Bartle’s Bull: Old Voice Guy Goes McCain


With more and more names added to the stunning list of prominent Republicans who have shunned John McCain and endorsed Barack Obama — the most notable, of course, being former Secretary of State Colin Powell — you knew there just had to be at least one Democrat out there crossing lines in the opposite direction.

And sure enough, news that a really major, big name from the left defecting at the last minute was announced this morning, and it’s quickly making waves on the Internet. I’m talking of course, about McCain landing that major figure in Democratic politics, the inimitable…

Bartle Bull.

Who? Well, the National Review, at least, figures this is news, calling Bull a “lifelong activist and former Village Voice publisher.”

Now do you see the earth-shaking ramifications? A former Voice publisher endorsing McCain! Dewey Defeats Truman, this thing ain’t over!

Yes, it’s true, Bull at one time did own part of this newspaper. Back about the time the Beatles were breaking up, Bull, through a company he co-owned with his business partner, Carter Burden, took over 80 percent of the Village Voice.

As the Voice pointed out in its 50th anniversary issue, looking back on the history of the paper, “In his memoirs, Jack Newfield called the sale ‘a fatal blunder’ that ‘set in motion years of instability’.”

Burden and Bull sold the paper just four years later to Clay Felker, the legendary magazine editor who died earlier this year and was lionized for founding New York. (Felker wasn’t, however, popular with Voice staff, who complained that he was making the paper too much like New York.)

After the sale in 1974, the anniversary issue notes, “Bull became a novelist; one of his works involves a sex scene with a dwarf.”

If that sounds a bit dismissive, at least now there’s a new footnote to Bull’s career, as he boldly stumps for McCain and calls Obama’s economic platform “pure Karl Marx.”

You go, Bartle.