Over in Denver they may not remember it’s LBJ’s 100th birthday today, but I have the feeling one fellow in Washington hasn’t forgotten it – columnist Bob Novak, who with his late partner Rowland Evans wrote Lyndon Johnson: The Exercise Of Power, still one of the most useful books about an American president.
When last heard from, Novak had ended his column after a 45-year run, in the face of what he called a “dire” prognosis of brain cancer, but today finds him out of the hospital and back in the saddle, writing what his syndicate says will be an “occasional” column. Often, columnists who reach Novak’s age are finishing their careers mostly reminiscing about the past, sometimes drawing a vague parallel to today’s events. But rather than evoke the days of the Great Society, Novak is focused firmly on the present.
The column concerns the increasing speculation that Sen. John McCain may make Sen. Joe Lieberman his running-mate. Novak points out the major drawback to this idea – namely, the fact that, apart from his position on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Lieberman’s political stands are completely in the Democratic mainstream, especially his pro-choice views on abortion, which is certain to alienate evangelicals and social conservatives. Interestingly, Novak quotes a source whom he identifies as a Minnesotan on Capitol Hill, who worries about the effect a McCain-Lieberman ticket would have on rural Minnesotans. This would appear to be Sen. Norm Coleman of Minnesota, facing a challenge this year from comedian Al Franken (whose travails as a candidate I have discussed in previous posts, but who certainly would get a boost if enough Minnesotan voters boycotted the GOP ticket). Well worth reading.