Reached by phone late Thursday and asked about the e-mails, Weigel responded, “my reporting, I think, stands for itself.”
“I’ve always been of the belief that you could have opinions and could report anyway …. people aren’t usually asked to stand or fall on everything they’ve said in private.”
In the e-mails, Weigel appeared particularly invested in the President’s health care law, expressing undisguised scorn for moderate Democrats who seemed fearful about voting for it.
Rep. Daniel Lipinski, a pro-life Democrat from Illinois who expressed reservations about the abortion provisions in the legislation was, according to Weigel, a “monster” because he represents “a deeply safe seat” and could afford to vote for it.
Before he left Congress in a cloud, then-Rep. Eric Massa rocked Washington by claiming that backroom deals were polluting the health care bill. Weigel seemed to have little patience for Massa’s inconvenient allegations. “Well, so much for the health care push leading the news cycle,” Weigel wrote. “Does anyone else think this guy’s turning out to be a political suicide bomber?”
After Scott Brown won the Massachusetts Senate seat, threatening to kill the health care legislation by his presence, Weigel stressed how important it was for reporters to highlight what a terrible candidate his opponent Martha Coakley had been.
“I think pointing out Coakley’s awfulness is vital, because it’s 1) true and 2) unreasonable panic about it is doing more damage to the Democrats,” Weigel wrote.
But despite the perils of the modern media cycle, the health care bill survived, and for once, all was right in Weigel’s world.
“Tangentially related: Betsy McCaughey showed up at Grover Norquist’s conservative meeting today, massive spiral-bound health care bill in hand, and shook with rage as she promised that the ‘war’ was not over.”
“I’m still smiling.”
Ed. note: A previous version of this story incorrectly reported a Weigel e-mail about “moronic” views of the American public as having been written in April. It was written March 12.