carefully debunks Paul Begala's hate dump on Condoleezza Rice on Friday's Crossfire
. What's the point? This country is so polarized right now, that I doubt facts and logic will make any difference. Anybody who saw or heard this spit-up sees instantly that he leaps from citing two possible contradictions of Rice statements to calling her a liar who commands no respect whatsoever. Good circus. Bad debate. It's a great example of a lie going around the world before truth can get its boots on. As long a absurdities can be shouted at a rapid rate, this kind of silliness will be in play. If it was really effective, though, there wouldn't be a Republican Party.
If you look at blogs like Kos or Talking Points Memo, you find that the only real difference between them and the NYTimes or WaPo is that they are more openly partisan. They talk in terms of 'we' versus 'them' while the news media generally just report the news from the point of view that everybody already agrees with the assumptions of the left: freedom has had bad results such as unequal distributions of wealth, harm to the environment or the development of military hardware and science, and prevented good results like socialism, eliminating poverty, and a single world government manned by the same class as those who now report the news and the French and EU bureaucracies.
I don't really notice a lot of that 'we' among conservative bloggers. Maybe it's there and I'm just missing it, but it pops right up on many of the more liberal blogs, along with a lot of bitter denunciation of their ideological opponents without much basic logic for their conclusions.
The Richard Clarke thing is only the latest example. Today I saw a link to TPM to the effect that declassification is being used in order to 'slime' Clarke. I haven't seen anything from the Republicans that resembles sliming, which I associate with digging up unsavory and unfair details, particularly false or shaded ones, about a person's past. What Fox News Channel did by seeking permission to release the recordings of Clarke's old background briefing wasn't 'sliming.' It was what the press is expected to do. Fact check, dig up relevant records, and compare what a person is saying now with what he said previously. It's not sliming John Kerry to play his 1971 testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and point out his anti-war activities which limned all troops who served in Vietnam as depraved thugs and their leaders as worse. It's not sliming to discuss his voting record and point to his public statements, especially recent ones. It's really not sliming someone, when you stick with facts and your opponents aren't.
Richard Clarke, whom I had seen before as an expert guest on news programs, wasn't someone I was primed to doubt. But the first remarks I heard quoted from his book raised questions, and Condi Rice's statements made he wonder about them more. When one learns that he was Clinton's Terrorism hotshot for years before Bush was elected, that he served under Bush for more than a year into the new administration, resigning when he didn't get a job he wanted, that he hasn't said 'boo' about the Bush foreign policy since he left and that his bombshells are quoted from a new book he is promoting. I think his credibility for blaming 9/11 on Bush while clearing Clinton is pretty weak.
What's the response? "He apologized to the nation for his own failure."
Oh, well, then! That makes him an honest broker. I'm sure that every Democrat in the country has bought his book by now and the intelligentisia of the left are busily reading it to be able to find more bombs to throw. But why should your average swing voter care about that. The guy admits that he thought it was his job to deceive the press. Who's to tell whether he's lying now for profit or was lying back then?
Step back a bit and ask yourself how Clinton reacted to 9/11. Did he look like an outraged patriot who knew
this was coming and had been pleading with the new administration to tackle these guys; or did he look like deer in the headlights mumbling weak excuses for not stopping Bin Laden? What was he doing during the last hours of his time in office, poring over CIA and FBI reports on terrorist activities (he'd had three major terrorist attacks during his tenure, remember), or pardoning a list full of big donors to himself or his party? The very fact that Clarke pardons Clinton while condemning Bush has to tell you something about where his bread is buttered.
I don't buy everything I read, but when I continually find that my own conclusions are are echoed by others I respect, sometimes surprisingly, I tend to believe their sources more than those whose statements and arguments just don't wash. This whole 'Bush knew' stuff is just not credible. Having seen what he did after 9/11, does anybody really think he would have just sat there and let it happen if he had known it was about to happen? If he does, he's intellectually dishonest or a moron.