“‘In the middle of all this, my wife sent [Alberto Gonzales'] wife an e-mail,’ said Michael Brown, the chief of the Federal Emergency Management Agency during Hurricane Katrina and no stranger to Category 5 storms of public ridicule. The e-mail message reassured her, simply, that ‘there’s life after Washington.’ Mr. Brown, who calls Mr. Gonzales a ‘true gentleman’ and a ‘friend,’ nonetheless subscribes to the belief that Mr. Gonzales is going down.”
Doug Feith becomes the latest neoconservative to express his outrage against George Tenet. He writes:
Mr. Tenet makes a peculiar claim of detachment, as if he had not been a top official in the Bush administration. He wants readers not to blame him for the president’s decision to invade Iraq. He implies that he never supported it and never even heard it debated. Mr. Tenet writes: “In many cases, we were not aware of what our own government was trying to do. The one thing we were certain of was that our warnings were falling on deaf ears.”
Mr. Tenet’s point here builds on the book’s much-publicized statements that the author never heard the president and his national-security team debate “the imminence of the Iraqi threat,” whether or not it was “wise to go to war” or when the war should start. He paints a distorted picture here.
But even if it were true that he never heard any such debate and was seriously dissatisfied with the dialogue in the White House Situation Room, he had hundreds of opportunities to improve the discussion by asking questions or making comments. I sat with him in many of the meetings, and no one prevented him from talking.
Fair point. But Feith never explains what was “distorted” about Tenet’s claim that there was no serious debate over going into Iraq. As Feith says, he was in those meetings too. We await the evidence.
Do we think Utah’s road struggles might be related to their horrible uniforms? Also let’s consider this a Rockets-Jazz thread.
Yesterday, Joe Klein had the best observation I’ve seen on the GOP debate: “Listening to the Republicans, you’d never guess that this was a country 70% of the public thinks is heading in the wrong direction.”
Exactly so. I re-watched most of the debate today, and this was the standout quality. You had all these candidates engaging in a kind of “how many angels fit on the head of a pin” conversation about tax reform (flat tax! fair tax! consumption tax! repeal the 16th amendment!) that was almost totally disconnected from anyone trying to claim that their policies were going to address some kind of anxiety people have. The one candidate who did it — John McCain proposing a $3,000 refundable health care tax credit — said it in an utterly affectless manner and the policy proposal is both pretty dumb and clearly inadequate to the scope of the country’s health care issues.
On national security, the candidates didn’t convey any real sense that American policy has been running into any kind of problems.
I’m not the only one — The New York Times found a whole bunch of distinguished law professors.
Via Ezra Klein, a little humor for the Facebook users in the crowd:
Apparently, Pandora, which I was just praising the other day, is in big trouble thanks to looming internet radio royalty hikes. Good news for incumbent broadcasters!
In March, the Washington Post revealed that General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan and Karl Rove deputy Scott Jennings held a videoconference earlier this year to devise “ways to help Republican candidates.” ThinkProgress has produced a report that documents the fact that GSA is only one of many federal agencies that the Bush White House has infiltrated for partisan purposes.
READ THE REPORT HERE.
Politicization of the federal government has been illegal for decades. The 1939 Hatch Act specifically prohibits partisan campaign or electoral activities on federal government property, including federal agencies. But in 2005, Ken Mehlman, formerly one of Bush’s top political advisers, outlined the White House’s strategy of utilizing government resources for partisan gain:
One of the things that can happen in Washington when you work in an agency is that you forget who sent you there. And it’s important to remind people that you’re George Bush people. … If there’s one empire I want built, it’s the George Bush empire. [One Party Country, p. 102]
With that imperial partisanship in mind, the Bush White House has engaged in an unprecedented quest to politicize the federal government, giving briefings and PowerPoint presentations everywhere from the Interior Department to NASA on how to secure Republican victories. Said one Interior Department manager, “We were constantly being reminded about how our decisions could affect electoral results” (One Party Country, p. 103). Bush loyalists in federal agencies have also helped generate millions for favored political candidates.
ThinkProgress’ report highlights the pervasiveness of the White House’s politicization efforts since 2001. Check out the report. Let us know if there’s something we missed in the comments section, or contact us.
. If you don’t believe in God, then why would you think believers are “fortunate” for putting their faith in a nonexistent higher being? You wouldn’t. Yet Rove, for political reasons, must genuflect to the notion that religious people are morally superior to atheists. The line perfectly encapsulates the condescending and way Republican elites have manipulated religion.
Ross Douthat replies:
I don’t think calling religious believers “fortunate” is the same thing as calling them “morally superior.” I’ve heard plenty of atheists remark that they envy religious people their faith in God, an afterlife, the beneficence of the universe, or what-have-you. This sentiment isn’t universal, obviously (see Hitchens himself for a counter-example), but I think it’s perfectly reasonable for someone who’s convinced that life is a meaningless round of pleasure, pain, and Machiavellian campaigning that ends when you die to feel a little envious of people who believe something slightly more optimistic.
I see Ross’s point, but at the end of the day I think Chait’s right and it’s pretty condescending. By contrast, I think it’s not at all condenscending to say something like “I wish it were the case that my destiny were in the ends of a benevolent higher power.” I could use the help! But what Rove is different, and condescending, Rove is saying he wishes he thought the world were like that, but, sadly, he knows better. Ross is right that this is a fairly commonly expressed view, but it also seems like a clearly condescending one, designed to position the un-believer as the one willing to tell invoncenient truths while believers go about their merry way.
Okay, you probably don’t “need” to know anything about the Scottish Labour Party’s historic defeat at the hands of the Scottish National Party in the regional elections, but Alex Massie’s blog is the go-to place for Scottish punditry. See especially here, though this on Gordon Brown may have wider significance.