Robert Novak

 After my brief conversation with Flug, Kennedy's press office said the aide was too busy to talk to me. Over five days of repeated questions about his role in the Pryor confirmation fight, I received no answer. As to why he returned to Kennedy's staff, the senator's press aide referred me to a flattering profile of Flug in the Aug. 19, 2003, edition of The Hill newspaper. "It was an extraordinary opportunity to maybe repeat history," Flug was quoted as saying.

 The Hill interview did not indicate Flug's repetition of history when he returned earlier to help Kennedy battle a stiff 1994 re-election challenge by current Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Flug hired private investigator Terry Lenzner to research Romney, an arrangement that was kept off official campaign reports.

 That record is why Flug is mentioned prominently in the memo sent out this week by Leonard Leo (Federalist Society), Jay Sekulow (American Center for Law and Justice) and Edwin Meese (Heritage Foundation). It cites the bitter Clarence Thomas confirmation when Democrats said they had no chance to win before beginning the real assault, warning the same can happen with Roberts.

 Kennedy began stepping up his assault on Roberts in an Aug. 19 Washington Post op-ed, questioning whether Roberts "will adopt a cramped and contorted view of our Constitution that will turn back the clock." That sounds like a toned down version of Kennedy's description of "Robert Bork's America" as a country of "back-alley abortions" and "segregated lunch counters." Based on the past, has Jim Flug returned to provide ammunition for the senator's attack machine?

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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