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Thursday, November 03, 2005


I don't get it

As a relatively compulsive news consumer, I like to think that I am well-informed and at least smart enough to explain to another person what the key stories of the day are. Now, however, it seems like those days are over. The White House has finally made me admit that I don't understand what the hell is going on.

I finally got around to reading the profile of Brent Scowcroft in the New Yorker (it takes a little while for it to get all the way out here to San Diego, and we have a new baby, so those are my excuses). By the end of it I was completely baffled. There's a part where the writer points out how many connections Scowcroft has to the current White House: his best friend's son is the President, Wolfowitz was a protoge, Secretary Rice was a protoge, Cheney was a good friend, etc. I think I even missed a few. Despite all this, no one in the White House has been willing to listen to this guy AT ALL. It's just bizarre. Who would do that? I don't get it.

And another thing - how does saying that a guy might have been sent to Niger partly at the request of his wife amount to a smear? I understand why outing Valerie Plame is against the law, and I understand it as an attack, but I don't get how it undercuts Wilson's credibility. Are we supposed to think he's less manly because his wife may have influenced the decision to send him to Niger? Do real men go on trips against the wishes of their wives? Are we supposed to take from it that he must have a secret agenda because his wife is a secret agent? I am totally baffled. And yet it is reported over and over again that this was a "smear" against Wilson.

During the 2004 election season, one of the reasons I was excited to get rid of Bush was that we would finally get to find out what the hell had been going on for four years. And that was back when I actually believed there was going to be a coherent explanation! Now I am beginning to think this group is just bonkers.

Leaving aside the fact that Valerie Wilson did not send her husband to Niger, but only recommended him when the CIA made it known that Cheney's office wanted an investigation: I think the idea, as far as it goes, is that she sent him to Niger on a boondoggle--albeit an expenses-only boondoggle to one of the least developed nations on Earth. Also, given their party affiliation, that this was just a cheap partisan Democrat attack on the Bush White House. As we've seen with the Delay trial, the motivations of Democrats are always assumed by the GOP to be based on only the most unethical hackery.

As one of the posters at Daily KOS wrote yesterday about the media, the Republicans operate as if plain facts themselves were liberal. This is why their media is based on opinion--and why they characterize the CIA as a nest of disloyal Democrats--because the CIA, leaving aside serious moral questions about its behavior, generally operates on the principle that genuine facts are needed to make evaluations that will keep the US secure. It's kinda like the Wall Street Journal news sections--they *have* to be good because investors really do need accurate information, not just ideological puffery.
Okay, so you think that when they call the revelation of Plame's name/job a "smear" (they being commentators in the media) it's supposed to be understood by the reader/viewer that the smear implies that Wilson was given a plum assignment of some kind due to nepotism? It seems nonsensical on its face.

And why reject the advice of old friends? What is that all about?
1) I think "smear" is meant to convey that the revelation of Plame's supposed role fairly or unfairly, paints Wilson as a hack. More than a smear, though, it's petty revenge: fuck with us and we'll cut you off at the knees. The media is uncomfortable assigning such disgustingly small-minded motives to Bush's team. "Smear" isn't a nice term, but it doesn't cast quite as pathetic a light as what actually happened.

2) Whose old friend? I think it's pretty clear at this point that W would sooner take advice from Bill Clinton than his old man or his old man's crew. Starting with Cheney and Rove, he's consistently allied himself with people from his dad's administration who got fired for ethical lapses or who always thought 41 was a pussy. His entire administration, from staff to policy, is a big fuck you to daddy.
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