Friday, August 05, 2005


The Novak Meltdown: How Did Carville Trigger It?

Most folks are scratching their heads over Bob Novak's bizarre overreaction to James Carville's seemingly innocuous comments yesterday on CNN. But there are two schools of thought that hold that Carville's comments were not as innocuous as they seemed to us, the non-clued-in folks at home. Theory #1, as stated by Eschaton commenter David Derbes (the direct link to Derbes' comment is here):

If you review exactly what Carville said that triggered Novak's meltdown, it was essentially "You have to show the right wingers that you are a stand-up guy, and the Wall Street Journal is watching your every move." Carville may have known that Novak has to make a hard choice: save himself, or throw his sources to the wolves. It's possible that Novak is looking at hard time here: perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act of 1917. He's safe from the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which pretty much exempts reporters, but the 1917 act was the ostensible basis for the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, no joke at all.
Hmmmm. Quite plausible, especially considering the rumor that Novak is having to testify (again) today before the Plame grand jury. But, while this sounds likely, I have a soft spot in my head for Theory #2, as elucidated by Driftglass.

In comments below, I suggested that Novak did the equivalent of failing toilet training in front of all his friends. This will result in a suspension to Sally Quinn's parties, or whatever is the current equivalent of capital punishment in the District of Columbia.

I tend to think he's just old, mean, and cranky about being talked over.
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