Anyone But Bush NOTD – 3/22/2004
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By KellyMc - Last updated: Monday, March 22, 2004 - Save & Share - 14 Comments

Today’s reason: populist pandering.

Instead of discussing issues in a straight-forward fashion the Bushies have been using second-grade level name calling to back up their “arguments”.

In a poorly-produced and imperfect effort to discredit John Kerry’s claims of support, the GOP put together “an animation”: that attempts to ridicule Kerry by calling him an “International Man of Mystery” — using Austin Power’s sound bites to beef it up. It would have had more impact if the reporter who originally misquoted Kerry hadn’t “fessed-up to his mistake”: just a few days before. (Detractors can cut some of Kerry’s un-named supporters slack considering the reputation the Bush adminstration is getting for the way it treats people who disagree with them — see the bonus cartoon below.)

Then the Bushies scramble to rebut “former counterterrorism coordinator Dick Clarke’s book about W’s Iraq obsession”: by using the phrase “Dick Clarke’s American Grandstand” without saying anything more substantial than “nuh-uh!”

bq. Clarke said within one week of the Bush inauguration he “urgently” sought a meeting of senior Cabinet leaders to discuss “the imminent al-Qaida threat.” Months later, in April, Clarke met with deputy secretaries. During that meeting, he wrote, the Defense Department’s Paul Wolfowitz told Clarke, “You give bin Laden too much credit,” and he said Wolfowitz sought to steer the discussion to Iraq.

bq. The White House responded that it kept Clarke on its staff after the election because of its concerns over al-Qaida. “He makes the charge that we were not focused enough on efforts to root out terrorism,” White House spokesman Dan Bartlett said Sunday. “That’s just categorically false.”

The best part of the book extracts that I’ve seen are these highlights:

bq. Spotting Richard A. Clarke, his counterterrorism coordinator, Bush pulled him and a small group of aides into the dark paneled room.

bq. “Go back over everything, everything,” Bush said, according to Clarke’s account. “See if Saddam did this.”

bq. “But Mr. President, al Qaeda did this,” Clarke replied.

bq. “I know, I know, but . . . see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred.”

bq. Reminded that the CIA, FBI and White House staffs had sought and found no such link before, Clarke said, Bush spoke “testily.” As he left the room, Bush said a third time, “Look into Iraq, Saddam.”

*Bonus Cartoon:* Reflecting the paranoia of some of the American publice, Tom Toles put this out on Saturday.


Posted in Politics • • Top Of Page

14 Responses to “Anyone But Bush NOTD – 3/22/2004”

Comment from KMc
Time March 22, 2004 at 3:53 pm

The “foreign leaders” biz is just like the “I invented the Internet” biz from 4 years ago. The truth doesn’t matter, it’s still spun into the talking points of every talking head on Rupert Murdoch’s payroll.

And like last time, the press is worthless, they’ll keep giving it time as if it was real.

Two differences though …

The misquoting reporter fessed up, although I wonder if I/we only noticed because he’s a friend of mine — corrections never make the front page. Even that doesn’t make much difference though, as evidenced by the GOP video, which includes video of the exact quote and still plays off it.

The underlying issue — foreign leaders would prefer Kerry — is generally just plain true. Now whether that’s good or bad for Kerry is debatable.

And are we to believe that Mike Meyers is getting paid?

Comment from etrigan
Time March 24, 2004 at 2:29 pm

“More name calling”: on the part of the Bushies. This time they’re calling Kerry a “Frennchie”.

Comment from etrigan
Time March 24, 2004 at 2:29 pm

“More name calling”: on the part of the Bushies. This time they’re calling Kerry a “Frennchie”.

Third grade, here we come!

Comment from Jank
Time March 25, 2004 at 5:02 pm

Clarke’s a real credible source:

“It has been an enormous privilege to serve you these last 24 months,” said the Jan. 20, 2003, letter from Clarke to Bush. “I will always remember the courage, determination, calm, and leadership you demonstrated on September 11th.”


the first point, I think the overall point is, there was no plan on Al Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration(emphasis added) to the Bush administration.

Second point is that … there were a number of issues on the table since 1998. And they remained on the table when that administration went out of office issues like aiding the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, changing our Pakistan policy …

(I)n January 2001, the incoming Bush administration was briefed on the existing strategy. They were also briefed on these series of issues that had not been decided on in a couple of years. …

(T)he third point is the Bush administration decided … in late January, to do two things. One, vigorously pursue the existing policy, including all of the lethal covert action findings, which we’ve now made public to some extent. … The second thing the administration decided to do is to initiate a process to look at those issues which had been on the table for a couple of years and get them decided. …

(P)oint five, that process which was initiated in … the spring to add to the existing Clinton strategy and to increase CIA resources, for example, for covert action, five-fold, to go after Al Qaeda.

The sixth point, the newly-appointed deputies … tasked the development of the implementation details, uh, of these new decisions that they were endorsing, and sending out to the principals.

Over the course of the summer last point they developed implementation details, the principals met at the end of the summer, approved them in their first meeting, changed the strategy by authorizing the increase in funding five-fold, changing the policy on Pakistan, changing the policy on Uzbekistan, changing the policy on the Northern Alliance assistance.

It seems that the best counter to Richard Clarke is Richard Clarke.

Comment from etrigan
Time March 26, 2004 at 7:49 am

This is as much b.s. and you know it.

Your first link is a resignation letter. No smart person — especially in politics — writes a resignation letter that is anything other than very polite.

Your second link is a press briefing near the one-year anniversary of 9/11 (??early August 2002??) by a Bush employee representing the Bush administration. I have often made presentations and worked on implementations that I did not think were the right was to implement things — I’m betting you have, too.

p.s. Stop linking to FoxNews when you want to make a Neo-Con argument.

Comment from jank
Time March 26, 2004 at 10:08 am

> Stop linking to FoxNews

I’ll stop that if you stop linking to Salon, CNN, or the Beeb…

There’s a complete and total lack of coverage of Clarke’s track record under both the Bush and Clinton administrations (Actually, there’s a grave lack of coverage of about everyone’s emphasis that Iraq had WMD’s and was a sponsor of terrorism under Clinton, including Kerry) in news outlets other than Fox News or the Wash Times. Does that make past pronunciations on the subject suddenly irrelevant?

AFA the “He was being a mouthpiece and didn’t really agree with what he’s saying – Does the Viacom owning the rights to his book and owning CBS (and 60 minutes) make it mean that he’s really only doing this to make sure his book sells?

Comment from etrigan
Time March 26, 2004 at 11:54 am

Salon, I can understand for Salon-based articles (but their wire section I’ll keep linking to), but CNN?!? and what’s the Beeb? BBC? They’s universally recognized as being a fairly unbiased news source for international news.

You know there’s a huge responsibility behind “serving at the pleasure of the emporer”. Any person who disagrees with their lead politician in the political arena is comitting suicide — sometimes literally. It was his job to say what the president said to say, and if he ever said something contradictory to the POTUS whil still employed at the White House you would be the first to jump on the bandwagon calling him a traitor.

Comment from jank
Time March 26, 2004 at 9:50 pm

CNN is to the left what FNC is to the right. I haven’t seen a newscast on CNN that I didn’t have at least minor objections to in a while.

And where did you get the BBC as unbiased? They were pretty seriously raked over the coals by the British parliament not too long ago because of their bias. This site keeps a running tab on BBC’s spin. What makes the Beeb especially egregious is that the Brits have to pay for it out of their taxes, as opposed to FNC and CNN.

(BTW – I Googled “Fox News Bias” out of fairness. This dude was pretty funny.)

Comment from etrigan
Time March 29, 2004 at 3:40 pm

“uh-oh II”:,,1-1056064,00.html

bq. Senior officials conceded for the first time that on the day after the September 11 attacks President Bush pressed Mr Clarke to re-examine whether Iraq was involved.

Even better is this tidbit.

bq. To try to address the concerns of bereaved 9/11 families, who have criticised her stance, Ms Rice said she wanted to meet relatives so they could quiz her directly.

It’s being said everywhere, but it needs to be said again with and addendum. She has time to speak on 3 morning news shows _and with family members of victims from 9/11_ but she can’t speak publicly under oath for the commission.

Sounds like the Bush administration knows that speaking under oath is more trouble than it’s worth — which is a joke considering the way the conservatives rabidly pursued Clinton to speak under oath and then veered off-course when they found a side-lie to track down.

Comment from Jank
Time March 29, 2004 at 6:14 pm

> the way the conservatives rabidly pursued Clinton to speak under oath

And the way he refused until forced to by a judge? Clinton claimed the same “executive privilege” for his advisors, and that was for a civil suit. At issue here is potential revelation of sensitive sources and intelligence methods.

The ‘Pubs didn’t “veer off-course”; they got a federal judge to force him to testify.

So what is it? Is there “executive privilege”? Or was WJC wrong, just like GWB?

Comment from etrigan
Time March 29, 2004 at 6:37 pm

The ‘pubs used there bickering to find out about a blow job.

The ‘Dems want to know if W was doing a president’s job.

I know it seems liker a minor difference, but it is.

Oh, and they aren’t calling “executive priv” to protect intel. They’ve never claimed that at all. They want to protect us from knowing how the president and his advisers interact. That shouldn’t be priviledged info, imo.

Comment from Jank
Time March 29, 2004 at 7:00 pm

> protect us from knowing how the president and his advisers interact. That shouldn’t be priviledged info, imo.

Why? If the outcome is in the interest of the country, what does the process matter? Is LBJ’s Great Society any less great after listening to his White House tapes and hearing how he twisted arms and berated people to get support? Is Nixon exonerated by having regrets and second thoughts about Watergate?

This is one of my least favorite things about liberals – the idea that motive and process are as important as output. Gingrich was an abborhent husband, leaving his wife while she had cancer. BUT, his welfare reform proposals freed many from recurrent poverty, and his tight line on spending balanced the budget and spurred the boom of the ’90s. Carter was a saint, but his inaction on islamist fundamentalism following the overthrow of the Shah of Iran may have been one of the catalysts of the current terrorism problems.

Comment from etrigan
Time March 29, 2004 at 10:32 pm

So, Machiekowski, it doesn’t bother you if the only reason Bush went to war with Iraq was to defend his Daddy’s name? What if it really was about the price of oil? What if Clinton getting blow jobs was the payment he got for raising military budgets?

Is motive 100% unimportant?

Comment from jank
Time March 30, 2004 at 8:35 pm

> Is motive 100% unimportant?

To say I’ve been mulling this over all day is an understatement. Just before I posted last night, I knew that this would be the quick and easy hole in the argument. But, a good night’s sleep, a quality day at work, and an evening with a glass of box wine and a little inhalation of combination stain/polyurethane from finishing a desk, and I may have a reply. I don’t think you’ll like it much, though.

I’ve hit on this in the past without apparently getting my point across, but I’ll try a different tack: Motive is/should be unimportant on a human scale because motive is something that ultimately is between an individual and their diety.

Before you dismiss this outright, give it a little bit of thought. Say, for instance, that I go out and donate $15,000 to The Nature Conservancy (just to name a decent organization that shouldn’t generate much controversy). I say that I did it out of altruism.

How do you know that that isn’t the case?

Ultimately, you have to take my word for it. It’s feasible that I did it for the tax deduction, or because I knew that the local chapter was looking to buy the land immediately adjacent to mine, and I wanted a place to run the dogs, or maybe I did it to spite my neighbor who wanted to buy the same plot of land to put in a dirt track for Outlaw Racing.

I’ll go further – Stalin’s motivation for killing Ukrainians was to create a better state for all mankind; does that make it any less evil?

This is why, despite guarantees of freedom of religion (or from), liberal democracy cannot continue to exist without some form of religious involvement on the basis of the population. Not necessarily homogeneity, but there does need to be a common assumption of faith; a common assumption that each individual is acting in the realization that some day they will have to answer to a higher power, and can, in general, be counted upon to “do the right thing”.

Absent a shared conviction in a higher power (though individuals can differ on who/what that power is), motive comes into question, with the increasingly rancorous discourse that we as Americans have seen over the last few years. Party of the First claims that they are acting out of the best intentions, and Party of the Second alleges that Party of the First are a bunch of liars who, moreover, steal candy from children and money from old people and who crush small animals for pleasure. The entire exercise descends into name-calling and allegation-making, and people are left to pick sides entirely at random.

Yes, mudslinging and rancorous debate happened in the past, but there was at least an expectation that outright lying wouldn’t occur as there was an expectation that both the Party of the First and the Party of the Second would be more fearful of eternal damnation (or reincarnation as a slug, or failure to reach enlightenment, whatever) than in anticipation of temporal gains.

Increasing secularization of society is making it necessary for people to make decisions based on what is ultimately an unknowable quantity.

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