Axios morning email thingie has the toe-curling exercise of overlooking James Baker’s troubling career as a new book prepares to whitewash his life (strange emboldening and enigmatic bullet use is theirs):
The N.Y. Times’ Peter Baker and The New Yorker’s Susan Glasser are finishing six years of work on a James Baker book, a full biography of his life and times, and plan publication by Doubleday next spring.
- Peter Baker tells me that James Baker, age 88 — former Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury and White House chief of staff — is “the last of an era of politics that has vanished in today’s polarized atmosphere.”
- Why he matters: “His is also the story of Washington and how it’s changed over the last couple decades, from a place where a figure like Baker could work across the aisle to overhaul Social Security and rewrite the entire tax code to a city where compromise is seen as a vice rather than a virtue.”
Glasser and Baker have interviewed James Baker, his family, friends, advisers, counterparts, critics and enemies, as well as poring through his archives at Princeton and Rice Universities.
- They have interviewed former presidents, vice presidents, cabinet secretaries and foreign leaders.
- “It turns out everyone has a Baker story,” Peter said.
“…everyone has a Baker story,” including Willy Horton. Baker was the campaign manager that OK’ed that horrible ad. From being Reagan’s trickle-down treasury secretary, to being on Reagan’s Iran-Contra era National Security Council, there is very little that this man touched that did not get corrupted.
As the Bush Crime Family consigliere, he oversaw the Bush v. Gore recount in Florida. We could go through his career point-by-point, but you already get the drift.
Axios is trying to say that times were different then, less polarizing than now, and gosh, we could use a man like Baker again. The thing is, that’s a load of BS. The GOP rat-eff’ery was just as bad (maybe worse), but they were still using their indoor voices back then.