John Harris has a great piece in Politico about the daily ritual of phone calls between Rahm Emanuel, James Carville, Paul Begala, and George Stephanopoulos, dating back to their days as young Clintonites. This passage gives you the gist:
Carville calls White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.
Emanuel calls ABC News Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos.
A bit later, CNN commentator Paul Begala, who is not quite the early bird that his friends are, will complete the circle with a rapid set of calls to all three.
Different versions of this round-robin chatter have been taking place, with few interruptions, every workday for nearly a generation.
“I refer to it as the 17-year-long conference call,” said Emanuel, who starts calling his friends at 6 a.m. “You can tap into it anytime you want.”
Everyone likes to deride the “conventional wisdom.” In fairness, though, the wisdom is not yet conventional at the moment it is hatched.
And in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation — at least on the Democratic side — is being hatched on these calls.
This would normally be the place I'd link to Frank Foer's stirring defense of conventional wisdom in TNR eight years ago. But, alas, our archive situation makes that impossible. I'll see if the web people can exhume it for us.
Update: I just saw Chris's post recommending another piece of Frank's. Let me assure you that, while Chris and I are both prolific brown-nosers, and while Frank does demand a Kim Jong-il-esque level of official adulation, we would have deemed these pieces worthy even if he didn't sit in the corner office. Honestly.
Second update: Here's the piece.