Conservative publicist and author Craig Shirley has a new book coming out on the 1980 Reagan campaign, Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America (“rendezvous with destiny” was one of the many FDR tropes four-time Roosevelt voter Reagan gleefully purloined), and in an article in today’s Politico he reveals who leaked the Carter campaign debate briefing books to the Reagan campaign. The name will ring bells for political mavens of a certain age: Paul Corbin. As Shirley describes, Corbin was an aide to Robert Kennedy, an avid follower of and fixer for the Kennedys, who also was on friendly terms with certain conservatives, notably David Keene of the American Conservative Union and longtime Reader’s Digest Washington editor Bill Schulz, who are among Shirley’s sources. I believe (memory may be playing tricks on me) that I met Paul Corbin once or twice, and I recall him passing on, with his hand metaphorically or actually cupped around his mouth, some scurrilous political rumor. In any case, there are those of us who, when we hear that some weird political dirty trick has been played, immediately think, “Corbin.” You’ll understand why when you read Craig’s piece.
Craig Shirley has done extensive interviewing and research for Rendezvous with Destiny, and it’s a terrific read—for political junkies of all ideological stripes. Disclosure: Craig’s firm does publicity work for the Examiner. But I’ve known him and recommended his books long before I joined the Examiner.