- failed to disclose favors from disgraced right-wing donor Tom Noe.
When news broke last year that former national security advisor Sandy Berger was under investigation for removing several National Archives documents, conservatives quickly jumped to sinister conclusions. They claimed that Berger was trying to keep the documents from being seen by members of the 9/11 Commission.
Fox News host Brit Hume claimed that Berger was afraid the documents showed that President Clinton had been “too soft” on terrorists. The theory that Berger was “trying to cover either his tracks or Bill Clinton’s tracks” made “more sense than anything else,” Hume said. Likewise, William Kristol asserted that Berger was trying to steal the original copies of the documents. “It’s not correct to say that there are copies of what Sandy Berger took away elsewhere.”
And so went the attacks from prominent conservatives. House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Berger had tried to “hide information” from the 9/11 Commission. Tom DeLay even likened Berger’s behavior to “third-rate burglary.”
Just one problem – the central claim of their argument turned out to be false. The papers that Sandy Berger removed were not originals at all. They were actually copies of a report that was reportedly spread widely around the administration when it was released in 1999. This explains why Justice Department investigators found that Berger “‘did not have an intent to hide any of the content of the documents’ or conceal facts from the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”
The opposite is true in the case of the missing John Roberts documents. As the Washington Post stated today, “No duplicates of the folder’s contents were made before the lawyers’ review.” In other words, unlike the Berger case, the missing file may very well contain the sole original copies of some documents. And more importantly, unlike the Berger case, anyone interested in concealing the information in those documents could do so by stealing them.
So where are the right-wing super-sleuths now?
An important detail in today’s Washington Post about Roberts’s missing affirmative action file:
As part of a vetting process before Roberts’s formal nomination by the White House in late July, the two lawyers requested and were granted special access to the Roberts files. Neither the White House nor the Justice Department would name the lawyers…
If these lawyers didn’t do anything wrong why can’t we know who they were? If they returned the documents, why don’t they go on the record and say so? Why do these administration officials have a right to anonymity?
Getting from here to there is getting harder and harder to afford these days; the price for a gallon of gas in the U.S. has gone up twenty cents in just the past three weeks. President Bush readily admits the giant energy bill he signed last week would do nothing to impact skyrocketing gas prices. Is the White House doing anything to ease America’s sticker shock at the pump? You be the judge:
In a White House press briefing yesterday, a reporter asked:
Is there nothing that the federal government can do to help Americans who are feeling it at the pump?
The White House answer? Er”¦we made a web site:
The Department of Energy and EPA have a joint web site called, Fueleconomy.gov. This is a place where people can learn about gas mileage tips.
The Fueleconomy.gov site provides ground-breaking fuel economy tips: drivers should obey the speed limit, use cruise control and put items in their trunks instead of on the overhead rack to reduce aerodynamic drag. What it doesn’t explain, however, is why the Bush administration this week killed a proposal which would have actually done something to conserve gas.
It’s true. The New York Times yesterday announced the White House was abandoning its 2003 proposal to extend fuel economy regulations to include Hummers and other huge SUVs, some of which get as little as 8 miles per gallon. When fuel efficiency standards for American cars were first crafted in the 1970s, you see, big, heavy vehicles for personal use – like SUVs and Hummers — didn’t exist. Today, that class of vehicles remains outside current fuel efficiency laws and Big Business automakers, who love the big profit margin, want to keep it that way.
Joo Dong Mun, met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang. According to the North Korean news agency Mun “offered his congratulations to Kim Jong Il on the 60th anniversary of Korea’s liberation.”
John Roberts has a checkered history when it comes to civil rights – including making disparaging remarks about Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow. Now, a file containing all the papers relating to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts work on affirmative action in the 1980s has gone missing from the Ronald Regan Presidential Library after it was reviewed by two lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department.
It’s a strange story, but here’s what we know so far:
1. No one at the archives remembers the file being returned.
2. It’s very unusual for the archive to lose a file.
3. The two administration lawyers are now helping the archives “reconstruct the file” from their notes.
4. The White House and the Justice Department refuse to name the lawyers involved.
Are we supposed to believe that this file magically disappeared?
When Senator Dick Durbin likened detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay to that of Nazi prison camps and Soviet Gulags, conservatives were quick to attack. Scott McClellan called Durbin’s remarks “reprehensible,” while Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, said they were “grossly unfair and hurtful.”
Eventually, Durbin tearfully apologized for his comments. And why not, right? The Nazi analogy might work at a high school debate tournament, but it isn’t appropriate (or effective) at the level of national politics.
That is, unless you’re James Dobson, founder of the uber-conservative Focus on the Family. In that case, you can say whatever the heck you want. Just last week, Dobson compared Senator Bill Frist’s surprising stance on stem cell research (which he supports) to the Nazis’ disgusting WWII medical experiments.
“The Nazis experimented on human beings in horrible ways in the concentration camps, and I imagine, if you wanted to take the time to read about it, there would have been some discoveries there that benefited mankind,” he said on his radio show last week, in reference to Frist’s stand.” He continued: “there’s a higher order of ethics here.”
This is especially interesting because Dobson helped Tony Perkins–the same one that criticized Dick Durbin–organize the recent Justice Sunday II rally, and then spoke at the event. Interestingly, Perkins is yet to demand an apology from Dobson.
But not to worry, we’re sure it’s just an oversight–any minute now, conservatives like Perkins will leap to Frist’s defense and demand an apology from Dobson. After all, to do otherwise might, to some observers, appear flagrantly inconsistent.
Any minute now. It’ll happen.
UPDATE: Hand Dr. Dobson a shovel and he’ll dig his holes a little deeper every time. In trying to clarify his outrageous comment, Dobson indignantly explained that he hadn’t equated stem cell research to the Nazis. He merely said it was “Nazi-esque.” Sheesh. (LISTEN HERE)