Well, its not looking so good for the Rove smear campaign so the backup in the Bush Lied Paradigm is getting pushed. Neal Boortz summarizes the situation.
Ah ha! The media immediately ran right out and wrote a bunch of stories accusing Bush of changing his position. To them, it sounded like he wasn’t going to fire anyone unless they committed a crime.” Ted Kennedy put his pants on long enough to run right out and issue a press release condemning Bush for moving the goal posts. The only problem?
Bush’s position hasn’t move one bit. On September 30, 2003, when Bush was first asked about the leak, here is what he said: “If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of.” Essentially the same thing.
The mainstream media these days really is slowly graduating from liberal bias to outright political propaganda.
Examples of this “political propaganda” can be found in headlines at SF Gate headline:
Bush alters standard for firing in leak case. President says an aide would have had to commit a crime, not just be involved. – Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen, Washington Post 05jl19
or The Guardian:
Bush dilutes pledge to fire aides. – Julian Borger in Washington 05jl19
The commentaries have also weighed in to provide examples of how reality can become a bit distorted by biased perception.
John Hawkins illustrates the equivalencing argument trying to assert that both sides are just as guilty in their tactics:
Let me also add that this scandal has turned into a hair splitting festival on both the right and the left and, in my opinion, this whole thing has been over-analyzed into the ground.
To me, it comes down to whether Plame was a covert agent or not when her name came out. Right now, the answer to that question appears to be, “no.” Since that’s the case, it means that revealing her name wouldn’t have been illegal or unethical. That means that Rove did nothing wrong and shouldn’t be fired.
There’s your whole case in a nutshell and nothing else matters very much in comparison…
And then there is Andrew Sullivan’s equivalencing to attempt to show that the Bush haters are just the same as the Clinton haters.
QUOTES OF THE DAY: “If anyone in this administration was involved in it [the improper disclosure of an undercover CIA operative’s identity], they would no longer be in this administration.” – Scott McClellan, September 29, 2003.
“I don’t know of anyone in my administration who has leaked. If somebody did leak classified information, I’d like to know it, and we’ll take the appropriate action. And this investigation is a good thing.” – president Bush, September 30, 2003.
“I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts and if someone committed a crime they will no longer work in my administration,” – president Bush, today.
I think it’s possible to parse these statements as meaning the same thing. I just don’t think you can and have any record deploring Bill Clinton’s use of legal semantics.
What is at issue here? The fundamental allegation is that the administration undertook underhanded means to discredit its critics. Since such action would be a repression of the right to freely express opinion it should be condemned and anyone tainted with such underhanded means should be pilloried.
At this time there is sufficient evidence on the table to cast significant doubt on any underhanded activity being pinned on the administration in this matter. There is also good evidence that ‘taint’ is very much in the eye of a beholder not using a very high standard of discrimination. There is good argument about the idea that an appearance of impropriety is also subjective and is fundamentally flawed as well.
There is a criminal investigation that was called to answer the raising of this fundamental issue by the administration’s opponents nearly two years ago. The ruckus currently in the news appears to be a result of those opponents becoming worried that the investigation will not support their views and opinions.
Measure it yourself. It is easy to see. Who is engaged in word wrangling? Who is sticking to the fundamental positions in an appropriate context? What improprieties have really occurred?