October 22, 2007
What can be said about Robert Novak that hasn't already been said? He's a veteran Washington reporter that's established himself as the preeminent conservative opinion maker of the last fifty years. He's a nationally syndicated columnist, has been a prominent cable news commentator, helped define modern political discourse-oh, and he's the guy that outed undercover CIA agent Valerie Plame. He doesn't like to talk much about that, however. Even though he had no problem blabbing the classified identity of Plame in his column-passed along to him by Karl Rove as part of a coordinated effort to discredit her husband, Joseph Wilson, a vocal critic of the Bush Administration's Iraq policy-Novak is ironically tight lipped when it comes to discussing the matter today. You can't really blame him, though, considering that he may have come very close to jail time during the resulting investigation into the Plame leak by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald sent journalist Judith Miller to jail for contempt and convicted Dick Cheney hatchet man Scooter Libby of obstruction of justice, so Novak's probably still a bit squeamish about the whole thing. Aside from that inconsequential chapter of his life in which he was the catalyst for one of America's most infamous political scandals, Novak's life is an open book-a book called "Prince of Darkness: 50 Years of Reporting In Washington," which you can conveniently buy following Novak's lecture at the Dole Center of Politics. He'll even sign it for you! Just don't mention Valerie Plame-and for God's sake, whatever you do, don't bring up Jon Stewart. Robert Novak was kind enough to join lawrence.com over the phone and not discuss a lot of things.