Man Without Qualities

Monday, August 19, 2002

O, Martha!

The Man Without Qualities continues to believe that the Marthagate matter is a sideshow worthy only of ordinary regulatory and investigative processes, and that all of the Congressional committees investigating it should get on to something important, such as calling Robert Rubin to talk about Enron. [Incidentally, this includes the House Energy Committee, run by Republican Billy Tauzin, which is contrary to Counterspin's assertions that "Musil... [is only] attacking Joe Lieberman for not calling Rubin to testify ... Why not go after the ... House Energy Committee Chairman, Republican Billy Tauzin? ... [Musil's] silence is defeaning." Lieberman's committee has been the most germaine, so it is appropriate to have the main focus there. Tauzin's committee is a secondary venue. But the "silence" has only been deafening to those who have plugs in their ears.]

But Martha herself seems determined to make her case a possibly high profile embarrassment for the Democrats - at least according to Matt Drudge. Drudge reports that Martha and her friends are spreading the word that the insider trading investigations are just a Republican persecution, even as the liberal, Democrat-aligned media - especially the New York Times - has led the charge against her.

It will be bad news for Democrats if Martha succeeds in recasting herself as a partisan Democrat figure, especially if she is then shown - even if only in the media, if not in a criminal case - to have engaged in insider trading. If Ms. Stewart is willing to strongly identify herself with Democrats and their causes, she can probably cause the public to see her in this light. That creates a significant downside risk for democrats. However, given the amount of circumstantial evidence accumulated against her, and especially given the way the liberal media - especially the New York Times - have presented that evidence to the public, it is hard to see how she can persuade the public she is the victim of Republican nastiness. So there seems to be little downside risk for Republicans.

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