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photo by Chuck Kennedy James Baker and Lee Hamilton 4′ -afirii .01,14:40,1.; ’04 he ultimate crony is back on center stage. James 11.I A. Baker III, the single most powerful and most recognized non-elected politico in the U.S., has emerged again to play power politics. And once again, Baker is using his influence to hoodwink the American people. This time, he’s doing it on multiple fronts. The first hoodwink comes from Baker’s new book: Work Hard, Study… and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons From An Unexpected Public Life, released in October. The second is found in The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward-A New Approach, the much-ballyhooed document published on December 6. The release of the two booksand reporthas led to Baker’s nearly constant presence on TV news, political talk shows and in the newspapers. And while Baker is, once again, receiving adulatory coverage from much of the mainstream media, the books he has produced are notable as much for what they omit as what they include, and those omissions expose the fundamental dishonesty of both efforts. Before delving further into the sanitized version of history Baker presents in his book, and the ISG recommendations, it’s essential to give the man his due. James Addison Baker III is the Clark Clifford of the modern erathe presidential adviser who never strays far from the corridors of power. Clifford, the ultimate Washington insider, advised presidents from Harry Truman to John Kennedy. Under Kennedy, he served as the head of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the group with access to all of America’s most-secret intelligence. In 1968, Lyndon Johnson appointed Clifford as his defense secretary. Clifford was on the job in the Pentagon during North Vietnam’s Tet offensive of early ’68, a move that caught U.S. forces off guard and brought the fighting to the streets of Saigon. \(In July 1969, after Richard Nixon took office, Clifford wrote that the war in Vietnam was lost and that “Nothing we might do could be so beneficial… as to begin to withdraw our combat troops… we cannot realistically expect to achieve anything more through our military personal fortune as one of Washington’s most prominent lawyer-lobbyists. It’s exactly the same business model that Baker has followed. Baker’s career at the forefront of presidential politics began in 1976, when he ran Gerald Ford’s unsuccessful campaign to stay in the White House. Four years later, he managed George H.W. Bush’s primary campaignan effort that led to Bush’s selection as Ronald Reagan’s running mate. Despite being perceived as a foe by some members of the Reagan camp, Baker became a key player in Reagan’s 1980 campaign. After Reagan JANUARY 12, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 9