Oh, Man, is Deep Throat ever Pat Buchanan!!!
If you've been watching the mild commemorations of Watergate over the last few days you'll know that John Dean is coming out with a list of several new possible Deep Throat suspects. One of the guys on his shortlist is Pat Buchanan. And a journalism class at the University of Illinois, working under the supervision of Pulitzer Prize-winning former reporter William Gaines, undertook an extremely detailed investigation of all the available evidence and produced what I thought was an very compelling argument that Deep Throat was Pat Buchanan.
But good arguments are a dime a dozen.
What started to catch my attention this weekend was that no one seemed to be able to get Buchanan on the phone to deny it. Nor was Woodward denying it, something he had been willing to do with several others accused of being Deep Throat over the last couple decades.
Just now on Wolf Blitzer's show, Wolf rightly pointed to this reluctance on Woodward's part and the veteran Postie responded with a mealy-mouthed rationale: the pool of potential suspects is getting smaller and smaller, and if he keeps eliminating people pretty soon only one person will be left.
Sorry. That doesn't wash.
It's a good argument, one that's always occurred to me when Woodward has ruled people out in the past. But why adopt it now after scratching so many people off the list?
I think it's just what an honest reporter (I have many criticisms of Woodward, but I don't have any on this count) who wants to protect his sources does when he is caught dead to rights. It's a lame argument so late in the game but it's the best he can do when faced with the question.
Even more convincing, however, is Buchanan's demonstrable unwillingness to deny it.
Have you ever seen Buchanan hide from a microphone? Of course not. If he's such a Nixon loyalist why isn't he rushing forth to deny it and even demanding Woodward do the same? Is Pat's phone disconnected? Has everyone forgotten the address of his home over in McLean, Virginia? He hasn't been able to return the calls yet? Please.
His unwillingness to deny it seals the deal as far as I'm concerned.
And there's one more clue that nails it shut. (Sorry for the mixed metaphor but I'm trying to get this posted ASAP.)
One of the great mysteries of Watergate and Deep Throat's identity is why exactly he's wanted to remain anonymous for so long. I mean, during Watergate? Sure. For a while after? Fine. But ten, twenty, thirty years later? Deep Throat may be an odd figure in American history. But for most he'd be a hero, someone who turned on a corrupt administration, the ultimate whistleblower, etc.
After all this time, why wouldn't this person come forward to get some of the limelight?
It's hard to figure ... unless he was someone still operating in those Republican circles where that sort of disloyalty would be very damning and even career-threatening. That is, unless it was someone like Patrick J. Buchanan.