Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Catch of the Day

Brad DeLong makes a very nice observation -- that Bob Woodward apparently sat on details of the 1990 budget showdown for twenty years, using them only now. The point is that it's a story that makes Newt Gingrich look terrible, which is a story that presumably people might have been interested in back in, say, 1992, 1993, 1994, or 1995. It's a terrific catch.

I sort of disagree with only one bit in the coda of his post:
Richard Darman and Vin Weber [his apparent sources for the story] were both leaving government at the end of 1992--Darman to work for the Carlyle Group and Weber to become a lobbyist. Neither was going to have much value to Woodward as an inside source after the 1992 election.
True enough about Darman, who was almost certainly never returning to government (although Woodward might have been interested in writing about the Nixon or Reagan administrations in the future, I suppose). But Weber? He did retire from the House in 1992, but I would have guessed at the time that the odds of him serving in the Senate or in a future president's cabinet or White House were high. Hasn't panned out so far, but he's been close to several GOP campaigns as it is, and he still could wind up back in government. So I disagree on whether that particular motive existed.

But on the substance of it, and do click through for several good points about it, DeLong is exactly right. Great catch!

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