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Friday, August 20, 2004

The NYT's "Connections and Contradictions" line chart

I wrote briefly last night about the graphic that accompanied the NYT's hit piece on the SwiftVets, and since then I've been pondering about where I could be inserted into that same chart, based on my own personal history.  Like John O'Neill, I've been a practicing lawyer in Houston for well over two decades.

I suppose the chart would start with the SwiftVets, to whom I've donated $25 (plus, indirectly, whatever my TypePad bandwidth overcharges are going to be for this month).  Throw in that I once represented a codefendant of the company that O'Neill's late partner (and Merrie Spaeth's late husband) Tex Lezar (a one-time candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Texas) represented; Tex's and Merrie's names are on the NYT's chart, and both Tex's client and mine were great big insurance companies, which must mean Republicans, right?  I also spent six years at Houston's Baker  Botts, co-founded by the great grandfather of former Reagan cabinet secretary and current partner James A. Baker III.  (Never mind that Baker wasn't at Baker Botts when I was, because of neoptism prohibitions; his son was, although in the DC office.)  If you'll review the online records, you'll find that I've made almost no political contributions to candidates from either party, with the exception of a few judges (which have tended to be Republicans, which in turn have tended to be the only serious judicial candidates in Texas since the late 1980s, usually running unopposed).  I have, however, voted in several Republican primaries, and in no Democratic ones since the Dems stopped running competitive state-wide candidates some years ago.

So those would be some of the connecting lines radiating out from "Beldar" on the chart — at least the lines going to the right.  But what about the other lines, the ones running to the left?

Well, I guess since all of John O'Neill's partners' political activities are being attributed by the NYT to him, we have to look at my former law partner Richard Ben-Veniste (we were both at Weil Gotshal & Manges at the time), who's lately famous as a Democratic designee on the 9/11 Commission, but first earned fame as a staff lawyer in the Nixon impeachment.  Then there's my past relationship with Bill White, current mayor of Houston, former head of the Texas Democratic Party and Deputy Secretary of Energy for Clinton; Bill and I were never partners, but I worked under him when he was editor in chief of the Texas Law Review in 1978-1979, and several years later had a lovely lunch with him at his home when his firm (now one of the Dems' biggest fundraising bastions in Texas) offered me a job.  The judge for whom I clerked, the Hon. Carolyn D. King (who's now Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit) was a Carter appointee; certainly if John O'Neill's clerkship for Justice Rehnquist shows his Nixon ties, my clerkship should show my Carter ties.  And don't forget the time in 1971 when my high school band marched in the second inaugural parade for the late Texas Governor Preston Smith, a Democrat born in my hometown of Lamesa, Texas.  It's a really small town; we must have been friends and political allies, right?

I'm pretty sure that if I trace back through the ranks of the three major law firms where I've worked and my law school classmates, I can find cabinet secretaries, general counsels to governors, judgeship appointees, campaign managers and fundraisers, elected officials, and probably a convicted felon or two.  Tell me what faction of politics or public affairs you want the chart to highlight, and I'm pretty sure I can come up with one that's just exactly as factually well-grounded as the NYT's chart.

So now I'm confused.  Which vast ___-wing conspiracy am I part of?  Guess it would depend who wanted to smear me with that label, huh?

Posted by Beldar at 09:36 PM in Humor, Mainstream Media, Politics (2006 & earlier), SwiftVets | Permalink


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(1) J_Crater made the following comment | Aug 20, 2004 11:20:06 PM | Permalink

Let me get this straight, this proves that Pickett's charge was doomed to failure because his cousin's best friend who knew a slave that once served lunch to U.S. Grant and happened to burp when he mentioned his third cousin twice removed had once been to Alanta o shop for clothing that then was made into a Confederate flag.
I suggest the Times do one of these charts for it's own staff so we can know exactly here their ax gets ground.

(2) Al made the following comment | Aug 21, 2004 5:25:25 PM | Permalink

To heck with waiting for the Times to make one, we can do it better.

Let's see.

How about one for Bush showing all his Extreme Left links.

He uses a Mac -> Steve Jobs -> and Al Gore's on the Board of Directors.

There was a showing of F911 in Crawford TX, too small to normally be attractive to same. Clearly a link.

Bush is an 'oil man', and Tera Fina Elf is an Oil Company -> clear ties to Chirac.

Bush & Kerry at Yale -> clear ties there to a leftist.

The USS Jimmy Carter was commissioned on Bush's watch.

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