Political Glass Houses

In which our man Durst asks the eternal question: How much muck can a muckraker rake when the mother ruckers rake their own muck?

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How often I have said this: You can’t make stuff like this up. Yet I continue to be right.

Case in point: In Boston, attempting to unseat 37-year Democratic Senate veteran Edward Kennedy, a Republican has flung the first hot, wet mud of the race. And it turns out he could have done it in a locked closet with a bamboo boomerang, since the target was his own self.

In response to what he considered a partisan attack, Jack E. Robinson III issued an 11-page report detailing all the dirt he and his staff could dig up on himself.

And you got to admit, the guy did a pretty damn good job. C’mon, 11 pages. Even double spaced, we’re talking at least the appearance of thoroughness here. He’s getting near CIA foreign dictator application status. I bet even Pamela Anderson would have perked up at the disclosure, provided someone in her retinue could read.

The sensation was sufficient, suffice to say, that had Mr. Robinson been any other person on the planet he could have sued for slander. “Where have you gone Henry Kissinger? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you. Koo kooka choo.”

In his near-scandalous autobiographical account of a misspent well … youth, young adulthood, and middle age, the wealthy business executive alludes to a relationship culminating in a restraining order, flunking the bar three times, a drunk-driving charge, and a court-upheld accusation of plagiarism. All this amidst rumors of a secret propensity to thaw individual Cornish game hens in what one James Beard, award-winning Pan-Asian chef, has labeled a “hygienically suspect procedure.” However, it has been said his chat room etiquette is impeccable.

You might think that to call this mind-boggling paradigm of pre-emptive public self flagellation political suicide is a little like suggesting the results of the McWorm sandwich rollout were mixed, but don’t forget; he’s running against the Teddy Bear. A man to whom 11 pages doesn’t even cover the court documents reproduction service segment of his FBI official dossier’s acknowledgements section. The Fredo of the Kennedy family. The only Senator who by all rights should be wearing a house arrest ankle bracelet. Strike that. Silly thought. All of them should.

We always whine about how we we wish every politician would roll out his or her sins on an orderly, lined parchment like this, but that refuses to take into account the law of unintended results. For instance, if we got our wish, the American Spectator and Mother Jones would become shopping inserts. The McLaughlin Group would barkingly review movies. How much muck can a muckraker rake when the mother ruckers rake their own muck?

And realistically, does anybody really think the world would be better off with Bob Woodward covering the Orioles beat?

"Smirking silently but walking purposefully away from the commotion surrounding Albert Belle's third cleat to the head prank of the day, the grizzled captain of horsehide, to many the embodiment of the big orange bird himself, but with a sharper beak, Hargrove glimpsed Ripken kick a clump of dirt over the third base foul line and wondered darkly to himself: 'How many more clumps of dirt does he have left in that foot? What happens when the clumps become wads and then just sprays of dirt, and finally a single grain of black sand? Who will know first? Hopefully it won't be the crowd. If I don't know, will Tom Clancy tell me? Where's my chaw? I need new shoes.'"

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Will Durst is covering the 2000 election for the MoJo Wire. He is host of PBS’ “Livelyhood” and picks the Orioles to finish fourth.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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