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Tilting at Windmills

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April 18, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

LOOK WHO'S HITCHED!....In this month's issue, T.A. Frank writes about Washington D.C.'s power couples. Nothing wrong with them, he says, except that it might be nice if the rest of us knew just who was related to whom:

When, for instance, Campbell Brown, anchor for the weekend edition of NBC's Today Show, tied the knot with Dan Senor, longtime GOP operative and former spokesman for Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority, no one minded that Brown had first met Senor when interviewing him in Iraq and soon after taken a shine to him. People can't help whom they fall for. Nor did anyone insist that Brown amend her NBC Web site bio to include information about her new spouse. That was Brown's business.

Or take the case of American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Fred Kagan, who is widely credited with authorship of the "Surge" in Iraq. Kimberly Kagan, wife of Fred, is writing assessments for the Weekly Standard of how the Surge is working. Nowhere in the Standard, however, has there been any reference to her marriage. Blogger Andrew Sullivan wrote a pointed entry about this — "[T]hey picked the wife of the main author and one of the plan's original architects. And they never disclosed these relevant facts" — and so did a few others, but it never rose above a minor grumble. The Weekly Standard stayed the course.

So what's your power couple IQ? Bill & Hillary and Bob & Liddy are no brainers. Slightly harder but still pretty well known: Former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan and NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell. Harder still: Russ Schrieber, John McCain's media strategist, and Nina Easton, Fortune's Washington bureau chief. And even harder: Ken Pollack, famously wrong Iraq analyst, and Andrea Koppel, CNN's congressional correspondent.

And of course, there's Philip Perry, former general counsel for the Department of Homeland Security, who's married to Liz Cheney, the veep's daughter. But you already knew that because you read the Washington Monthly and we wrote all about him last month.

For more, check out our chart, "Washington's 60 Sizzlingest Power Couples." Here's how to play: Count up the number of power couples on the list that you already knew about and then divide by 30. The result is your DC Power Couple IQ. Have fun!

Kevin Drum 12:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

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Comments

I'll just repeat that I can't understand how any Democrat could trust Carville again. But Hillary does. Maybe she likes the feeling that she can get phone calls through to Cheney.

Posted by: John Emerson on April 17, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Well, butter my Jesus!

Never woulda guessed.

Posted by: anonymous on April 17, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wait, isn't Liz Cheney a lesbian? Or was that Lynne.

Posted by: anonymous on April 17, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Liz or Lynne?

Perhaps Lesbianism is like Schrodinger's cat.

Posted by: gregor on April 18, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Not DC, but still interesting: Anthony Lewis of the Times is married to Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, a fact that some right-wingers think proves...something or other.

Posted by: DonBoy on April 18, 2007 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Nice cover. I hope some distributor mixes it up with People or US Weekly, so it winds up in the checkout lanes of Safeway, Giant or Shoppers. Of course, someone will then complain you didn't give enough ink to Marcia Cross' twins.

Posted by: Vincent on April 18, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Well, don't most people either meet their spouses while in college, or at work?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 18, 2007 at 1:01 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks for compiling a list of those who keep the cocktail-weenie industry afloat.

Posted by: AkaDad on April 18, 2007 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

Divide by 30?

1/3rd, slitely hire than mi reel lif iq

Posted by: jerry on April 18, 2007 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

What's amazingly weird is how many of them have the same last names too! Synchronicity!

Posted by: jerry on April 18, 2007 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, I have three, possibly four hours before I can log off. I hope Kevin gives us another post, because that last comment was all the enthusiasm for this topic I can muster.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 18, 2007 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Even if you let me count the individuals I'd already heard of, I wouldn't rate a cool-basement-temperature IQ.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on April 18, 2007 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Divide by 30?

1/3rd, slitely hir den mi rill lif iq

Posted by: jerry on April 18, 2007 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Dividing 60 by 30 means your maximum possible IQ on this test is 2.

Methinks there's been some mistake here.

On the one hand, it illustrates how incestuous the DC social/power circuit is. On the other, this sort of thing was probably inevitable once women started being able to achieve real careers outside the home. Senators and cabinet secretaries aren't going to marry the custodial staff.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 18, 2007 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

John Negroponte: deputy secretary of state
Diana Villiers Negroponte: trustee, Freedom House

This saddens me.

Posted by: Everblue Stater on April 18, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Like Quaker in the Basement, I dunno who most of the individual people are, let alone the couples. Except for the politicians and Supremes and a couple of teevee stars, who are those people? I think I eeeked out a 0.2 or sumpin. Man, am I outta the loop. No cocktail weenies for me. I wouldn't recognize anybody important at a weekend soiree in the Hamptons. I'm so crushed.

Posted by: out of the looper on April 18, 2007 at 2:05 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I'll be a hornswoggled monkey's uncle! WM's chart does include JulieMyers. And, our host has even mentioned her a couple times.

Now, for something much more disturbing, he could consider discussing this. (Mentioned by the Derb - with a KarlRove connection - back in August: lonewacko.com/blog/archives/005382.html )

Posted by: TLB on April 18, 2007 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

I also got a 0.2, but I think it's more like a 0.2 and a half since I sort of had the idea about some of them I just never managed to actually know it.

Posted by: cld on April 18, 2007 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Lonewacko, in case you haven't figured it out yet, the drugs are big business and the government's not in the business of supressing big business.

Heck, if it wasn't for those rare cops who take their jobs seriously, the drug runners wouldn't have to go to such lengths.

Posted by: Boronx on April 18, 2007 at 2:50 AM | PERMALINK

It seems more realistic to multiply by 3. That would give a maximum score of 180 for those "geniuses" who've taken the time to know everything about who in DC is sleeping with whom. Kevin's scale gives a maximum IQ of 2, which would be on the low side even for Townhall.com.

Of course the idea that knowing which media insider is sleeping with which political insider correlates positively with intelligence is a doubtful one to start out with, although I'm sure Chris Matthews and Cokie Roberts will be thrilled to finally find an IQ test where they can score over 100.

Posted by: Alex F on April 18, 2007 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

.2's for you suckas?

At .333 I am such a fuckin genius!!!

I am too sexy for this blog. Too sexy for this blog. So sexy you're agog, too sexy!

I am a smarty at this blog, a smarty at this blog. I am smarty and you're a farty, so smarty!

Posted by: jerry on April 18, 2007 at 4:05 AM | PERMALINK

Probably best if someone persuades Private Eye the British biweekly magzine to publish an American edition. Current URL for the UK mag is:

www.private-eye.co.uk

In the Street of Section it regularly points out the coincidences of Journalists writing rave reviews of novels written by their partners.

Politicos get skewered in the HP Sauce section and actors in Luvvies. It also has the spoof section "St. Albion" which appears as the parish newsletter written by the vicar; the reverend Tony Blair.

Funny, irreverent and fuelled by an anger against the people who dominate the four estates for letting everyone down - including themselves.

Posted by: Bad Rabbit on April 18, 2007 at 5:32 AM | PERMALINK

Marriage is a sacred union sanctioned by God. Liberals are always crying out that sacred beliefs have no place in the public sphere. Why are they tring to link the two now?

Also, they complain if gay couples are involuntarily outed. Why do they condone outing normal heterosexual couples?

Posted by: Al on April 18, 2007 at 6:04 AM | PERMALINK

Four words - Who the f*ck cares?

These self-absorbed, self-important people are only "powerful" in their own minds. They should give away all of their money and join a commune. That would make them a lot more "powerful" in my eyes. They are all going to be dead soon anyway.

Posted by: The Grim Reaper on April 18, 2007 at 6:50 AM | PERMALINK

Marriage is a sacred union sanctioned by God. Liberals are always crying out that sacred beliefs have no place in the public sphere. Why are they tring to link the two now?

Al, thanks for the laugh before I go to work. When you have to reach this far for a troll-jab, it puts all my traffic and office annoyances in perspective.

Also, they complain if gay couples are involuntarily outed. Why do they condone outing normal heterosexual couples?

Too easy! And another non-sequitor reach for relevance. Of course, hetero married couples don't get harassed and their careers and lives threatened by right-wing phobics. Ask around your circle of friends. I'm sure you know some.

Enjoy your hate-filled day, and keep those venom sacks filled!

Posted by: Berken on April 18, 2007 at 7:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Marriage is a sacred union sanctioned by God."

There's Al, his face pressed against the glass, dreaming about how wonderful it must be.

Posted by: Kenji on April 18, 2007 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, this is delicious! It's just like reading People magazine on the toilet. Only it's political and stuff! Can I give a shout-out to Brangelina and the gals down at the hair salon?

The only power couple that matters is Bush and Cheney, and they're running things. I've noticed liberals are beginning to despair of a possible Cheney run for the Presidency in 2008. If he announced tomorrow, a hundred million dollars in contributions would appear by Friday, close of business.

Wouldn't that be the power couple of the Century? Dick and Lynne, calling the shots? Oh, America might actually be properly defended if that were to happen.

Toodles...

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 18, 2007 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

I might have missed them, but I didn't see Steve and Cokie Roberts. A power couple since 1966.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 18, 2007 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

What about Joe Biden? I seem to recall that he's married to himself.

Posted by: lampwick on April 18, 2007 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

tweety and former newscaster kathleen matthews abc

Posted by: apeman on April 18, 2007 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Matchmaker, matchmaker, please introduce Ann Coulter to Michael Savage - Ah, the reprise of Hitler Youth.

Or, perhaps, BillO and Michelle Malkin could leave their spouses and run away to Falafel and Loofah Land.

Or Jeff Gannon and one of our trolls could..........

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 18, 2007 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

Joe Wilson's wife is an ex-CIA officer???

.233 IQ here -- based solely on the 7 easy ones.

Posted by: Grumpy on April 18, 2007 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Imagine how the list would grow if the parent-child "Family Connections" were added. Its no wonder the beltway is an echo-chamber.....

Posted by: jerseymissouri on April 18, 2007 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

I knew only seven, the ones everybody else is likely to know.

Posted by: anandine on April 18, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

What's amazingly weird is how many of them have the same last names too! Synchronicity!

Perhaps many of them are from West Virginia

Posted by: klyde on April 18, 2007 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

You know, this is a stupid topic.

Everybody, Washington DC is a small industry town. As in all small industry towns, everybody is related. Realize that fact and move on. Big deal.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 18, 2007 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

BillO and Michelle Malkin have spouse?

It has been obvious for a long time that both of them need to get laid.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 18, 2007 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

The Weekly Standard fails to live up to the highest journalistic ethics? Say it ain't so, Joe!

Posted by: JHM on April 18, 2007 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

The Weekly Standard stayed the course.

And that course is being substandard.

Posted by: ckelly on April 18, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Please....there is no reason to PDF this file! Make it web-friendly!

Posted by: Adam on April 18, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Marriage is a sacred union sanctioned by God.

If only the Republicans believed in the sanctity of marriage [sigh]. Giuliani? McCain? Gingrich? Anyone?

Posted by: ckelly on April 18, 2007 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

I've noticed liberals are beginning to despair of a possible Cheney run for the Presidency in 2008.

lay off the crystal meth--every liberal and Democrat would celebrate a Cheney nomination, it would be a godsend. Genital herpes has a higher approval rating.

Posted by: haha on April 18, 2007 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

I think this an important issue to understand, that is easily dismissed. We are talking about politics and the "unbiased" reporting of politics. Last week I saw Campbell Scott interviewing Nancy Pelosi. The entire time I had this feeling that Scott was asking questions in a way that felt like veiled partisanship. There was something that was more than playing "devil's advocate" or simply presenting the republican criticisms. She seemed to really accept the Republican talking points. So, you could have knocked me over with a feather this morning when I learned that she was married to a Republican strategist.

Posted by: dave on April 18, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

oops. sorry. Campbell Scott's an actor. Campbell Brown is the crypto-Republican news sayer.

Posted by: dave on April 18, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

ckelly,

Bob Livingston and that former Rep from North West Pennsylvania.

Indeed, the Repugs mentioned do revere the sanctity of marriage - So much so, that they attempt to replicate it over, over, and over again. Stay the course is not in their personal domestic agenda.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 18, 2007 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

What about Karl Rove and Jeff Gannon?

Posted by: Stefan on April 18, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Ann Coulter and Michael Savage?

Hmmm, I thought Debbie Schlussel had first dibs.

Ann and Debbie - Now, who wants to talk about our legal profession and their "high standards".

Posted by: stupid git on April 18, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

"...Dick and Lynne, calling the shots? Toodles..." Norman Rogers


Dear Tootles, where you been since 2000? Dick and Lynne have been calling the shots for 6 years.

Posted by: Zit on April 18, 2007 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

"every liberal and Democrat would celebrate a Cheney nomination, it would be a godsend. Genital herpes has a higher approval rating."

Thing is, herpes has the decency to not be doing its thing most of the time. Wish that were true of Cheney. So, yes, you're right. He's the outbreak that won't end.

Posted by: 0.35 on April 18, 2007 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

"calling the shots"

Yeah, and if they had been licensed, they should be brought up on Malpractice charges.

While, their daughter Liz, just had her blast of our Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's visit to Syria, printed in the Sunday Oregonian, under it's "Fair and Balanced" policy - Ah, no Arianna because, in the opinion of Jim Caldwell, the Editor in Chief for the Editorial Board, Arianna is an Advocate. However, Liz is not?????

Funny about the Oregonian - They print so many of the right, in order to be fair and balanced - Caldwell overruled the Editorial Board and backed a Repug for Guv - They endorsed Bush - And, yet, for all of their efforts, Bill O'Reilly labels them a left wing rag.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on April 18, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Of course this is an important topic. If we don't know the relationships of the players, we can't make informed judgments on the validity of their positions. For example, if a wife of a highly placed political partisan uses his loaded questions to interview his political opponent it is ludicrous that the connection is not made clear. Most, but not all, of these hidden connections seem to revolve around rethugs in one way or another.

By the way, I believe that your cheney daughter reference should have been mary.

Posted by: BearCountry on April 18, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Campbell Brown and this GOP guy (worked for Bremer of all people, the enabler of the disastrous policies in Iraq), Andrea Mitchell and Greenspin - what is it with the attraction of GOP-er types by "liberal media women"? Is it the rake thing?

Posted by: Neil B. on April 18, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

"what is it with the attraction of GOP-er types by "liberal media women"? "

It's really very simple. We're the Daddy Party and us GOP men are the Daddies. The Mommies might like to have their own Mommy Party and spend time talking about education with the Mommy-like men in the Mommy Party but at the end of the day, they want to come home to Daddy.

Posted by: Ebgert on April 18, 2007 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

What about Karl Rove and Jeff Gannon?

Guckert the suckert is promised to W. Bush.

Posted by: Brojo on April 18, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's Washington. You don't matter until you're connected enough to have a conflict of interest -- less networked than that, you're not a player.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 18, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

it might be nice if the rest of us knew just who was related to whom:

That was why Novak wrote about Plame and Wilson.

This may show that sometimes it isn't nice for the rest of us to know who is related to whom.

And the other cases: Feinstein and her husband, who is a defense contractor; Pelosi and her husband who is a property developer; Murtha and his brother who is a "consultant" for the defense contractors in Murtha's district.

It's hard to find people in government who don't have relatives.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 18, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

actually, not so sure that it's Pelosi's husband who is the property developer. It might be Pelosi's own company, or another family member.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on April 18, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

gregor: Perhaps Lesbianism is like Schrodinger's cat.

You mean what happens depends on the observer? That's been my experience.

Posted by: anandine on April 18, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Al >"Marriage is a sacred union sanctioned by God..."

You left out the part where being married provides legal protection against having to testify about your spouse`s illegal actitvities when the investigations begin.

Yet more marriages approved by Rev. Moon.

"Eventually, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall." - Robert C. Byrd

Posted by: daCascadian on April 18, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I guess my response to most of these couples would be that by marrying each other at least they didn't ruin two families.

Posted by: JeffII on April 18, 2007 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

"Ken Pollack, famously wrong Iraq analyst"

Well, he was wrong about the WMD, but he was right that things would be really difficult after the war was over. If the adminstration had listened to him instead of the crackpot neocons, things almost certainly be a whole lot better today in Iraq.

Posted by: bobo the chimp on April 18, 2007 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

What makes this interesting is the number of female members of the MSM who are married to conservatives. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but I bet if you put most of those women's names in front of your avergae knee-jerk right wing blogger, they would be identified as card carrying members of the liberal elite.

Posted by: ChrisO on April 18, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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