hard heads soft hearts
Friday, June 14, 2002
the insight came from a Robert Novak interview, where
he casually mentioned that Frank Keating would have
been his choice for Attorney General.
I found this surprising, as I assumed that any
informed insider would recognize the difference
between a reasonably principled conservative like
Keating and a disingenous partisan like Ashcroft.
Basically, it was proof for me that Novak is an honest
so here is my insight:
if you are conservative, and do not understand the
differences between Frank Keating and John Ashcroft,
and do not understand why Keating would have sailed
through confirmation while Ashcroft did not, then
congratulations: you are not part of the Vast
I call it the VRWC Rorschasch test
as for the nice phrase, "The Politics of Personal
Destruction" is an apt description, but too histrionic
and heavy-handed for everyday use. I came across a
lighter and more witty substitute while re-reading
"Yes, Prime Minister" It seems that when the Civil
Service wanted to block a proposal made by some
unwelcome innovator, and lacked good arguments against
it, they would find some subtle and devious way of
rubbishing his qualifications, reputation, loyalty,
soundness, etc. They called this technique, like in
soccer, "Playing the Man and Not the Ball"
Isn't it obvious that since 1988 the Republicans have
been "Playing the Man and Not the Ball" to a fare thee
Not particularly relevant to our politics, but still
funny is how they would impugn their opponents in the
most subtle and offhand way, not getting their hands
dirty at all.
key phrase: "You have to get behind someone before you
can stab them in the back"