OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - “Not Even a Blip on the Radar Screen”

(02/04/2002)

By Tony Russell

My coverage of the Republican National Committee meeting was cut off yesterday by our press deadline. I gave Bob a call first thing this morning to fill him in on the rest of the story.

“Just checking in to wrap up last night’s story, Chief,” I began.

“It’s about time,” he said. “Do you realize how much it’s costing us to have you cover that meeting?”

“Come on, Chief,” I complained. “You put me up at a Motel 6 and furnished me with three days worth of coupons at Hardee’s. You’re getting your money’s worth.”

“You haven’t even begun to justify your salary, Ace, let alone your expenses. Look, what’s been the mood at the meeting?”

“Really upbeat, Chief. They think they’re gonna do well in the midterm elections. This war has been a godsend for them. If they can drag it out long enough, they figure the President’s poll numbers will stay high, and he can carry the rest of the party along on his coat tails. Plus they have their usual huge advantage in money raising.”

“What about that Enron business?”

“They just laughed it off, Chief. I talked to all kinds of delegates-governors, secretaries of state, and so forth. They claim they’ve been checking their mail and talking to their constituents. They all say the same thing: Nobody gives a damn about Enron. It’s not even a blip on the radar screen.”

“How the hell can that be? This is the biggest bankruptcy in American history, involving half the leaders in the administration, including the Vice President. They’ve been Bush’s biggest contributor his entire career, and his administration has done everything possible to line Enron’s pockets, as well as conceal its impending collapse.”

“Look, Chief, I’m just telling you what they told me. They think in a few weeks this will all just go away.”

“Ace, for fourteen solid months we ran from three to ten items a day, counting news stories, cartoons, and editorials, on Clinton’s thing with Monica Lewinsky. We ran daily reports for six months on Elian Gonzalez. We averaged at least three reports a week on some aspect of Whitewater for over eight YEARS, and that was on a measly $100,000 investment. Do you think we’re gonna let this thing just go away?”

“Could be, Chief. There’s precedent for it. How long did we cover the savings and loan debacle?”


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