If White House Wants A Firefight On Its Credibility, Democrats Should Give Them One
I think we can all agree after seeing the pushback campaign of the last 4-5 days that Karl Rove has convinced Bush and the rest of the liars that they can redeem their credibility with the American people by getting into a prolonged firefight with Democrats over whether or not the administration lied to get its war of choice with Iraq. We’ve already seen Bush come out from behind his rock several times in front of controlled crowds to launch the effort; we’ve already seen Stephen Hadley, who himself has his hands dirty in the disinformation campaign, make several appearances to push the “you f*cked up, you trusted us!” meme.
And now we are treated to the sight of Rummy himself pushing the talking points that Democrats from the previous administration also talked up the threat posed by Saddam and his illusory WMDs. This, of course, is the same Rummy whose DIA knew as far back as February 2002 that they were using a fabricator to push the Saddam-Al Qaeda link. This is also the same Rummy who was directing his staff on 9/11 to connect the attacks to Saddam. It’s also interesting that Rummy wants to quote Sandy Berger now, which means that everything Sandy Berger said must be credible now, like the warnings he gave Condi about Al Qaeda.
You can trot out all the Democratic sound bites and speeches you want, and yet a bipartisan conviction that Saddam was a bad guy suspected of having WMDs doesn’t justify:
·The administration’s war drum beating from its first days in office;
·The administration’s refusal to give equal weight to dissenting views;
·The administration’s dismissal of the views of the IAEA, the State Department, and foreign intelligence services while believing what Ahmad Chalabi said;
·The administration’s disinformation campaign through the White House Iraq Group;
·The administration’s numerous efforts to package the intelligence to support its case;
·The administration’s ramming through the October 2002 vote ahead of the midterms;
·The faulty March 18, 2003 letter to Congress;
·The refusal to let the IAEA finish its job on the ground;
·The decision to go to war itself with too few troops and a plan to win.
Again, the issue isn’t what others said and did; it’s what this White House said and did.
The White House wants a firefight with Democrats, and assumes that Democrats will wither after a few days. With the Senate GOP now showing its true colors that it has no intention of actually pressing the White House for deliverables on Iraq, and with Pat Roberts stonewalling the Phase Two inquiry of how the White House used all the available intelligence, Democrats should give the White House the firefight it wants.
But while they are at it, Democrats should go ahead and expand the firefight to raise the stakes into an overall attack against the credibility of the Administration on a variety of fronts. Democrats could not only go after the lies that led up to the March 18, 2003 letter to Congress that started the war. They could also talk about how the Administration lied to Congress about the Medicare drug benefit. They could talk about the lies told to sell the country on the upper income tax cuts. They could talk about the lies told by the administration about who leaked Valerie Plame’s name. They could talk about the lies told by the administration about Social Security. They could talk about the lies told by the administration about how much the Iraq would, and continues to cost the taxpayers.
You get the idea. By returning fire on an issue of weakness, which is a signature Rovian tactic, the White House now invites a full-scale attack by Democrats on the issue of this administration’s pattern of deceit and lies to the American people. The Democrats should welcome this door opening by Rove, and drive a truck right through it.