Monday, September 29, 2003

The Worst American President In The History Of The Republic 

Consider this post a safe, convenient way to get your daily minimum requirement of howling rage at the way this illegitimate, unAmerican administration demeans all of us, and gets away with it.

As reader Beth wittily notes in comments below, the attitude of the President and those who speak for him, the increasingly robotized Condi Rice and the increasingly flumoxed Scott McClellan, seems to be "We'll certainly cooperate with any investigation just as soon as we have no other choice."

How right she was. After months of ignoring the possibility that someone in the administration had leaked the name of a CIA operative as part of an attempt to discredit a public servant who sought only to tell what he knew about administration claims, only today, after the bombshell WaPo weekend story that the CIA had determined a crime might have been committed and had asked the Justice Dept to investigate, has the White House finally roused itself sufficiently to issue a denial that Karl Rove had any involvement in outing Mrs. Wilson.

"He wasn't involved," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said of Rove. "The president knows he wasn't involved. ... It's simply not true."

Let's skip over how the president can be so sure it wasn't Rove unless the president knows who it was who outed Valerie Plame. Instead, let's notice the air of bemused detachment being projected by administration spokesmen, as if none of this unpleasantness re: Ambassador Wilson and his wife has anything to do with this president and this administration. Except we know, as a matter of actual fact, that at least one and probabely two administration officials tried to peddle the story of Valerie Plame's position as a CIA agent to six journalists, we even know who two of them were, Robert Novak, who went with the story, and Andrea Mitchell, who didn't, so how is it possible that between the mid-July date of Novak's story and now, three months later, there has been no internal investigation as to what happened? Where is the president's anger that his administration has been compromised by behavior he claims to believe is unacceptable?

How could any member of his adminisration get that message from the president's total disinterest in getting what actually happened? The message of the president's own behavior has clearly been, hell yes, such behavior will be tolerated, and good job whoever you are, that's the way to deal with any citizen, even if his wife is a CIA operative, who gets in the way of what this president wants to do.

Oh, and BTW, here's how concerned is the administration to discover what happened:

McClellan urged anyone with information about the alleged leak to contact with Justice Department. "The president expects everyone in his administration to adhere to the highest standards of conduct," McClellan said. "No one would be authorized to do such a thing."

And faced now with the certainty that someone has done such a thing, what is the White House prepared to do? Absolute nothing, except to wait and see what General Ashcroft decides to do.

White House officials said they would turn over phone logs if the Justice Department asked them to. But the aides said Bush has no plans to ask his staff members whether they played a role in revealing the name of an undercover officer who is married to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, one of the most visible critics of Bush's handling of intelligence about Iraq.

Of course not. The president has known since July that the standard he claims for his staff had been betrayed by someone and he did nothing. And no one in the press made a fuss, as Tresy notes so trenchently below. It was only when two informants within the administration confirmed the CIA referral of the matter to Justice for a crminal investigation to the WaPo that there was any concern about any of this registered in the SCLM. And please notice that the referral has been sitting at Justice for several months, without any action having been taken.

Meanwhile, Bob Novak is refusing to give the names of his sources and insisting that there was no crime here:

What's the fuss about?" asked Novak, a Chicago Sun-Times columnist who is also a conservative commentator on CNN.

"There is no great crime involved here... The fuss is made on this because it involves (Republican President George W.) Bush," he said on CNN. "I do not reveal confidential sources."

And how's this for splitting hairs:

"Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this," Novak said, saying the information was disclosed to him while he was interviewing a senior Bush administration official.

Just watched Hardball. Plamegate was the lead story. Naturally neither Jed Babbin, R. or Matthews, or Howard Fineman or Norah O'Donnel were in sufficient command of the basic facts of the case to ask any of the trenchent questions, like those posed by Tresy below. Especially interesting was Matthews reaction to the notion of a Special Prosecutor; seems Chris thinks that would be a bad idea because such people have an investment in finding something.

Babbin kept bringing up the spectre of poor Lawrence Welsh, who was exactly the kind of old-fashioned Republican, more loyal to country than party, these guys just don't get.

Well, there's always Robert Fisk; he showed himself to be efficient, fast-moving, and committed to no particular outcome other than that dictated by the evidence at hand. Whoops, entirely wrong qualifications.

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