HITCHENS: Guilt By Associatiion Cuts Both Ways

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SLATE:  The person who has been introducing Palin into the more exalted social and political circles of the capital, and who has already arranged her appearance at the Alfalfa Club, is Fred Malek. Two things about Malek are worth bearing in mind.The first is that he was an important member of the Nixon administration, a senior figure on the Republican National Committee, and the campaign manager for the re-election of George H.W. Bush in 1992. With his Carlyle Group and other corporate connections and his mansion in suburban McLean, Va.,* Malek is almost the prototypical “establishment” Washington insider and consiglieri Republican, against whom Palin’s adoring book-tour crowds, in their pathetic dreams, imagine her to be a crusader. But her preposterous book Going Rogue is larded with praise for the wise support and advice of this leathery old Beltway bandit. Populism? Hah! Unless, that is, you count Jew-baiting as a form of populism, which I suppose in a way it is.

Because the second thing to note about Malek is that he was the man who drew up a list of Jews to be fired nixonlandcropped.thumbnail.jpgfrom the civil service under the Nixon administration. I am surprised that so many people have allowed themselves to forget this—and that Palin has never been asked a single question about it. In the early 1970s, Nixon, whose White House tapes show consistent evidence of anti-Semitic paranoia, gave orders that the Bureau of Labor Statistics be purged of what he called a “Jewish cabal.” The job of drawing up the list was given to Malek, whose information led to what was called the “reassignment” of some officials within the Labor Department. Malek later tried to give a weaselly excuse for his conduct, but was caught by my Slate colleague Timothy Noah. MORE

RELATED: Palin was at a book-signing in the mall’s East Rotunda about 2 p.m. when a “a local man with no permanent address threw a tomato at Palin from the second level across the rotunda,” according to a statement provided by Bloomington police. “The tomato missed Palin by approximately ten feet, but hit two Bloomington Police officers after hitting the stage,” according to the statement. MORE

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