Can Bush get much lower?
As more details are brought to the fore about the seamy underbelly of the Bush administration, the perpetually trusting souls among the American electorate are having trouble keeping those scales firmly in place on their eyes.
The president has sunk so far down in the polls it’s hard to imagine he could get any lower without being adept at limbo dancing. And it’s no wonder: Even staunch loyalists are at pains to name one positive thing Bush has accomplished during his five years in office, except perhaps the seating of two new justices (presumed to be conservative by ardent Bush supporters, who could be sorely disappointed if they merely turn out to be fair).
The usual response from Bush fans, when asked such impertinent questions about their fearless leader, is to fire another accusatory salvo at his predecessor, whose peccadilloes are not only irrelevant to the situation at hand, but pale by comparison.
Bush’s “political missteps,” on the other hand, would fill several pages, even with small type. The senior citizens are having trouble with his Medicare program, and his fence-straddling on the immigration issue is ripping his own party apart. The cronies he empowered within FEMA dropped the ball in spectacular fashion when Hurricane Katrina roared through, and the fallout on that fiasco continues. The violence goes on unabated in Iraq, and Afghanistan is lurching toward a theocracy that Western states will ultimately find as unpalatable as Iran’s government. The national deficit has ballooned to incomprehensible levels, and the wages of the average Joe are stagnant. Philosophically, Americans are polarized, and not only do our fellow countrymen from the opposing party dislike us, but the rest of the world does, too.
And now, Bush himself has been identified as the ultimate source of the information leak that led to publication of supposed pre-war intelligence and the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. With all due respect to Gomer Pyle, and with as much sarcasm as can possibly be mustered: “Well, surprise, surprise, surprise!”
It seems that Scooter Libby – who went from bureaucrat to porn novelist to Dick Cheney’s top aide – is now squealing like a stuck pig from the muddy sty to which he’s been consigned. Intent on saving his own skin after being fingered in the information leak case, Libby (who probably has another book deal in the works) has turned on his former superiors and is giving them the biblical “pearl treatment.”
Libby told a grand jury he discussed pre-war intelligence with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who dutifully printed the material. Now it’s been revealed that he had permission to flap his gums, by none other than Bush himself, through Cheney.
One can almost feel sorry for Scott McClellan, Bush’s hapless press secretary who got his post not through the grace of God or abundance of talent, but because his parents are old Texas barbecue buddies of Bush. But members of the White House press corps must have been thunderstruck when they heard the official spin on the story: The administration had “declassified” this information about the same time as Libby leaked it, and all for the good of the American people! Furthermore, McClellan asserted, the commander-in-chief has a right to leak information if he gets a hankering to do so.
Someone in this equation is destined to turn out stupid: The administration, for expecting the public to swallow this fish tale, or the public, for doing just that.
If the leaked information was declassified by the administration so Libby and others could hand it over to the media, then why didn’t they just say so to begin with? Why did they lie and say they knew nothing about it? Or, is McClellan the liar in this case?
To buy any of this, the public will have to suffer not just from pathological stupidity, but also from terminal amnesia. We’ll have to forget that Ms. Plame’s name only became public after her husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, disclosed that he could find no evidence of weapons of destruction in Iraq. We’ll also have to forget that several subsequent investigations have vindicated Wilson – which means the “declassified information” was completely erroneous, or a complete fabrication.
Regardless of what the Bush people call it, the “intelligence” was propelled forward on zeal for vendetta and a war of predestination to topple Saddam Hussein. Someday the truth will out, as well it should. It’s gotten an awful lot of people killed.
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Tuesday, April 11, 2006
From the Tahlequah Daily Press:
Posted by Humbug at 9:38 AM