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Monday, November 14, 2005

Monday Evening Roundup

Today's Froomkin column in his WaPo White House Briefing is a fine example of why I love reading it. Dan Froomkin does an exceptional job of not just excerpting the news into a coherent whole picture -- but the analysis on the bits left out by reporters is first rate. Every single day.

For example, Froomkin talks about the Veteran's Day speech that the Preznit gave on Friday, and its claims that no manipulation of intelligence by the WH occurred. And then he takes the next step, detailing the facts, and not just being a WH spin stenographer:
But Bush's argument is deeply flawed. Far from being baseless, the charge that he intentionally misled the public in the run-up to war is built on a growing amount of evidence. And the longer Bush goes without refuting that evidence in detail, the more persuasive it becomes.

And his most prized talking point -- that many Democrats agreed with him at the time -- is problematic. Many of those Democrats did so because they believed the information the president gave them. Now they are coming to the conclusion that they shouldn't have.

Like other Bush campaigns, this one will inevitably feature the ceaseless repetition of key sound bytes -- the hope being that they will be carried, largely unchallenged, by the media -- and virulent attacks by the White House on those who dare to disagree, even going so far as to question their patriotism.
How can you not love that? Why can't other reporters try some of this critical thinking -- and wouldn't that be a refreshing change all around if they did?

Froomkin also excerpts two interviews of Dan Bartlett -- one by Soledad O'Brien on CNN, where she actually calls him on a false statement, and one by E.D. Hill on Fox News who..well, I don't even need to say it, do I. Bartlett has this to say in response to a leading E.D. Hill softball question:
"BARTLETT: Well, that's the problem here is that as you know, E.D., members of the United States Senate and Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, had access to the very same intelligence that President Bush had, to make their decision. . . .

"What is deeply irresponsible is when politicians here in Washington advance what they know is false charges, such as that. I mean, that's a critical one, you're saying that the commander-in-chief during a time of war essentially lied to the American people. That's not the type of conduct that we need in Washington, D.C."
Well, I will agree with Bartlett on that last bit: The American people don't want a bunch of liars in Washington, D.C. Why don't he and his cronies in the WH pack up and move back to their faux estate in Texas.

Mike Allen of Time has an article about Dick Cheney's fall from grace.
And while the Vice President's partisans remain convinced that most conservatives still love him, even some of those bedrock fans are expressing growing doubts. "Cheney's war is swallowing Bush's presidency," said a conservative leader who is an ally of the Vice President's. "The cost of Iraq is everything else Bush wanted to do."
While I don't buy the "don't blame Bushie, blame Dickie" approach to passing the buck, I'm glad that the VP is finally getting a lot more scrutiny. That is at least a good thing. The article drags a bit, and contains a lot of whiny quotes from Cheney's side of things -- but the bottom line theme is that Cheney doesn't give a crap if people think he's wrong, he's going to do it his way regardless. Useful when you are going the wrong way. Ahem.

The NYTimes gives long odds, but at least better ones, on a Democratic win in several races in the 2006 elections. Here's hoping.

And also in the WaPo, a long piece from the WaPo Sunday magazine detailing Rumsfeld's perspective on a lot of things, and comparing that to some of the facts as we know them. It's a very interesting read, both angering and amusing in alternating spots.

There is an intriguing piece in the NYTimes on foreign aid, and the new head of the "Millennium Challenge Corporation." No idea if this will ever be a functioning piece of the foreign policy puzzle.