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-   -   Taking Bets: Who is the 'insider' who wrote the NYT Opinion Piece? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=861731)

Jonathan Chance 09-05-2018 08:55 PM

Taking Bets: Who is the 'insider' who wrote the NYT Opinion Piece?
 
So the New York Times ran an opinion piece today. It was presented anonymously because the author is a 'senior administration official' who could lose his or her job.

We can debate the ethics of whether it should be run in another thread. Right here and now I want to kick around who wrote it? Generally, in Washington speak, a 'senior administration official' is someone at the presidential advisor or cabinet level. Not always, but generally.

So let's play the game.

I'm thinking maybe Mnuchin. Dude's rich as fuck - possibly richer than Trump - and is likely frustrated as hell with Trump's economic policy choices. What's Trump going to do? Fire him into his life of incredible luxury?

dalej42 09-05-2018 09:12 PM

Elaine Chao, one of the few cabinet members with any experience in the executive branch as she served as W’s Secretary of Labor for 8 years. So, she’s seen what a normal administration looks like .

KidCharlemagne 09-05-2018 09:15 PM

Well the talk on Twitter is that it's Mike Pence since he's used the term "lodestar" a number of times since 2011 and it was used in the op-ed referring to McCain. It's too odd a word to be chance ( unless it's a deliberate red-herring from another writer). It makes sense it would be Pence - he wants Trumps job, likes conservative policies, and generally sees himself as a white knight. And he can't be fired.

Fretful Porpentine 09-05-2018 09:17 PM

Regarding the "lodestar" thing: Henry Kissinger used it, quite recently, while speaking about McCain. I'd venture it's much more likely to be someone recalling that speech, consciously or unconsciously, rather than Pence or someone deliberately trying to imitate Pence's style.

kenobi 65 09-05-2018 09:34 PM

I'm going with Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.

Ravenman 09-05-2018 09:35 PM

Iím guessing Bill McGinley, the cabinet secretary.

Onomatopoeia 09-05-2018 09:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance (Post 21189834)
So the New York Times ran an opinion piece today. It was presented anonymously because the author is a 'senior administration official' who could lose his or her job.

We can debate the ethics of whether it should be run in another thread. Right here and now I want to kick around who wrote it? Generally, in Washington speak, a 'senior administration official' is someone at the presidential advisor or cabinet level. Not always, but generally.

So let's play the game.

I'm thinking maybe Mnuchin. Dude's rich as fuck - possibly richer than Trump - and is likely frustrated as hell with Trump's economic policy choices. What's Trump going to do? Fire him into his life of incredible luxury?

Nah. Mnuchin's a self-absorbed, self-important crook. Trump is the best thing that's ever happened to him; that and his ability to slither away cleanly from his past criminal banking exploits.

KidCharlemagne 09-05-2018 09:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fretful Porpentine (Post 21189874)
Regarding the "lodestar" thing: Henry Kissinger used it, quite recently, while speaking about McCain. I'd venture it's much more likely to be someone recalling that speech, consciously or unconsciously, rather than Pence or someone deliberately trying to imitate Pence's style.

Why not Pence? He is practically a perfect fit. His fawning isnt real, though I hope that's obvious. What else precludes Pence?

Onomatopoeia 09-05-2018 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21189905)
I'm going with Dan Coats, director of national intelligence.

I second DNI Coats.

Aspenglow 09-05-2018 09:43 PM

Well, the educated guess of Lawrence O'Donnell is also Dan Coats, and that's probably right.

O'Donnell's choices came down to Coats or Pompeo. I speculated Pompeo in another thread, but I think O'Donnell is correct. So I'll vote for Coats, too.

Onomatopoeia 09-05-2018 09:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KidCharlemagne (Post 21189914)
Why not Pence? He is practically a perfect fit. His fawning isnt real, though I hope that's obvious. What else precludes Pence?

Too much potential for exposure. Nope, Pence will happily and quietly remain Trump's bootlicker until the last day of his term.

kenobi 65 09-05-2018 09:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia (Post 21189930)
Too much potential for exposure. Nope, Pence will happily and quietly remain Trump's bootlicker until the last day of his term.

And, Pence, I think, really wants to wind up as President when Trump leaves the office, one way or the other. I suspect that whoever this is recognizes that his political career is likely over, or will be very shortly.

Onomatopoeia 09-05-2018 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21189937)
I suspect that whoever this is recognizes that his political career is likely over, or will be very shortly.

And I suspect he is likely okay with that.

Tee 09-05-2018 10:09 PM

For some reason I think it's Nikki Haley.

Sunny Daze 09-05-2018 10:16 PM

The issue is that I can't see any of the people I view as a "grown up" being stupid enough to admit to the things mentioned in this Op Ed.

KellyAnne Conway

alphaboi867 09-05-2018 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tee (Post 21189977)
For some reason I think it's Nikki Haley.

She doesn't work in the White House though; her job is in NYC.

Sage Rat 09-05-2018 10:55 PM

Clues:

Is at jeopardy of losing their position if their identity got out - ergo, not McGahn or Pence or someone like that

Discusses the early days of the cabinet - ergo, one of the early hires

Mentions McCain as an inspiration for the article - likely military and a traditional Republican. Coats, Mattis, Pompeo, and Kelly are all reasonably likely.

GIGObuster 09-05-2018 11:27 PM

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Reasons: Too many insults from Trump: so he has a reason to write it, likely already on the way out: so not worried about being outed. Becoming more friendly lately with Pence: so that "lodestar" word could come from his interactions with the vice president.

And Sessions attended the funeral of John McCain. I did notice many articles pointing out at how the funeral looked like if it was one of the biggest meetings of the resistance against Trump ever assembled.

nearwildheaven 09-05-2018 11:48 PM

Rachel Maddow implied that it could be Pence, and while he can't be "fired", he could certainly have his life made miserable if it turns out he's this version of Deep Throat.

(One wonders if Pence knows where that phrase originated, but that's a discussion for another day.)

Maddow also referenced an out-of-print 1960s novel called "Night of Camp David", about a president who goes insane, and you can't get a copy on Amazon right now. The ones I saw earlier were priced at $75 for mass market paperbacks.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_n...+of+camp+david

ETA: Even the Reader's Digest Condensed Book version is unavailable! Those people will get to read a condensed version of one of my all-time favorite books, "Intern" by Doctor X, later revealed to be children's science author and physician Dr. Alan Nourse.

DinoR 09-05-2018 11:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21190062)
Mentions McCain as an inspiration for the article - likely military and a traditional Republican..

Sessions is a former Army Reserve officer who served on the Armed Services committee with McCain

nearwildheaven 09-05-2018 11:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jonathan Chance (Post 21189834)
I'm thinking maybe Mnuchin. Dude's rich as fuck - possibly richer than Trump

Oh, hell, I'M probably richer than Trump, because my bank account has a positive balance.

KidCharlemagne 09-05-2018 11:53 PM

The Weekly Standard has an analysis on who they think are top 4 likely and why (including linguistic analysis). They finger Kudlow, Hasset, Coats, and Pompeo as most likely.

https://www.weeklystandard.com/micha...administration

Lord Feldon 09-05-2018 11:54 PM

Some rando nobody who works more than five miles from the building has ever heard of (and who won't seem very "senior"), but who wants to maximize their value in the future. So not someone who has reached the likely pinnacle of their career.

Onomatopoeia 09-05-2018 11:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GIGObuster (Post 21190123)
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Reasons: Too many insults from Trump: so he has a reason to write it, likely already on the way out: so not worried about being outed. Becoming more friendly lately with Pence: so that "lodestar" word could come from his interactions with the vice president.

And Sessions attended the funeral of John McCain. I did notice many articles pointing out at how the funeral looked like if it was one of the biggest meetings of the resistance against Trump ever assembled.

Nope, Sessions doesn't track for me. First, I simply don't think Sessions is very intelligent, so as much as Trump despises and insults him, Sessions remains loyal. Second, he is at least complicit with Trump and probably majorly culpable in the disastrous child separation policy both he and Trump gleefully twirled their evil mustaches over until it backfired, as well as other initiatives he's begun to roll back protections on civil rights while at the same time providing increased pathways to legal remedy for those who wish to discriminate against others on religious grounds that he would not have been able to without Trump. Sessions is a big part of a problem he truly sees as a solution.

Onomatopoeia 09-06-2018 12:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 21190168)
Some rando nobody who works more than five miles from the building has ever heard of (and who won't seem very "senior"), but who wants to maximize their value in the future. So not someone who has reached the likely pinnacle of their career.

I highly doubt the NYT would have run with such a piece from a "rando nobody...has ever heard of."

Sage Rat 09-06-2018 01:15 AM

Just in case the identity does ever come into the public, I'll come down on Coats just for the sake of possible future ego points.

Quartz 09-06-2018 01:53 AM

Put me down for one of the invisibles - a member of the White House staff, a butler, member of the Secret Service, or similar. Someone who sees everything and usually says nothing. I expect that the NYT is being deceptive in their description of the author.

Sage Rat 09-06-2018 02:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21190238)
Put me down for one of the invisibles - a member of the White House staff, a butler, member of the Secret Service, or similar. Someone who sees everything and usually says nothing. I expect that the NYT is being deceptive in their description of the author.

If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.

So your contention is that they are bluffing and risking their entire business - since that would effectively destroy their credibility - on this.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/40...ump-presidency

Lord Feldon 09-06-2018 02:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21190243)
If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.

He would have to be very stupid to sue anybody for libel, wouldn't he? (Oh...) Would that not give the New York Times the right to haul in every single administration official who has ever dealt with Trump, and force them to give an honest accounting of his behavior? Not to mention, I think they'd probably get to depose the president himself, exposing him to all kinds of personal legal problems.

Quartz 09-06-2018 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21190243)
If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.

So your contention is that they are bluffing and risking their entire business - since that would effectively destroy their credibility - on this.

No, I said deceptive, not dishonest.

UnwittingAmericans 09-06-2018 03:12 AM

It's going to end up being a "nobody." And by "nobody," I mean not a top-level name, nobody most people even here will recognize. High enough in position that The Times had a duty to run it because it shows there's a virtual mutiny and separate government going on and they'd be derelict not to run it once they knew who it was.

DWMarch 09-06-2018 03:12 AM

I think the "lodestar" reference is a reverse Canary Trap, which is to say it was put there intentionally to make Trump distrust Pence. If Pence is willing to be bootlicker in chief he's obviously easily manipulated but how does one break Trump's hold on him? Easy, make Trump think he's disloyal, Trump will take it from there. Once that seed is planted Trump cannot and will not let it go. And if that's the case, should the cabinet decide it's time to have that 25th amendment discussion again, they'll be able to go to Pence and maybe just maybe Pence will be swayed. Come on Mike, you can do it. Just close your eyes and think of Mother.

El_Kabong 09-06-2018 03:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord Feldon (Post 21190168)
Some rando nobody who works more than five miles from the building has ever heard of (and who won't seem very "senior"), but who wants to maximize their value in the future. So not someone who has reached the likely pinnacle of their career.

I really think that if this is not some sort of planted story by the administration itself (and Trump seems genuinely to be having a meltdown over it); that we should take the Times editors at their word that the person responsible for the piece is indeed a 'a senior official in the Trump administration'. For me this means most likely someone in the cabinet structure and much more likely from the national security and/or intelligence establishment such as Pompeo, Coats, Haspel, Mattis or Neilsen (or a deputy thereof), rather than from one of the economic or Treasury-related areas of responsibility. We can pretty much eliminate out of hand such worthies as Perry, DeVos and Carson, right?

Sage Rat 09-06-2018 03:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Quartz (Post 21190258)
No, I said deceptive, not dishonest.

It would be dishonest to call a Secret Service agent "a senior official in the Trump administration". That would not be deceptive.

mikecurtis 09-06-2018 03:32 AM

Robert Lighthizer
U.S. Trade Representative
Lighthizer was previously a deputy U.S. trade representative under President Reagan, and has since worked as a trade attorney in Washington, D.C.

BobLibDem 09-06-2018 05:34 AM

When I go to the track, I pick longshots so that if they come through I win a bundle. So with that in mind, I'll go to the $2 window and put my money on..... Ivanka. Motive- get the 25th invoked so her old man can get indicted, she testifies against him in exchange for immunity. As Columbo might have said, it's always the one you least suspect.

Then I'd take another $2 and put my money on Chief of Staff Kelly. Everyone knows he fucking hates his job but feels a duty to keep an eye on his batshit crazy boss.

Bijou Drains 09-06-2018 06:03 AM

Conway based on the fact her husband keeps going after Trump in public

iiandyiiii 09-06-2018 06:47 AM

PredictIt betting market bettors think it's Coats -- the betting line for "Will DNI Coats still be DNI at the end of 2018" went from ~90 to ~40 the day the Op-Ed came out. That seems like the best guess.

Ann Hedonia 09-06-2018 07:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia (Post 21189910)
Nah. Mnuchin's a self-absorbed, self-important crook. Trump is the best thing that's ever happened to him; that and his ability to slither away cleanly from his past criminal banking exploits.

Mnuchin was one of my first guesses and I still think itís a possibility. Because his family - excluding his golddigging attention whore wife- hates Trump. And they may have been pressuring him to take a stand. Of course, this situation has existed for a while and he never did anything before, so maybe not.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onomatopoeia (Post 21189930)
Too much potential for exposure. Nope, Pence will happily and quietly remain Trump's bootlicker until the last day of his term.

Pence would be a fun choice, but a bit too on the nose.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GIGObuster (Post 21190123)
Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III

Reasons: Too many insults from Trump: so he has a reason to write it, likely already on the way out: so not worried about being outed. Becoming more friendly lately with Pence: so that "lodestar" word could come from his interactions with the vice president.

And Sessions attended the funeral of John McCain. I did notice many articles pointing out at how the funeral looked like if it was one of the biggest meetings of the resistance against Trump ever assembled.

Sessions may agree with the sentiment but I donít think heís the writer. I donít think he has time to hang around the Oval Office snatching papers off Trumpís desk, heís too busy tirelessly working to oppress minorities and destroy our civil liberties.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bijou Drains (Post 21190349)
Conway based on the fact her husband keeps going after Trump in public

I, as well as a lot of people, have always suspected that she has always hated Trump. But I donít think she has the reflective insight to recognize that Trumpís policies are ungrounded by moral principles.

Quote:

Originally Posted by iiandyiiii (Post 21190374)
PredictIt betting market bettors think it's Coats -- the betting line for "Will DNI Coats still be DNI at the end of 2018" went from ~90 to ~40 the day the Op-Ed came out. That seems like the best guess.

I think itíll turn out to be Coates.

John Mace 09-06-2018 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kenobi 65 (Post 21189937)
And, Pence, I think, really wants to wind up as President when Trump leaves the office, one way or the other. I suspect that whoever this is recognizes that his political career is likely over, or will be very shortly.

Yeah, I can't see it being Pence. Or any of the military/ex-military folks. They would be too honor bound to do something outside the scope of the constitution like this.

Glad you started this thread, JC. I was going to do the same, mainly because I don't know enough of the high level officials to know who it might be and I like mining the knowledge here.

JohnT 09-06-2018 08:23 AM

I first said Pence, but more for bragging rights. Right now... Coates, then Pence.

Conway, I don't buy it. Which likely means it's her, of course. ;)

K364 09-06-2018 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DWMarch (Post 21190263)
I think the "lodestar" reference is a reverse Canary Trap, which is to say it was put there intentionally to make Trump distrust Pence...

Agree. Trump's paranoia is now off the chart. What an environment to work in.

Ashtura 09-06-2018 09:06 AM

Well, if we are to take the NYT at its word, it's not Sessions. Pence is ridiculous imo. I have a hard time believing it was one of the generals, because I frankly think this op ed was a dumb tactical move of you're actually trying to help the country. I do think it could be someone working under them though.

EddyTeddyFreddy 09-06-2018 09:08 AM

Whoever it is has to have frequent access to the President's desk, and daily knowledge of what's going across it for signing. I'd say that lets out Sessions for one, and probably Pence -- doesn't he get stored in a closet when they don't need him for a photo op or funeral? It's either someone signficant on the White House staff itself, or very high up in the national security apparatus.

Wesley Clark 09-06-2018 09:14 AM

Probably someone that none of us have heard of before. Who knows how many senior positions there are.

El_Kabong 09-06-2018 09:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia
I think itíll turn out to be Coates.

Quote:

Originally Posted by JohnT (Post 21190495)
I first said Pence, but more for bragging rights. Right now... Coates, then Pence.

Coats, people. Coats. Like the things people wear in winter.

Sorry; carry on.

John Mace 09-06-2018 09:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by El_Kabong (Post 21190645)
Coats, people. Coats. Like the things people wear in winter.

Sorry; carry on.

It's not on his wikipedia page yet.

andros 09-06-2018 09:55 AM

Mark Felt

CaptMurdock 09-06-2018 10:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sage Rat (Post 21190243)
If they were, then there would be a fair case for libel and Trump would sue them and they would lose.

So your contention is that they are bluffing and risking their entire business - since that would effectively destroy their credibility - on this.

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/40...ump-presidency

Libel for an opinion piece? Highly unlikely. The editorial staff undoubtedly had their lawyers go over this backwards and forwards to make sure the NYT was insulated from civil litigation. I haven't read the piece, but I would bet that there were disclaimers and wiggle-words out the ying-yang preceding it.

senoy 09-06-2018 10:07 AM

Conway

She is a definite conservative, but no love for Trump. She was actively antagonistic towards him prior to his nomination and was pro-Ted Cruz. Prior to his nomination, she called Trump extreme and offensive. Her husband is extremely anti-Trump.

Most damning though is that she's the only person that we know for a fact has subverted him. We know from the phone call Trump had with Woodward that she got a request from Woodward to have a sit down with Trump and she didn't take it to him. She also knows that Woodward would have been honest and put Trump's rebuttal in his book since he is known for putting in even banalities in the name of 'neutral journalism.' Her excuse is that 'She was simply following protocol.' but we all know that the best way to stonewall anything is to follow the rules to the letter. She sits down with Woodward for lunch for an hour (which also forces us to ask why she was having lunch with him) says she'll ask the President for an interview and then it mysteriously gets lost in the bureaucracy.

Add on to this that it's someone who likely has a highly placed contact at the New York Times since they would have wanted as few people as possible to know about them and we know that she's a pollster from New York who has tons of high ranking journalist contacts. I think the arrows point in that direction.

My money is on her.


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