October 08, 2003

Banging the Drum for Bush

John Cole thinks Kevin Drum is being awfully unfair to George W. Bush:

If outrage was oil, the Calpundit would be OPEC. Not to pick on Kevin twice in one day, but his post just goes to show what a no win situation the President is in with when it comes to hyper-partisan Democrats. Apparently, Kevin has a real problem with this statement from Bush:
"I don't know if we're going to find out the senior administration official," Bush said. "I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth."

But, Bush said, "This is a large administration and there's a lot of senior officials."

Sayeth Kevin:

Noted without comment. It just takes your breath away, doesn't it?

Yes, it just leaves me breathless. Well, not at all. I guess this is the second Act in the Valerie Plame Opera- the immensely popular first Act was titled "Bush Doesn't Care." I guess we can name the second Act "I'm so Stunned I'm Speechless, with the popular arais called "Breathtaking" and "Unbelievable."

Okay, let's try to sort all this out with a thought experiment. In our scenario, it's September of 2001, and this is what we're hearing from our president:

"I don't know if we're going to find out who killed all those Americans in New York and Washington," Bush said. "I don't have any idea. I'd like to. I want to know the truth."

But, Bush said, "International terrorism is a large thing, and there's a lot of terrorists."

Pretty ridiculous, huh? You can't even imagine it. The Man from Crawford just doesn't talk like that when evil is loose in the land, when serious crimes involving our national security have been committed. So isn't it reasonable, important even, to ask why he's suddenly talking that way now?

I think it is. And so does everyone else who believes that defending the White House against its critics is at least a little less important than defending America against the terrorists and rogue states that Valerie Plame was fighting on our behalf.

Posted by Jack O'Toole on October 8, 2003 05:31 AM

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The real story
Excerpt: Daniel Drezner is getting angrier about the Plame case. This is the Bush quote that got him worked up: I mean this town is a — is a town full of people who like to leak information. And I don’t...
Weblog: Crooked Timber
Tracked: October 8, 2003 11:44 AM
Bush's Rhetoric
Excerpt: BUSH'S RHETORIC....Just in case this post from yesterday "noted without comment" needed a note after all, Jack O'Toole provides it. Thanks, Jack....
Weblog: CalPundit
Tracked: October 8, 2003 02:08 PM
Bush's Rhetoric
Excerpt: BUSH'S RHETORIC....Just in case this post from yesterday "noted without comment" needed a note after all, Jack O'Toole provides it. Thanks, Jack....
Weblog: CalPundit
Tracked: October 8, 2003 02:09 PM
Who Sits in on the Interviews?
Excerpt: My outrage [*] about the White House plan to have its own counsel "vet" the staff's submissions of documents relating to the Valerie Plame affair does not seem to have been widely shared outside the circle of bloggers who have...
Weblog: Mark A. R. Kleiman
Tracked: October 9, 2003 01:52 AM
Who Sits in on the Interviews?
Excerpt: My outrage [*] about the White House plan to have its own counsel "vet" the staff's submissions of documents relating to the Valerie Plame affair does not seem to have been widely shared outside the circle of bloggers who have...
Weblog: Mark A. R. Kleiman
Tracked: October 9, 2003 04:52 AM
Bush's Rhetoric
Excerpt: BUSH'S RHETORIC....Just in case this post from yesterday "noted without comment" needed a note after all, Jack O'Toole provides it. Thanks, Jack....
Weblog: Calpundit
Tracked: October 9, 2003 08:42 PM
Comments

John Cole's a hack. How big of a hack?

This big: Cole expended a lot of energy defending his fellow ideologicalically-inclined bloggers when they voted Bill Clinton as a 'worst American' over the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, Aldrich Ames, and Timothy McVeigh.

Cole's attacks on Kevin Drum are unconscionable; Drum has consistently been quite fair in his appraisals of Bush and his crew.

Posted by: JadeGold on October 8, 2003 04:30 PM

People like Cole are apparently as brain-dead as the Shrub himself-----if you watched Bush's comment, it was OBVIOUS the lack of passion and concern he has. He is MUCH more animated and passionate when railing against upper bracket taxes........is that not obvious????????????

Posted by: Marty on October 8, 2003 05:19 PM

This ridiculous statement by Bush, does not take away my breath. Instead, I get the image of Bush stalking the halls of the White House, magnifying glass in hand looking for the leaker. Or better yet, the Prez calling OJ Simpson to help him find the leakers because the Juice had such great luck finding his wife's killer.

Posted by: MM Grouch on October 8, 2003 05:19 PM

A better word than 'fighting' would have been 'spying'.

Let's not get carried away. We'll likely never know for certain if Plame is a Great American Hero.

Posted by: theperegrine on October 8, 2003 06:20 PM

Hey Jack,
If you're trying to say the Plame affair is analogous to 9/11, you're going to have to show me about 3000 dead Americans. Assuming you can't do that, try a brown paper bag and some deep, slow, breaths.

Posted by: Cecil Turner on October 8, 2003 06:24 PM

Anyone else think that Cecil might be missing the point?

Posted by: Jimmy Doyle on October 8, 2003 06:27 PM

By all means, Jimmy, explain it to me.

Posted by: Cecil Turner on October 8, 2003 06:35 PM

Cecil: "If you're trying to say the Plame affair is analogous to 9/11, you're going to have to show me about 3000 dead Americans."

Hey, the leakers compromised a serious anti-WMD operative. If this sort of thing keeps happening, the terrorists have a better chance of getting nukes.

And terrorists with nukes can kill a lot more than 3,000 people.

Posted by: EK on October 8, 2003 06:58 PM

If you're trying to say the Plame affair is analogous to 9/11, you're going to have to show me about 3000 dead Americans.

Is that the standard, Cecil? 3000 dead Americans?

Above that number we care about it; below it, we smirk about it?

And what of the what ifs? What if Ms. Plame--or one in her now-compromised network--might have turned up leads to the next 9/11?
Or what if would-be sources now refuse to aid our clandestine services because they see they could be burned by one of Rove's elves?

Posted by: JadeGold on October 8, 2003 07:02 PM

The point is, I believe, that if President Bush really felt that it was an immoral, reprehensible act to reveal an undercover operative's identity, then he would not walk around saying that he didn't think he would find out the truth in the matter. Essentially what Bush is saying is that this situation does not merit a real investigation. If Bush conveys the idea that a political outing of an undercover operative's identity is not really a big deal, then undercover operatives are not going to be as confident in their undercover identities. Won't this lead to our operatives being less effective, essentially increasing the probability of more terrorist attacks? Yes.

Posted by: Austin on October 8, 2003 07:06 PM

EK,
According to the WaPo, she's been a "weapons proliferation analyst" for the "past several years." It's hard to see how the loss of her cover is going to materially increase the likelihood of terrorists getting WMDs.

JadeGold,
Jack built the standard, sneer at him. The current casualty number in the Plame affair is zero. Pretending it's the same as an event that killed ~3000 is demagoguery. And not to put too fine a point on it, her section didn't find the last 9/11--nor has the intel surrounding WMDs been remarkable for its accuracy.

Posted by: Cecil Turner on October 8, 2003 07:47 PM

The really dumb thing about all of this is that they could have turned it to their advantage, dealt with it, and moved on already.

The smart Bush should have outed the official who made the leak, had them do some really carefully written mea culpa speech that wasn't really a mea culpa, sent them off to some cushy corporate consulting job.

Then he should have called Plame in and pin a medal on her for her devoted service to the country, given her an apology, and then give some carefully written speech about how he was "dedicated to changing the tone in Washington"

What they don't get is that the best time to "change the tone" is when you're getting the brunt of it.

Then for the next year each time some Dem goes off on him, he just shakes his head sadly and talks about "changing the tone"

All the while his attack dogs in Congress and the media keep going full throttle.


But of course we don't have the smart Bush running the White House.

Posted by: Kent Lind on October 8, 2003 07:50 PM

Cecil: 'The current casualty number in the Plame affair is zero.'

You don't know that; what's more you cannot predict the future. Suppose only one is killed, Cecil. Is that too many? Or should we just write it off as the price we pay for political revenge?

Posted by: JadeGold on October 8, 2003 07:54 PM

JadeGold
If one person is killed, it'll still be 3 orders of magnitude from 9/11. They're not the same.

Posted by: Cecil Turner on October 8, 2003 08:03 PM

So, if it's not the same as 9/11, that means it's ok, right?

Posted by: taktile on October 8, 2003 08:12 PM

Let's step back from the 9/11 analogy.

The number of people who are "senior administration officials" is actually pretty small. And once you eliminate the Secretaries of Agriculture and Transportation and whatnot, the number is REALLY small.

Posted by: Raleigh on October 8, 2003 08:56 PM

The key word being 'analogy'. Cecil appears to be pretending not to know what that word means.

'Like 9/11' he proclaims, 'but, if that were true, wouldn't Arabs have to be involved?'

wotta troll.

Posted by: Carleton Wu on October 9, 2003 01:36 AM

Whatever you say, Mr Wu. But Mr O'Toole points out the President's reaction to Plame's outing would not be acceptable as a reaction to 9/11. The logical question is whether or not they're analogous. (You know, "similar or alike in such a way as to permit the drawing of an analogy.") It appears to me they're not.

Posted by: Cecil Turner on October 9, 2003 05:06 AM

Thanks, Cecil, for the illustration of how the right can take a dialogue and obfuscate with semantics the original intent of the post. But you forgot to point out misspellings and inject some Clinton bashing. Almost got your Republican rhetoric badge, big guy!

Posted by: Laura on October 9, 2003 08:42 AM

Laura, the faulty analogy is "the original intent of the post." And "obfuscate with semantics" is self-parody.

Posted by: Cecil Turner on October 9, 2003 10:51 AM

I'd love to know what shrub's dad has to say about all this. (Besides giving awards to Ted Kennedy, who called shrub's folly a fraud.)

Posted by: Dave on October 9, 2003 11:21 PM