THE SPINE AUGUST 18, 2009
The New York Times has just published seven encomia for Bob Novak, who was called "the prince of darkness" for very good reason. But the Times headlines this feature saying just the opposite, "Goodnight, Sweet Prince of Darkness," more or less denying it all. Among the grievers are John Podhoretz, Fred Barnes, our very own and mawkish John Judis.
Thankfully, Matt Cooper dissents--but only Cooper--because of the nasty taste left by Novak sitting home free while Judy Miller went to jail for what was surely a lesser crime. After all, Novak printed the names; Judy didn't. (Now, I believe that none of this was a crime. But all this is old history except for Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame, who are presumably still living off the fake heroics.)
The fact is that Novak was a mean-spirited reactionary. He had not an ounce of sympathy--let alone, empathy--for those whom life and odds did not treat kindly. Yes, he was a converted Catholic, and he converted to that strain associated with Francis Cardinal Spellman, the ugliest strain that found root in America.
And he did not even write well. What he thought about Jews and Israel was, so to speak, the icing on the ice.
Blessed is the righteous judge.