13 April 2008

Weaver not the McCain Campaign Leaker

The New York Times, in February, published a very sloppy front page story on John McCain, and his relationship with a female telecommunications-industry lobbyist, Vicki Iseman.

It seemed for a time as if the story was going to be about adultery, but then (insofar as it developed any substance at all) the story turned out to be more about campaign fund raising and the conflicts-of-interest it may create for a candidate's discharge of his public responsibilities. The apparent adulter angle was only, excuse the expression, a tease.

I said as much here soon after the story's appearance. Why am I bringing it up again? Because The New Republic addresses a loose string left hanging back then.

TNR has run its own story about the internal dynamics of the McCain campaign, by Jason Zengerle, and he appears to have done a much better job than the Times' team did. Zengerle's point is that there are bitter enmities within the McCain campaign, personal rivalries that McCain does nothing to seek to control, and that accordingly spin wildly, dysfunctionally. That someone in this climate leaked quasi-salacious tidbits about Ms Iseman to The Times becomes quite believable.

But that someone wasn't, it appears, John Weaver. Weaver had been the chief strategist of the campaign until shortly before the story appeared, when he had lost a power struggle with Rick Davis. So he became a plausible suspect.

Zengerle convincingly clears him.

So what? In the big scheme of things, so ... nothing. Yet both God and the devil are in the details, and it seems to be that whoever did start the Times down the road of its adultery-maybe-now-campaign-finance story sits at some sort of intersection of microhistorical fault lines.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.