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Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, February 19, 2004
 

Kerry/Polier: What if it was Kerry whodunnit?


I went through some loose ends and some possibilities yesterday.

One further thought occurs: what if Kerry set the whole thing up? What if he knew Polier [1], and had kept in touch; and she was up for a little fun and games at the expense of her (former? [2]) profession.

And Polier père et mère are in on the gag too. (That would explain reports of their utterances in which Kerry turned in days from a sleazeball to their man for November.)

Because what has been achieved for Kerry (whether he had anything to do with it or not) is that the buttoned-down segment of the US media is now clapping itself on the back for staying away from the Drudge story. It played right into that segment's über-smugness and prissiness [3] - and at the same time gave them a vision of the Fiery Pit into which any rag that had been so foolish as to go with the Drudge story would have fallen.

A case of No Newspaper Left Behind: they all got the picture!

Skip forward to October 31: Kerry gets a bimbo eruption (or, perhaps, something equally embarrassing in the financial line - who can tell?). Those Pharisees of the Press who took such a condescending tone back in February will fear to yield the high moral ground; will hesitate long enough for the voters to cast their ballots in ignorance [4].

Whether the story checks out or not, Kerry will already have got his clear run.

Fanciful? Possibly. But - in 1970, who would have said one would ever have a presidential campaign that included breaking and entering amongst the techniques it employed?

And, didn't LBJ bug the Nixon campaign in 1968?

  1. How? What is the history between these two? Why has there been no actual journalism on the subject (that I've seen)?

    By know, I don't mean shtupped, necessarily. Perhaps they were just acquaintances. That happens. I've read about it, at least...

  2. Again, I'm not clear what racket she's in at the moment. I probably haven't been paying attention. (That happens, too. Oh, yes...)

  3. For more of which, read Jay Rosen's excellent piece (February 17) on CJR's Campaign Desk - which demonstrates both qualities in its Luddite and contrafactual rants against blogs.

    As Meredith Wilson never quite wrote in The Music Man:

    my friends,
    Ya got trouble,
    With a capital "T"
    And that rhymes with "B"
    And that stands for "blogs".
  4. They will have heard from the blogospheric rabble, and their confederates in the British press and supermarket tabs; but not from Repository of Truth. The silence from which would in itself be taken as a denial of the story, of course.

MORE

I'd overlooked Mme La Grand-mère. Local hack Phil Luciano tracked down (phone book?) Dorothy Polier, Alex Polier's grandmother, for a piece (February 17) in the Peoria Journal-Star.

The lede:
The only interest Alexandra Polier had in U.S. Sen. John Kerry was for a job reference, her Peoria grandmother said Monday.

A likely story, one might think [1].

However, it seems she had already had truck with legislators:
Dorothy Polier said that a few years ago, her granddaughter lived in England and worked in some capacity for Parliament.

No stranger to the ways of the accursed British newspapers, then.

She later decided she wanted some experience of Washington politics, and so
went to the capital and paid a visit on a big-name acquaintance: Kerry

When, you are bound to ask, did she become an acquaintance of Kerry's? According to the piece, she did her undergraduate degree at Clark University in Worcester, MA. But that is the only Massachusetts connection I know of. And - well how many students go inter-state to college, and make an acquaintance of a US Senator for the college state?

The grandmother says that
She had been introduced to him...

Now, I would think the most plausible way in which such a meeting might have come about completely out of the blue would be if the out-of-state student had volunteered to work on the Senator's re-election campaign, and had met him casually as he rallied his troops. Introduced implies specific intent and the agency of a third party. And who might that have been?

(You don't think there's any danger of some actual journalism on this, do you? Some sort of timeline would be a useful start.)

There is no evidence (in the piece, or elsewhere, so far as I know) that anything ever came of the interview; Polier, talking to AP, said she had never worked for Kerry. The grandmother does not say whether she worked in Washington for someone else, or whether Kerry gave her the reference she sought.

The piece says that
Her grandmother said although Alexandra Polier knew Kerry, the relationship was all business and apparently stemmed from her duties as a reporter.

Acquaintance would cover casual and irregular meetings; relationship and business something more substantial.

Are there stories on Nexis that Polier did about, or quoting, or in some way related to, Kerry?

Now, as a witness for a girl's doings in Washington, her grandmother in Peoria would not, prima facie. rank high on the cogency scale.

She is of value (if at all) as the repository of what Alex told her happened [2]. The fact that Alex cannot give a flat denial of a connection with Kerry leaves the parameters of that connection to be established. Dates, times, locations - who said and did what.

On some of which there should be rather better evidence. If any journo is at all interested in looking.

  1. Reminds me of the joke told by music-hall comedian Max Miller: he recalled going home and finding his wife in the sitting-room with a naked man. "Don't go raving mad," she tells him. "He's a nudist and he's come in to use the phone." (Miller's aside: "There's a clever one from the wife!) In the 1940s and 50s, that got big laughs: I've heard the live album...

  2. And when exactly was she told the details about the Kerry pow-wow? Apparently, Alex was last in Peoria in December 2002; and Dorothy
    does not keep in constant contact with her granddaughter.
    There are such things as telephones, though, even from Kenya. And emails. Is Dorothy online, by any chance?


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