This blog avoids politics like the plague.
Nevertheless, today Politico ran “When the CIA Infiltrated a Political Campaign.” The look-back on the CIA’s spy in the 1964 presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater tickled my fancy in the most predictable way. Politico writer Steve Usdin describes how LBJ got the drop on AuH2O by having the CIA purloin from the GOP nominee’s headquarters the advance text of a speech in which he planned to announce a task force. Forewarned, LBJ announced his own task force first, making his rival look silly.
Having the CIA steal a speech was not LBJ’s only advantage. Usdin quotes fabled Timesman Arthur Krock – what a name for a pundit! – that Goldwater was “hopelessly outmatched” in where he delivered his televised speech:
The President of the United States [gave his] in the classic décor of his Oval Office at the White House; his helplessly scooped opponent [gave his] in the modernistic carnival setting of the Coliseum that was built for the Seattle World’s Fair.
… Imagine the announcement of the creation of a task force getting space on any news broadcast today!