Corn has broken stories on presidents, politicians, and other Washington players. He's written for numerous publications and is a talk show regular. His best-selling books include Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War.
On the all-important, critical campaign 2008 issue of whether John Edwards has fathered a love-child—as Matt Drudge reports The Enquirer is "reporting"—let me beg to differ with colleague Party Ben's theory that the Clinton camp "is pushing Drudge" to tear into Edwards. To start with, the Clinton gang generally cares more about stopping Barack Obama than Edwards. If Edwards were socked by a scandal, that would probably help Obama more than Clinton. (Edwards and Obama split the anti-Hillary Democratic vote.) And how close is the Clinton gang and Drudge? Remember Monica? And did you see the picture of a tired and aging Hillary that Drudge posted days ago? Moreover—and it's a big moreover—Drudge (who did recently promoted two Mother Jones stories on Mike Huckabee) does not need encouragement from one political HQ or another to promote a sex scandal article that appears in a tabloid. We need not wonder what hidden forces caused Drudge to highlight The Enquirer's "exclusive." In this instance, a cigar is just a cigar.
As for the Enquirer story itself—in case you care—it's the usual fare. Edwards' purported girlfriend insists that Edwards is not the father of her unborn child and names another fellow (a political operative close to Edwards) as the responsible party. Yet the tabloid quotes exactly one unnamed source saying Edwards is the father. That's enough for it to claim an "exclusive."
Will this become a bigger story? My hunch is that those nice Iowans are not eager to have the final weeks of the campaign dominated by such a tawdry topic. And unlike the Gennifer Flowers case, the woman named in this story is not talking. In fact, she's denying. But, as we've learned, when it comes to sex—and sex and politics—you never know. Still, the shabbily sourced Enquirer piece, without further (real and confirmed) developments, ought not to have much of an impact.
It's hard to explain lumping together homosexuality and necrophilia. But that's the mission that Mike Huckabee's campaign research director, Joe Carter, took on when Talking Points Memo asked him about the recent Mother Jonesstory on a book Huckabee wrote in 1998. In that book, Huckabee decried American culture, equated environmentalism with pornography, insisted that people who do not believe in God tend to be immoral, and associated homosexuality with necrophilia:
It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrationsfrom homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.
Now lets turn to TPM:
When we asked Carter if Huckabee stood by this quote, he didn't disavow the comment. But he sought to clarify its meaning, denying our suggestion that the quote equated homosexuality and necrophilia.
"He's not equating homosexuality with necrophilia," Carter told us. "He's saying there's a range of aberrant behavior. He considers homosexuality aberrant, but that's at one end of the spectrum. Necrophilia is at the other end."
Carter added: "No way is he saying that homosexuality is like having sex with dead people. That's not it at all."
That seemed to be Mike Huckabee's message to the people of Arkansas when he was governor there. Here's an item from the February 19, 1999 issue of the Arkansas Times:
What the people don't know won't hurt me.
In an interview with the Arkansas Baptist news magazine, Gov. Mike Huckabee elaborated on his statement that he had resolved to "trust God more and people less."
The magazine said: "Citing 'the classic Baptist phrase to trust the Lord and tell the people,' he noted, 'I've found you can still trust the Lord, but you better not tell the people everything. Too much information can hurt you more than not giving information."
Huckabee went on to say that being guarded was "the reversal of everything I have practiced and been led to believe."
When Jimmy Carter ran for president in 1976 as an evangelical, he looked voters straight in the eye and promised, "I will never lie to you." Will former pastor Huckabee proclaim, "I will not tell you everything"?
And my pal Robert Wright of Bloggingheads.tv wonders (as he sits in my office) if this Huckabee statement represents the intersection of Baptist theology and the neocon-Straussian concept of the noble lie. In any event, how noble of Huckabee in this instance to ignore a Baptist injunction for the sake of his own administration.
On Sunday, Turkish fighter jets bombed targets in northern Iraq, looking to strike Kurdish militants--and did so with the permission of the U.S. government, which controls the air space over Iraq. Turkey's military chief, General Yasar Buyukanit, was quoted on Turkish television saying, "America gave [us] intelligence. But more importantly, America last night opened [the Iraqi] air space to us. By opening the air space, America gave its approval to this operation."
This one-day military mission might have tremendous consequences that affect the U.S. position in Iraq. Last week, on this site, retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor speculated that recent developments in Iraq (the so-called Great Awakening in Anbar province and the so-called surge) could lead to a Turkish-Kurdish military conflict and land the United States in the middle of a regional war. (In Macgregor's view, the United States would end up on the side of the Kurds, which is not what's happening at the moment.) Given the profound political instability within Iraq, a Turkish-Kurdish war in the north could cause all efforts at national reconciliation (no matter how unsuccessful they have been so far) to collapse.
Shortly after news of the air strike broke, a former U.S. official who is trying to broker business deals in the Kurdish region of Iraq fired off an email to me. He was in Iraq at the time of the attack, and he was outraged at the U.S. involvement in the Turkish strike. He has been in contact with leading Kurds in Iraq and fears this development could lead to a great unraveling in the north. In his email (which I've tidied up), he wrote:
The blow back here in Kurdistan is building against the US government. There are protests and visible anger as the story of the US Air Force helping the Turks kill Kurds in the Kandil Mountains spreads. My [Kurdish] colleagues here are headed to an emergency session of the parliament. The entire [Kurdish] negotiating team left Baghdad and flew back here to attend the session. People are really upset. The Turks of course are...emphasizing that the US Air Force was heavily involved in the attack.
The Kurdish theme is one of shock, and betrayal. The Kurds see themselves as the only true friend of the Americans in the region, and the only part of Iraq that is working, and are especially hurt by the attack. The US has never killed Kurds deliberately before. We killed a lot of them in the war by accident and recklessness, which [the Kurds] managed to rationalize away, but never on purpose. We are at a loss to understand the [US government] thinking on supporting this operation.
The candidate says he wants to unite the country. But in a 1998 book, Huckabee was a fierce culture warrior, equating environmentalism with pornography, homosexuality with necrophilia, and nonbelievers with evildoers.
At the last Republican presidential debate, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who had surged into the lead in the Iowa polls, pitched himself as the potential president who could unite a nation divided. "I think the first priority of the next president is to be a president of all the United States," he said. "We are right now a very polarized country, and that polarized country has led to a paralyzed government. We've got Democrats who fight Republicans, liberals fighting conservatives, the left fights the right. Who's fighting for this country again?...We've got to be the united people of the United States."