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Saturday, September 18, 2010

A (relatively) honest man


James Carville is best known for having spearheaded Bill Clinton's successful Presidential campaign in 1992. Political consultants are generally not known for their straightforward honesty. But when a professional Democrat (or Republican) speaks out against his own party on some matter, you generally want to pay attention, because the odds are that what he is saying is true.

This morning's NY Post included this recent quote from Carville regarding the Obama administration's economic policies, via Politico.com:

"They believe that they have to say [that] what they're doing is working, but let me tell you, that's annoying the hell out of people. No one thinks it's true. It irritates people who are out there struggling and just feeds this perception that they are out of touch."

Carville had also criticized Obama for his handling of the BP oil spill: "It looks like he's just not involved in this! Man, you have got to get downhere and take control of this! Put somebodyh in charge of this and get this thing moving! We're about to die down here!"

For an early Obama supporter to make such statements is surprising. For a professional Democratic political operative to make such statements is even more so. It make you think that he might even have come down with a slight case of.....honesty. (This disease can be fatal for a campaign manager.)

Carville has admitted in the past that he suffers from adult attention deficit disorder, which increases his credibility further. (In politics, rule number one is, admit no weaknesses unless you have to.)

Carville has been married to the Mary Matalin, a Republican operative, since 1993. (That has to take some forebearance.)

After graduating from Louisiana State, Carville was a Marine for two years, then worked as a high school teacher, then became a lawyer, before finally turning to politics. That's not a career path that makes one think, hmm, a con artist right from the start.

None of this is to say that he was above dirty tricks while working as a campaign manager -- that's part of the job description, after all. It's just to say that he has a little more honesty than most of his brethren.

Which, admittedly, isn't saying much.

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