Thursday, October 27, 2005

P.J. Was Right.

I've been thinking of this quote from PJ O'Rourke a lot lately:

"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it."

Poor Harriet

I guess they figured Harriet Miers would be greeted by Senators throwing flowers and chocolates.

Wrong again, Dubbya.

Here's the thing: the supposed reason behind the withdrawal is that the Senate would be demanding documents from Miers' stint as White House counsel. These were documents that she fet she just couldn't turn over. Executive privilige, attorney-client privilege, and all that.

Well, okay...but couldn't the Bushistas have seen this coming? Other than the mash notes she's written to Dubbya, she's got damn little paper trail as to what she beleives or how she views the law, other than what she did as WH counsel.

The usual poor planning? Or arrogance? Did the Bushistas just assume that, since so many Republicans and quite a few Democrats have been kowtowing to the President's choices , that no one would then dare to question putting Bush's pet on the SCOTUS?

You make the call.

Monday, October 24, 2005


"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was given considerable information about his stake in his family's hospital company, according to records that are at odds with his past statements that he did not know what was in his stock holdings.

Managers of the trusts that Frist once described as 'totally blind,' regularly informed him when they added new shares of HCA Inc. or other assets to his holdings, according to the documents."

Guess it depends on what your definition of "blind" is.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

This Just In!

Perjury has been downgraded from a crime to a technicality, according to Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas.

The Memento Republicans

Latest Newpaper Column:
I once saw this movie called Memento. It was a murder mystery with a bizarre twist: The detective who was trying to solve his wife’s killing had suffered a traumatic head injury that left him “unable to create new memories.”

With each new day, he had completely forgotten everything he’d done or said the day before. I think of that movie a lot these days, every time I watch the Bushistas in spin mode. I’ve even started calling them the Memento Republicans.

They’ve had their work cut out for them these days. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay had to step down from his leadership position after being indicted for conspiracy and money laundering. Wednesday, the D.A. issued an actual warrant for his arrest.

Senate Majority leader Bill Frist is under investigation for insider trading. And, as of this writing, all of Washington is waiting for the other shoe to drop, with that shoe being the possibility that federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald’s grand jury will be issuing indictments in the scandal that’s been dubbed “Plamegate.”

For those who came in late, “Plamegate” is named for Valerie Plame, a CIA agent who happened to be married to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson published an article that disputed the White House’s claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium from Niger for use in nuke-yoo-lar weapons, as Dubbya likes to say. Since the threat of said nuke-yoo-lar weapons was a major rationale for Dubbya’s Wacky Iraqi Adventure, the Bushistas were a little peeved about this.

Lo and behold, not long after Wilson’s article, alleged journalist and notorious Bush administration mouthpiece Robert Novak published a column in which he let drop the juicy little morsel that Wilson’s wife was a CIA agent who dealt with WMD issues.

Problem was, Plame had been working covertly on those issues, under the cover of a CIA front group called Brewster Jennings and Associates. The CIA got their trenchcoats all in a wad over Novak’s revelation and sent what’s called a “criminal referral” to the U.S. attorney’s office, claiming that the “outing” of Plame (and, one supposes, the blown cover of Brewster Jennings) violated a federal law that says revealing the names of our spies in time of war is a Bad Thing.

The allegation was that the White House had retaliated for Wilson’s article by trashing his wife’s undercover status, and thus, her career.

Fitzgerald’s investigation eventually led to the jailing of two journalists, who eventually gave up their sources for the Plame information — sources from inside the White House. There’s talk at this point that Presidential Adviser Karl “Bush’s Brain” Rove and vice-presidential Chief of Staff Lewis “Scooter” Libby may be facing indictments, either for the revelation of Plame’s identity or for lying to the grand jury about it. The normally staid U.S. News and World Report has even reported on rumors that the scandal may lead to the resignation of Cheney himself.

If you’re a big fan of irony (and I am), the twistings and turnings of Bush’s fan club as they try to spin these stories provide a veritable mother lode — an irony mine, if you will.

Take, for example, this quote from Jacob Weisberg, co-editor of the online journal “[I]n the hands of a relentless and ambitious prosecutor like Fitzgerald, the absence of evidence that you’ve broken a law just becomes an invitation to develop a case based on other possible crimes, especially those committed in the course of defending yourself, like obstruction of justice and making false statements. Call witnesses back enough times and you can usually come up with something.”

Two words, Jacob: Kenneth Starr. Remember how, with Clinton, it was all “about the perjury”? Remember when allegedly lying to a grand jury was an impeachable offense?

Then there’s the extended whine from Bill Kristol of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard. In response to the indictments of DeLay, the investigation of Frist for insider trading, and the Plamegate investigation, Kristol wrote: “It’s a reasonable bet that the fall of 2005 will be remembered as a time when it became clear that a comprehensive strategy of criminalization had been implemented to inflict defeat on conservatives who seek to govern as conservatives.”

So now you’re complaining about a “vast left-wing conspiracy”? Well, cry me a freakin’ river, Bill. Have you forgotten the days when Bill Clinton couldn’t pull his socks up without some Republican demanding congressional hearings?

Plus, it’s going to be a little bit difficult to spin Fitzgerald as a raving liberal out to bring down Republicans. After Republican candidate Jack Ryan self-destructed in the 2004 Illinois Senate campaign, the state party was desperately scrambling to find someone to make a suicide run against immensely popular and charismatic Democrat Barack Obama. One of the names they floated was: Patrick Fitzgerald.

The Right seems to have conveniently forgotten this, the same way they’ve forgotten that the “liberal” Texas D.A. who’s indicted DeLay has indicted more Democrats than Republicans.

Is the Memento Republicans’ memory loss the result of hypocrisy or of mass head trauma? You make the call.