucking loved him. Work for you?
posted by eyeballkid at 4:06 PM on August 18, 2009


He never really caused any death or long term suffering (and Plame got a sweet book deal out of the "outing").

Ms. Plame estimated 61 people would end up dead as a result of the outing.
posted by 3.2.3 at 4:06 PM on August 18, 2009


Obituary:
They say only the good die young. Robert Novak was 78.
posted by vapidave at 4:07 PM on August 18, 2009


Waste of a perfectly good gravesite. Fuck him. Good riddance.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:12 PM on August 18, 2009


[relief], no "."
So Hell had another recall. McNamara, Novak,...when Cheney and Rumsfeld?
Or are they 2 Horsemen hanging around for the other 2 to show up?
This guy was a total asshole until his last breath. I hope he now shares a room with Roy Cohn, J. Edgar and Joseph McCarthy in Hell.
Oh and maybe Willie Buckley will be their manservant.
posted by hooptycritter at 4:12 PM on August 18, 2009


Blazecock: As I read your play-by-play, I was angry at first- I think of myself as a pretty reasonable person, and you did a fair job of making my statements read as unreasonable, even down to the small line at the bottom about how tactics like mine make you see bugs.

However, you pointed out something I did in my initial post that I don't care for much myself, which is to state a subjective in terms of an objective.

You're right; I didn't cite incident and example when applying the tag 'hypocrisy' to the words of some of the posts here. My wonderment that it wasn't immediately obvious to you was similarly mistaken, and I'll be more careful next time about how I word a criticism.

That said, the statements cited are childish and hateful in the extreme, and I would hope for better. I personally think we have to be better than this, because otherwise we're just the Other Team, with nothing to recommend our point of view except that we happen to have it.
posted by Pragmatica at 4:37 PM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Right, because our point of view has nothing behind it but politeness.
posted by fleacircus at 4:43 PM on August 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I agree, Pragmatica. Novak was an asshole, and his actions viz Plame were damned untenable, but I believe that there are very, very few people in history whose deaths merit a skullfucking celebration. Pol Pot, Mussolini, Hitler, Idi Amin, and anyone else who's displayed the tendencies of a genocidal maniac: sure. A blowhard journalist with a grossly skewed moral compass: not even close.
posted by shiu mai baby at 4:59 PM on August 18, 2009


Right, because our point of view has nothing behind it but politeness.

Okay, this is what really does it for me. Several times a year, I find myself in an extended argument with a bunch of jingoistic jerks. I usually take the position that we shouldn't torture people we suspect of crimes; they take the position that it's a great idea. When I realize there's no way I can teach them the value of not sinking to the level of the enemy, I usually bow out.

It's depressing to come to the same realization here.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 5:02 PM on August 18, 2009


It's depressing to come to the same realization here.

It's depressing that you think that torturing people is in any way similar to saying unpleasant things about them.
posted by grouse at 5:06 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not taking the garlic off the door just yet...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 5:20 PM on August 18, 2009


I for one am saddened that Robert Novak is no longer with us. I was always hoping that he and Jon Stewart could sit face-to-face and have the conversation they almost had when Stewart went on Crossfire but butted heads with Carlson instead of Novak. I imagine Novak and Stewart would point fingers at each other at the same time, and then threads of light would begin to slowly weave around them. They levitate a few feet into the air; as Novak's face is paralyzed in shock, tiny golden ghosts of all those he has maimed parade out of his body in reverse order of death and—no, wait, I'm thinking about a far more pleasant world.
posted by shadytrees at 5:29 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope that the people who loved his are able to find solace for losing him.
posted by kittyprecious at 5:31 PM on August 18, 2009


WTF?
We should we try to be "reasonable" and "respectful" with batshit crazy liars?
How many young Americans have died or are terribly and irreparably damaged b/c of the lies this asshole and his ilk pushed?

Read Gore Vidal on W.F. Buckley obit clusterfuck.
(And yes, Gore Vidal is WAY better informed on history and much better read than you ever will be).

This kind of irrational sentimentality and "respectful," saccharine bullshit is exactly why Obama's "Change Happens" has become SSDD - SAME SHIT DIFFERENT DAY.

I lived though the worst part of the AIDS crisis - The virus did not beatify a person if the person was a flaming, intolerant asshole before HIV.

I look forward to losing weight from throwing up when all you "respectful" folks send your well wishes re the deaths of Kissinger, C. Rice, A. Scalia, K. Rove, A. Gonzalez,...

Just like when I lost hella weight from your memorials to Roy Cohn, Joseph McCarthy, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin and Pinochet, Somoza, Pap Doc Duvalier, Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi, ...
posted by hooptycritter at 6:17 PM on August 18, 2009


vapidave: Obituary:
They say only the good die young. Robert Novak was 78.


That's the second use of affirming the consequent I've seen on MeFi today.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:23 PM on August 18, 2009


nobody deserves a brain tumor except lee atwater.

.
posted by brandz at 6:43 PM on August 18, 2009


nobody deserves a brain tumor except lee atwater.

You'd be better off leaving it at "nobody deserves a brain tumor". Lee Atwater was responsible for some shitty, shitty things. BUT. At least, toward the end of his life, he owned up to what he had done, and tried to make amends. He was sincere in his regret, and his actions showed that.

Robert Novak was unapologetic to the bitter end.

Lee Atwater would have gotten a dot from me. We should try to forgive our enemies if at all possible. And I find it possible, even with the terrible things Atwater was responsible for. Robert Novak, however, deserves nothing but opprobrium.
posted by VikingSword at 6:53 PM on August 18, 2009


Except for outing a spy because of his support for the invasion of Iraq, sure.

No. That was an ill-thought partisan scoop. He is on record multiple times stating he was against the invasion of Iraq along with a big number of his other fellow "paleoconservaties." He was a non-interventionist. Like Pat Buchanan (after 9/11, Novak wrote that bombing Afghanistan "may be neither effective nor desirable"). And the article in which he outed Plame he even out-and-out said that Wilson was right that the Bush yellow cake story was probably bullshit (Novak concludes that "the story, actually, is whether the administration deliberately ignored Wilson's advice …"). You might want to look shit up before you speak.
posted by tkchrist at 8:18 PM on August 18, 2009


You people are so adorable when you're vengeful and unforgiving.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:20 PM on August 18, 2009


If Kos can tweet "Sad to see Bob Novak die. I was a huge fan. Perhaps the last conservative writer who tried to be an honest reporter.", I suppose I can spare a

.
posted by Guy Smiley at 8:22 PM on August 18, 2009


He is on record multiple times stating he was against the invasion of Iraq along with a big number of his other fellow "paleoconservaties."

What he says is one thing, but how he acted is clearly another, as he is also on record for outing Valerie Plame to help his conservative friends in the Bush administration intimidate dissenters within the Beltway and help launch their illegal war on Iraq.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:55 PM on August 18, 2009


as he is also on record for outing Valerie Plame to help his conservative friends in the Bush administration intimidate dissenters within the Beltway and help launch their illegal war on Iraq.

He didn't "out" anybody. Armitage did.

I don't think you understand what a "leak" is. It was Cheney's office - Richard Armitage and Scooter Libby - that leaked who Plame was to the Washington Post and Novak. It was Novak who reported it. Reporters use "leaks" all the time. Reporters are often used as PR channels all the time. Certainly it was political to leak Plames identity. But the duty to NOT leak secret information was NOT Novak's. He acted like any good reporter with a valued source. Propaganda or not. It was the Bush administration ethics that are at fault. Novak was pushing a scoop.

Hate him all you want. At least hate him for the right things based on actual facts. Sure he was a bastard. But know who the bastard actually was. And he was against the war and he wrote about what an ill conceived idea it was. Which is also an action. Novak was also technically a dissenter who was inside the beltway. Just not a very principled one.
posted by tkchrist at 9:36 PM on August 18, 2009


Right, because our point of view has nothing behind it but politeness.

What it has behind it, at least in its nobler forms, is an essential humaneness.

Of course, if this quality is frequently claimed but only intermittently manifested, it begins to seem a bit... hypocritical.
posted by Urban Hermit at 9:39 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


"But the duty to NOT leak secret information was NOT Novak's. He acted like any good reporter with a valued source."

Read vikingswords post again

"In his memoir, Mr. Novak said he would not have used Plame's name if the CIA director or the agency's spokesman told him it would have endangered national security or Plame's life. A CIA spokesman had twice warned Mr. Novak not to print Plame's name but could not reveal why to Mr. Novak because her status was classified."

This dick should have died in prison.
posted by sloe at 10:29 PM on August 18, 2009


He was a prick, but I have to say, I'll miss The Prince.
posted by orthogonality at 10:43 PM on August 18, 2009


It was Novak who reported it. Reporters use "leaks" all the time. Reporters are often used as PR channels all the time.

Yeah, but revealing the identity of an undercover agent is illegal, and what they did was clearly vindictive, using Novak as a conduit for their intimidation tactics. He became a tool. Sure, he was in the middle of something exciting, and I guess he thought he had a scoop. I just think he was a tool, and used for purposes which ultimately did harm to the country which he so loudly professed to love and defend for so many decades, all the while denigrating others' patriotism just as loudly. When the chips were down, when his many years could have provided some better judgment, he instead revealed himself to be a man without conscience.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:12 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, he was a jerk. He carried water for the bad guys and he should have known better. Sort of like how you can't either blame or forgive the parents of criminals.

But he's below the threshold of my frothing hatred (die, Norquist, die), so...

.
posted by fleacircus at 2:56 AM on August 19, 2009


nevercalm: Not to derail, but I googled up John Lofton, the guy who's frothing at the mouth in the Zappa Crossline appearance. That guy is like nine buckets of crazy in a four bucket sack....how do these people ever get on television, much less sitting next to Frank Zappa?

On this subject: Lofton —vs— Ginsberg!
posted by nfg at 4:11 AM on August 19, 2009


What? Prince is dead, and nobody did an obituary post listing all his music videos? WTF?
posted by hippybear at 7:37 AM on August 19, 2009


Heard he died on the way home from work yesterday. Envisioned the MeFi thread. Today checked out the MeFi thread. Envision realized.
posted by spock at 9:38 AM on August 19, 2009


Yeah, but revealing the identity of an undercover agent is illegal

Oh fer... look so why didn't the CIA have him arrested by law enforcement? If they asked him not to do reveal her name AND it was illegal they could have prevented it by having him arrested. Becuase Plame was not an "undercover" agent in regards to the law. Not how you think she was. Not like in terms of how the law applies to say a DEA agent. She was a covert intelligence agent but NOT an "undercover" agent. There is a difference in how the law see this.

Man, you guys are just making stuff up now. I agree that publishing the leak was a dick move but if you want guys arrested for publishing leaks then Daniel Ellsberg (the Pentagon Papers), Woodward and Berstien (Watergate), and hundreds of other reporters that have published valuable leaks that have have altered the course of history would be in jail.

Dick Cheney is the one who should be in Jail. Not Novak.
posted by tkchrist at 1:24 PM on August 19, 2009


Man, you guys are just making stuff up now.

There are still valid interpretations of the issue of Valarie Plame's identity being revealed being a criminal act. Plame was non-official cover, which is covert. It is illegal under federal law to knowingly name a covert intelligence agent. But the trial got bogged down with the stupid Scooter Libby issue, which was a smokescreen, and a DoJ under the Bush Administration.

I never said Novak should be arrested, or that what he did was explicitly illegal. Now you're making stuff up. He did assist in the act of the leak, however, which is morally reprehensible if not illegal. Other journalists were approached and turned down the offer.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:07 AM on August 20, 2009


.
posted by aerotive at 1:12 PM on August 27, 2009


« Older Mastroianni. Bardot. Mingus. Balenciaga. C...  |  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments