Mr. Alan Murray
The Wall Street Journal
Washington, DC 20036
For more than a decade now, the Journal has made it a practice of telling the business and financial community at periodic intervals that: 1) I have no influence with various people of importance, or 2) that nobody in whatever administration is current takes my phone calls, or 3) that I am a "self-promoter," i.e., I am too cheap to hire a publicist, or 4) some powerful person has a great dislike for me. No other newspaper or periodical engages in this practice as does the Journal, my alma mater. The reports emanate exclusively from the Washington Bureau. As my client base at Polyconomics is drawn from the business and financial community that reads the Journal, I'm concerned that there may be some intent to damage me financially. I hope I'm wrong on that inference. Still, I must admit that when the bureau takes two such shots at me on consecutive days, as it did Thursday in Al Hunt's column and Friday in the Washington Wire, the overkill gives me the feeling of malicious intent.
In his column on "Jack Kemp, the Happy Warrior," Al noted that "Some in the Dole campaign — including Mr. Dole himself — have told Mr. Kemp that Mr. Wanniski is persona non grata, but the longtime Kemp advisor is out here hanging around the Hyatt Regency Hotel." I have never complained about Al's cheap shots, stretching back almost 20 years, and even asked him on the convention floor Thursday night to autograph the column for me as a souvenir; he answered with a snarl that I was "out" of the Dole campaign for good.
Although I have never been "in" the Dole campaign, nor do I wish to be, the "Washington Wire" Friday morning piles on with an item: "OFF THE TEAM: Dole forces agree to Kemp's request to make longtime consultant John Sears part of his team. But another adviser Kemp wanted, Jude Wanniski, is banned from campaign trips because Dole dislikes him."
I'm not suggesting you cannot find Dole people who will tell your reporters such things. But by this time, Alan, your bureau should be well aware that I don't do campaign trips and never have, nor would anyone imagine me being a loyal foot soldier on any campaign team. I have zero expertise in that realm. Although we have been the closest of political friends for 20 years, Kemp never asked me to campaign with him, in any of his races. He's asked me for help, but you know yourself that I have always advertised my willingness to help all elected officials of the White House or Congress, regardless of party.
It is my independence of partisan politics that permits me to analyze and comment upon the influence of political decisions on financial markets, which is how I earn my living. I have not endorsed any ticket and will not, although I will make up my mind on how to vote by November 4 so I can explain my reasoning to my clients. Bob Dole, who I have known for 25 years, appreciates my strict adherence to this practice. While he has from time to time been irritated or irked by my commentary, I have never for a moment felt he disliked me. Certainly the hospitality I was shown by his closest advisers in San Diego did not suggest I was persona non grata. Bob Dole does not dislike people, the way Albert Hunt does, or he could never have been so successful as a legislative leader. In all the years the Journal and other news media reported Dole's "dislike" of Jack Kemp, it obviously never occurred to any of you to ask the source himself, or you would not have been so stunned by his choice of Jack as his running mate. If you would ask Dole today, I'm sure he would tell you I would be welcome on the plane.
When you take your shots at me in the future, please try to ascertain in your own mind that you have no intent to damage me financially. If you simply wish to discredit me so that I am not in a position to assist the Dole campaign, out of a desire on your part to assist in President Clinton's re-election, that is fair enough for me. If there is a third motive on why the bureau persists in this practice, I can't think of what it might be.
Sincerely, as ever,
cc: Peter Kahn, Robert L. Bartley