Robert Novak, Corvette Owner And Political Commentator, Dead At 78

Illustration for article titled Robert Novak, Corvette Owner And Political Commentator, Dead At 78

Robert Novak, who achieved notoriety in the 1960s as a political columnist and in 2008 as the driver of a Corvette involved in a hit-and-run accident, died of a brain tumor today at his Washington home.

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Novak originally achieved notoriety as half of the political writing team, with the great Rowland Evans, of the syndicated column "Inside Report," which debuted the same year as the split-window Corvette coupe and would eventually become the longest-running syndicated column in U. S. history. In 1985, Novak joined CNN's political debate show "Crossfire," which was also the name of a fuel-injection system that debuted on the Corvette just three years earlier, although Chevrolet did use the hyphenated form of the title, "Cross-Fire." In 2003, as the Corvette celebrated its 50th anniversary with special badging, Novak became embroiled in scandal for his public identification of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. He purchased his Corvette, a black convertible, shortly thereafter

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Novak's accident was little more than a year ago; he struck the pedestrian, 86-year-old homeless man Don Clifford Liljenquist, in an incident that many chose to interpret as an uncannily apt metaphor for the modern neo-conservative movement, if not for Corvette ownership. Novak was stopped by a man on a bicycle — the make and model of which is unimportant — was detained, and was later fined $50.

The announcement of his tumor came just days later, and there is some speculation that it may have been a legitimate factor in the accident, as failure to notice dramatic but sudden occurrences may be a sign of damage to the central nervous system.

Whatever one's beliefs, political discourse will be less interesting without Novak, who undoubtedly had a sense of theater and seemed to love playing the cartoon villain at every opportunity. He was also rumored to habitually flip other drivers the bird from the window of his ‘Vette while navigating heavy traffic, a sentiment of which drivers of every type of car and political stripe can certainly approve. [Gawker]

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Brian, The Life of

Normally, I am loath to speak ill of the dead. That said, Douchebaggery died a little bit today with Mr. Novak. There is no question that he was a smart, smart man with great journalistic skills but during the last half of his CNN tenure he slid ever so ungently into the ugly, unconstructive hyper-polarization of American Political Punditry. He did his legacy a great disservice late in his career.

When Reagan was President, he and Tip O'Neil were famous friends. The President and Speaker of the House had lunch together weekly and genuinely admired and respected one-another, irrespective of their obvious political differences. That's how it was back then and in times preceding. Today we are left with closed-minded douchebag extremists on both sides who are too intellectually lazy to work together to solve our common problems because it's just so much easier to turn Obama into a communist "who wasn't even born here" and Cheney into a goose-stepping Nazi who'd expect an apology after shooting you in the face with a shotgun.

We are turning into a nation of myopic troglodytes and giving divisive asshats like Rush Limbaugh the time of day is not going to do anything to change this country for the better. This "us vs. them" mentality can only serve to destroy this grand political experiment that so many have given up so much to achieve. Life and politics is not simple. I implore you to ignore anyone who would try to package our problems in a sound bite-sized red, white and blue ribbon becasue they do not have our best interests at heart, to say the least.