The Same Lame Plame Game

I hope that this is my last Plame leak related post, since I’m running out of things that rhyme with “Plame.” The Sunday shows were filled with mostly useless speculation about who may have leaked what, who might be indicted, and a little more mindless speculation about who Bush might nominate for the Supreme Court.

Considering the guests that were booked, was astoundingly uninformative. Matt Cooper went on first, and Russert treated him with kid gloves. Russert allowed Cooper to more or less skate by the question of why he felt that it would have been legitimate to defy a decision handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which Cooper had planned to do. How this differentiates Cooper from equally rabid ideologues like Roy Moore is beyond me.

The next segment of MTP was unadulterated spin from both sides. did his best to channel the late Johnny Cochrane, repeatedly insisting that the reported revelations this week “exonerates and vindicates, it does not implicate” . Mehlmen didn’t really go into details about the claim of vindication, but it did rhyme quite nicely. It was also more than just a little hypocritical to paint Rove as the victim. Go for it, Mehlman: “Karl Rove is a good man, he is an honest man. He works every single day for this country, and the notion that people are trying to rush to judgment to smear him for political gain is outrageous and it's wrong.” All of those things might be true, though I don’t think that they’re self evident. It’s nonetheless close to impossible to feel sorry for Karl Rove. Whether or not you agree with his goals, I think that you can recognize that Karl Rove has been involved in smearing his fair share of political opponents over the years. While his strongest opponents have accused Rove of steering the administation in the direction of being downright Nixonian, you need only look at Bush’s former opponents to notice that they’ve almost all been smeared on a personal basis. It’s also worth noting that almost every fundamental assertion that Rove and the Bush administration have made have looked less credible over time. That is, the more information that eventually comes to light, the less accurate the statements made or propagated by Karl Rove seem to be. This includes a whole wide range or topics other than Rove’s involvement in media leaks, like the involvement of the energy industry in shaping national policy, the existence of WMDs in Iraq, the connections between Saddam’s regime and Al-Qaeda, Bush’s stint of honorable service in the National Guard, and John Kerry’s supposed obsession with applying “global test” before implementing new foreign policy, to name a few.

But let’s not forget, John Podesta, who was also hypocrite on MTP for condemning the Bush administrations dishonest representations over Rove’s involvement in the leaks. Podesta’s former boss will always take the cake for the outright falsehood “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Plus, Clinton wrote the book on flimsy legalisms by smoking pot without inhaling and reshaping the legal definition of “is.” Podesta offered nothing constructive to say, and didn’t even offer particularly good sound bytes of outrage. He also had no response to Mehlmen’s assertion that the Democrats have offered not positive agenda of their own, which is true. The obvious defense here is that the Democrats don’t possess any forum in which to advance their agenda. That may not be the actual reason why Democrats aren't advocating an agenda, but it's better to offer some defense than to spend all of your T.V. minutes sputtering about how Karl Rove is a meanie.

The end result was that, once again, Sunday talk did nothing more than obfuscate the facts known by the public. I’m not sure why I bother to watch each week, when I know that at best, the shows function as more of an amusing true/false exam than news. Just step back and apply your own little smell test. Did Karl Rove break the law? Hmmm, hard to know. But did the Bush administration create a political problem for itself? Yep. And I don’t see how Sunday’s shout-fest helped to resolve anything. But I'm sure the arguements will continue. After all, it's sexier than talking about Social Security.


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