Robert Novak spoke to a group of right-ish journalists this morning and the most interesting comment, to me, was his summing-up of a series of questions about the presidency. Everyone wanted to hear his opinions of the presidents he'd covered, a line that started with Dwight Eisenhower (who "didn't understand taxes and tax cuts"). Both Bushes were "mediocre," Carter was "a liar," and John F. Kennedy was the only Democrat Novak would vote for again. "He cut taxes. Nixon never would. And Nixon was a bad man."
But Novak didn't want to suggest he cared all that much about presidents. On one level he just refuses to deify them; like he writes in his autobio The Prince of Darkness, "It's hard for me to fall in love with a presidential candidate because I see them all up close." On a deeper level, he just doesn't like the cult of the presidency. Here's an MP3 of Novak's thoughts on the subject.
(I asked a question about whether blogs make it easier for politicians to bypass the media and push lies and spin to gullible partisans, but it wasn't a very interesting exchange. I mentioned the Yearly Kos convention and a 2006 race that Republicans convinced conservative bloggers would be close, when it wasn't, but Novak focused on the lies bloggers have told about him, like his fictional membership in Opus Dei.)