(Original post date: January 11)
Hey, I didn't say it.
And I didn't find it at some obscure, rant-infested site. It's from National Review Online, and the writer is noting that the G.O.P. is desparately looking around to see if it can rope at least one Democrat into the Abramoff scandal. Love the sub-title: It’s the Republicans, stupid.
Nothing in my 50-year career prepared me for the thousands of flaming e-mails I got last week over my last column, e-mails so abusive and many so obscene that part of The Post's Web site was shut down..That column praised The Post for breaking the story on lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings, for which he has pleaded guilty to several felony counts. The column clearly pointed out that Abramoff is a Republican and dealt mainly with Republicans, most prominently former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas.
.I wrote that he gave campaign money to both parties and their members of Congress. He didn't. I should have said he directed his client Indian tribes to make campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties...My mistake set off a firestorm. I heard that I was lying, that Democrats never got a penny of Abramoff-tainted money, that I was trying to say it was a bipartisan scandal, as some Republicans claim. I didn't say that. It's not a bipartisan scandal; it's a Republican scandal, and that's why the Republicans are scurrying around trying to enact lobbying reforms..But there is no doubt about the campaign contributions that were directed to lawmakers of both parties. Records from the Federal Election Commission and the Center for Public Integrity show that Abramoff's Indian clients contributed money to 195 Republicans and 88 Democrats between 1999 and 2004. The Post also has copies of lists sent to tribes by Abramoff with his personal directions on which members were to receive what amounts.
.Michael Crowley of the New Republic said in his blog that "while for all practical purposes this is indisputably a Republican scandal, the narrow liberal-blogger definition of whether any Democrats took money 'from Abramoff' -- which neatly excludes contributions he directed his clients to make -- amounts to foolish semantics.''.These facts have been reported many times in The Post and elsewhere. So why would it cause me to be called a "right-wing whore" and much worse?.[examples of name-calling follow... and finally...]....I am grateful for an e-mail I got from San Antonio. Mark Kelch's first e-mail said: "I'm sure you are making your conservative handlers happy but journalistically it makes you look like a fool. In the end it shows you have a lack of integrity. Does that mean nothing to you?".I wrote him back. Kelch answered: "I took some time and read an interview (online) with you, among other things. When I finished, I shuddered a little bit because it made me think I may be exhibiting an attribute that in others I despise. My e-mail to you was a cheap shot at your integrity and for that I am sorry. I sincerely hope part two of your article knocks them dead."
.Going forward, here's my plan. I'll watch every word. I'll read every e-mail and answer as many legitimate complaints as I can. The vast majority of my work takes place outside this column.But I will reject abuse and all that it stands for..To all of those who wanted me fired, I'm afraid you're out of luck. I have a contract. For the next two years, I will continue to speak my mind.
.Keep smiling. I will.