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Saturday, January 31, 2004

Michael Tomasky on "The Price of Loyalty"

Tomasky reviews Ron Suskind's bombshell in Sunday's NYT and he mentions toward the end some of my misgiving about Paul O'Neill serving as the messenger:

The end of O'Neill finally came in December 2002, when Cheney--not Bush--called to give him the sack. For all of the arguments ''The Price of Loyalty'' advances deftly, one point it allows only grudgingly is that the administration had several legitimate beefs with its man at Treasury. In early passages, Suskind turns somersaults to establish O'Neill's probity, apparently so great that even inanimate objects reflected it (at one point, O'Neill settles into a ''ladder-back chair'' that was an ''emblem . . . of rectitude and transparency''). And though Suskind does acknowledge O'Neill's maverick nature and tendency for unguarded comments, the missteps are usually represented as the frank talk of a courageous truth-teller, when sometimes they were just impolitic mistakes. Finally, there are one or two surprising omissions. In the section on the Africa trip, Suskind doesn't even mention that while O'Neill was abroad, the Dow Jones industrial average suffered a drop of more than 350 points, and that it was kind of his job to be in Washington to steady the markets.

I know that O'Neill has evidence to back up his claims that the administration was up to no good, I just wish he had more credibility himself so that his charges held more significance.