The GOP playbook for these hearings is becoming a bit threadbare. Once again everyone is supposed to get their hopes up because, as Digby notes, Goober Graham picks the hayseeds from between his teeth and sets himself up as "Republican with a conscience," asking a few questions that seem to indicate he's got some concerns about All Of This. He thereby positions himself as the centrist moral authority, only to use this to give the Administration a free pass in the end. It's crap. It's a schtick he runs every time they have one of these things.
The second shell game they're running is the pearl-clutching woman. This time around it was Deborah Burlingame, sister of pilot of the flight that crashed into the Pentagon. Teed up by Jeff Sessions, she assures us -- dripping with righteous victimhood -- that the President must engage in willful and deliberate violations of the law in order to protect the babies from the boogeymen, as Digby likes to say. The media focus will now be taken away from Senators grilling Abu Gonzales with complex questions he flat out refuses to answer because that's a fucking Kodak moment, that one.
Oh and then there is the obligatory Jeff Gannon question thrown out at the press conference, this time by one of the Power Tools who pitches an adolescent temper tantrum when Dick Durbin calls him on open shillery and belittles his "Pajamaline" credentials. "I bet Dan Rather has heard of us!!!" harumphs the Third Tool like a twelve year-old slamming his bedroom door on parents who Just Don't Take Him Seriously.
These are the simple tricks that the con artists in some medicine show would repeat endlessly as they traveled from town to town selling a bunch of useless crap. We may be tired of being on the receiving end of such cheap come-ons but the sloppy drunken roundheels of the press seem to fall for it every time.
Update: tjschill in the comments:
I worry more about Specter... as the last questioner today at about 6 pm-- with the room nearly emptied--he laid it squarely on Gonzo's jaw-- making it patently clear that Bush's program was illegal in his estimation... Now, the left has been waving his comments like a flag, and will likely do so again... if he cuts a deal with BushCo and does an about face, alot of Dems on the Hill will be left in a lurch about this being a patriotic and not partisan issue...I think this is a very legitimate worry and it is more than likely part of the snake-oil show. Swopa cautions that rather than ally themselves with GOP politicians whose ultimate loyalty to Dubya is a foregone conclusion, the Dems should be looking toward the whistleblowers who came forward to the NYT and WaPo.