Gibbs to me: ‘I’m gone!’

Three more days with Robert Gibbs. After three years of hell in the White House. Anyway, I can now report: The deal is done. I talked to him for most of the afternoon, and he knows he’s out of there. “You step on a cat, you make noise,” he said. “But you step on Mo Dowd, and you get a leg three inches shorter and covered in blood. Plus you get the noise.”

Gibb’s criticism of the left couldn’t have led to a happy ending. Did he really think he was going to win that one? I told him flat-out: Gibbs, you’re not the prettiest guy in Washington, but save what face you can and bail. Look for the note under the door soon.

Also: Water’s wet. Mehlman’s gay. The sky’s blue.

Posted 26.08.2010 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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We screwed up in ’94. That’s no surprise, either.

I see Keller “missed” my email last week. I wrote, “Bill, what’s this piece doing in inventory? Why are we running a lead story about how we didn’t do our job? This is news?”

But today, there it is, Zeleny’s shot-in-the-foot. The headline: “This Time, Voter Anger Is No Surprise to Democrats.”

In the arsenal of advantages that Republicans hold as they seek to win control of Congress this year, one thing is missing: the element of surprise. Unlike 1994, when Republicans shocked Democrats by capturing dozens of seats held by complacent incumbents, there will be no sneak attacks this year. Democrats have sensed trouble for more than a year, with the unrest from town-hall-style meetings last August providing indisputable evidence for any disbelievers.

The result has been to goad many Democrats into better preparation: more fund-raising, earlier advertising, lots of time on the campaign trail.

“Sneak attacks”? Right, well, as I told Bill what Zeleny’s saying is one of three things. Either, a) in 1994, we didn’t do our job, or, b) nobody reads the paper. Or, c) both.

Then I get to the op-eds and see this:

Disgust with Washington and its overspending, deficits and debt is so great that even nontraditional Republican candidates have real chances to win.

What a thunderbolt. Stop the press. I know, I know. It’s Sunday up there, and nobody’s getting paid to over-think the weekends. But we’re supposed to make money with this? Next thing you know, we’ll be doing front-page stories on yesterday’s weather.

It’s summer. It’s hot. Surprise.

Posted 15.08.2010 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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In Russia: All smoke, no fire.

I’m back from the Russian “fires” and as usual the situation has been exaggerated by reactionary media outlets, including the Voice of America. Yes, there are some fires in Russia. Even in summer, some use them to heat kettles in their pleasant rural cottages. It is also a rather hot year, and in some locales, burning is being done out-of-doors, as one would expect. Carelessness in those circumstances can have unhealthy side-effects. Frankly it’s warmer here at home than it is in the Urals.

But as an eyewitness I can say that any report of a massive conflagration in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda. There are no actual forest fires or deaths from fires, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to premature and partial cremation.

Posted 14.08.2010 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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Delviscio’s not there – but I will be.

I’m heading back to Russia to look into the so-called “fire” story. Vladimir’s picking up expenses.

This has gotten out of hand. I wasn’t at the paper today or Deviscio’s obviously overheated headline – untouched by human thought – wouldn’t have run. “Russia is burning.” That’s ridiculous.

a.) Russia’s 6.6 million square miles big and they have 800 fires.
b.) That’s one fire every 82,500 square miles.

Hey, Delviscio, you little overachiever. Since when did we do our foreign reporting by scanning I mean. At least Kramer’s in the Moscow office. (Probably hasn’t see a live flame since the day he quit smoking, though.)

Anyway, Duranty will be on the scene, and I’ll let you know what I find in a day or two. As I’ll say to number one houseboy on my way up, “Keep the home fires burning.”

Posted 06.08.2010 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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Rave, Vaughn!

Spent a nasty hour or two at the paper last night listening to Pinch read the gay marriage editorial to me. It was fine. I added the “the latest link in a chain of pathbreaking decisions that permitted interracial marriages and decriminalized gay sex between consenting adults” bit because I thought African-Americans would feel excluded otherwise. Pinch was a teensy worried some of those Mormon fringe people would use the ruling, but I go, “Pinch, they’re on HBO,” and he’s like fine. It’s just me: Always thinking of the other guy, especially if he’s gay and black. (Pinch, Vaughn and I, of course, are only one of those things. But kissy-kissy too close to the fire and you become both!)

Seriously, we need to get this past SCOTUS so we can start taxing the hell out of all those Catholic and Orthodox freaks for whom, you know, marriage is one of their “sacraments” that can only take place between one person with a penis and one person without (with a gay guy in a dress in between). If they won’t follow the law, well, hey! Tax the bastards straight to hell. Just not this one, please.

God, New York is hot! So relieved to get home. Rubell was having a “Rave Vaughn Walker” party and I stopped by for a minute, long enough to get one of those “VAS Difference” pitchfork stickers Harry Blackman was handing out. That “Voters Are Stupid” movement of his has really caught fire lately. Gotta love Harry.

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Posted 05.08.2010 by Pultizer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty
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