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August 29, 2006

Secret Holder Down To Three (Or Forty, Depending On How You're Counting)

Three remain, supposedly: Crapo, Judd Gregg, and most people's second or third favorite jagoff, Ted Stevens (R-Bridge To Nowhere, former Governor of Tubes).

Maybe I'm just grousing that my guy, Byrd, is supposedly "in the clear."

Again, I'm not sure if all of these denials offered by spokewomen should be taken as dispositive. I don't think a Senator would lie abut this -- not because he's a paragon of virtue, but because it would be so politically damaging -- but it's a relatively easy thing to tell a spokeswoman to say "No" and then later claim, if necessary, "Oh, I guess I misunderstood."

If this all is good information, and the culprit is all but exposed, it's a major coup for the blogosphere -- and for TPMmuckraker's Paul Kiel, specifically, who's done, as far as I can tell, the most persistent, dogged, and prosecutor-like work on this.

If he gets his man, he'll get great props and press coverage, which he deserves.

I'll go back to calling him a douchebag next week.

But this week, he gets a pass.

What if all 100 are "cleared"? I think there's a chance that could happen.

It occurred to me that someone on the Secret Hold Senator's staff could deliver a "tip" to TPMm, under an alias, saying, "Oh, I talked to him, he says no." Thus getting the Senator in the clear, and yet the Senator himself would never have lied. And one couldn't necessarily prove where this tip had come from.

I assume Paul is smart enough to only be taking tips from known, trusted readers.

(That's the difference between them and us-- we assume they're smart, at least until proven otherwise; they assume we're stupid.)

However, I still think it's possible that someone's spokesman has "misspoken" and gotten someone on the cleared list who shouldn't be.

Well, what then?

No problem. Then it's an even bigger story, because now we have a Senator or his office proveably lying. This time, we get all the Senators themselves on the phone, on the record, no wiggle room, no insulation, no plausible deniability.

Even if this first whack at the Secret Hold Senator turns up bust -- which it might -- the groundwork has been laid for a pretty damn swift second pass.

More Press: Professional imbecile Jack Cafferty just noted the massive effort to uncover the Secret Hold Senator on CNN, crediting the movement as being led by the "right side of the blogosphere."

Led? Well, yeah. Started by. Instapundit, Truth Laid Bear, etc., have been huge, huge promoters of the effort.

However, in fairness, it's Paul Kiel of the leftwing TPMmuckraker who has been getting the most denials from Senators (or their spokeswomen, at least). He picked up the torch when around 30 had been eliminated and has managed, at last count, to eliminate (or at least "eliminate") 67, to a total of 97.

So-- "led," yes. But the actual roll-up-your-shirtsleeves-and-get-to-dialing work has been done by TPMmuckraker and, of course, his lunatic (though loveably so, I'm sure) readers.

Thanks to Larwyn for the tip. I'd call it "unconfirmed," but at this point, any tip from Larwyn is self-confirming.

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posted by Ace at 06:19 PM

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