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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

 
"We will ask not only what is legal, but also what is right"

"Only one in 10 Americans said they believe Bush administration officials did nothing illegal or unethical in connection with the leaking of a CIA operative's identity, according to a national poll released Tuesday."


I will change the tone of Washington. I'll bring good people to our nation's Capitol, and surround myself with a strong team of capable leaders.

I sent a clear signal of my intentions when I named a great citizen to be my running mate: Dick Cheney.

It would be presumptuous for me to name other names before the people have spoken, but I have great respect for the man who introduced me today -- and I hope his greatest days of service to his country might still lie ahead.

Should I earn your confidence, I intend to work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done for the American people that both parties represent.

We won't always agree, but I'll work to keep our disagreements respectful and I'll work to find common ground. I will do everything I can to restore civility to our national politics - a respect for honest differences, and decent regard for one another.

I know you can't take the politics out of politics. I'm a realist. But I'm convinced our government can show more courage in confronting hard problems; more good will toward the other side; more integrity in the exercise of power.

This isn't always easy, but it is always important. It is what people expect of their leaders, and what leaders must require of themselves. My administration will provide responsible leadership.

Finally, a leader upholds the dignity and honor of his office. In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal, but also what is right - not just what the lawyers allow, but what the public deserves.

In my administration we will make it clear there is the controlling authority of conscience. We will make people proud again - so that Americans who love their country can once again respect their government.


Bush gave versions of that speech several thousand times during the 2000 campaign and it was probably the single most compelling part of his message. People were sick of the scandals and even if they knew the Republicans were behind it, many thought that Bush was different. (A majority knew better, but that's a different story.) He may have been a little bit dim but at least he was a decent guy. He was hiring the "grown-ups," the old guard like Cheney and Powell, people who were above the sort of petty politicking that characterized the Gingrich-Burton era.

That was, of course, fiction. Bush Sr, of Willie Horton fame, was as ruthless as they come and little Junior was the creation of the most ruthless Republican operative in the country.

Karl Rove, "the architect," came to the Bush family's attention in 1972:

Republican Natinal Committe Chairman George Bush has reopened an investigation into allegations that a paid official of the GOP taught political espionage and "dirty tricks" during weekend seminars for College Republicans during 1971 and 1972. Some of the 1972 seminars were held after the watergate break-in.

Bush said he will urge a GOP investigating committee to "get to the bottom" of charges against Karl C. Rove 32 [sic], who was executive director of the College Republican Committee. (Washington Post story, Bush's Brain p.135)


This had come to the attention of the Washington Post by a fellow college Republican who Rove and Lee Atwater had cheated in an election (in which Rove had sent "an alternate slate of electors" --- sound familiar?) Bush pere looked into it and wrote the guy who blew the whistle on Karl out of the party, telling him, "don't ever take sides with anyone against the Family again. Ever," (Or something like that.) A short time later he hired Rove as a special assistant to the RNC.

This was all known in 2000. Wayne Slater wrote about it in the Dallas Morning News. But the national press corpse was so enamored of their darling narrative that had the simple but virtuous Bush paired against the lying, freakish metrosexual Gore that they couldn't be bothered. And, as we've seen so perfectly demonstrated lately, they have been infected by the toxic political culture that says character assassination and dishonest smears are not only perfectly natural, they are admirable actions by virtuous people.

Still, reality does bite eventually. George W. Bush is at the center of the most powerful, vicious political machine in American history. They will destroy anything that gets in their path. They aren't just playing with silly, gossip items like extra-marital blow-jobs. They are deadly serious. Outing a CIA agent for political purposes is the least of it. They purposefully took this country to war on false pretenses for reasons that were in large part purely political:

"One of the keys to being seen as a great leader is to be seen as a commander-in-chief.' And he said, 'My father had all this political capital built up when he drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and he wasted it.' He said, 'If I have a chance to invadeĀ·.if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it. I'm going to get everything passed that I want to get passed and I'm going to have a successful presidency."


Now, if the reports we are hearing about indictments are true, Karl Rove is going to be charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plame case. And the Republicans are going to howl that he's being charged for politics, not criminal activity. When this happens I would hope that every single Democrat who is quoted or goes on television reminds the American people that Bush and his White House won the election by claiming that they would not only ask what was legal but what was right.

And when the Republicans say that Karl Rove wasn't committing perjury or obstructing justice --- that he just stumbled and couldn't remember --- every Democrat should remind people that Karl Rove has been doing this stuff since 1972. He is known to have an almost photographic memory. He is the man who everybody on both the right and the left have acknowledged as the most effective political operative in history. You can say a lot of things about the Boy Genius (as Bush calls him) --- bumbling, confused and dim-witted aren't among them. He does not do things he doesn't mean to do.

Bush's Brain has left a long trail of bodies behind him; it's simply not believable that a man who has been a Master of Hardball Politics since 1972 is just an innocent bystander this time. After all, his motto since he was in high school is a quote from Napoleon:

"The whole art of war consists in a well-reasoned and extremely circumspect defensive, followed by rapid and audacious attack."





Update: And somebody needs to have a talk with John Weaver, Rove's Texas rival, if the man is not drunk on schadenfreude today. There are many things he's never told. If he has ever fantasized about sticking in the shiv, once Karl is indicted and begins his PR offensive to portray himself as a poor lil' office clerk who got confused, Weaver may have some tid-bits to share.



Update II: Think Progress has video of Bush making one of his "honor and integrity" speeches. I'm thinking it may be time to do some national ads.



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