March 22: Bullshit Day

I think we should henceforth enshrine March 22 as “Bullshit Day”, the day on which members of the Bush administration fanned out across the media landscape, saying anything and everything they could think of to try to blunt the impact of Richard Clarke’s charges that Bush ignored the threat of terrorism in the months leading up to 9/11, and was obsessed with constructing false-to-fact links to Saddam Hussein after the attacks.

There’s a nice roundup of yesterday’s hijinks in the Washington Post: White House counters ex-aide. And insightful analysis is available from Kevin Drum (Bush’s secret plan and Panic mode) and from Joshua Micah Marshall (A request… and Alright, I promise…). And if you prefer your bulllshit straight, no chaser, you can go right to the source of some of the best of it: Cheney to Rush: Clarke “not in the loop”.

The interesting thing here isn’t that the Bush people are hitting back hard; that was predictable. The interesting thing is the nature of the response. They’re trying to slam Clarke as an unreliable partisan. They’re claiming this is just politics as usual. They’re hoping they can get Joe Sixpack disgusted enough from campaign-season name-calling to tune the whole thing out; affter all, that worked pretty well on the Valerie Plame thing.

They’re not actually refuting Clarke’s charges. Because they can’t. They’re too well-documented, too consistent with other things we already know. The few attempts to undercut them have been laughable. So they’re left with trying to smear the messenger.

And note that it isn’t just angry lefties like me who see their response this way. The other side essentially acknowledges that this is what they are doing. From the Washington Post article I linked to above:

Clarke’s allegations come after two weeks in which Kerry (D-Mass.) struggled for footing and the Bush campaign enjoyed what his aides believed was their best run of the year. But by Friday, a Republican official said the campaign was bracing for a tidal wave of negative publicity from Clarke’s book. The campaign’s defense strategy was that although Clarke could not be roundly refuted on the facts, enough doubt about the issue could be raised by portraying him as reckless and partisan.

You catch that? We can’t dispute the facts (that Bush ignored repeated warnings about al Qaeda in the months before 9/11, and sought to tie Saddam Hussein to the attacks afterward, even when all the experts insisted to him that where was absolutely no connection between the two), because, well, unfortunately, those facts happen to be true. So instead we’re going to take a guy who is pretty much the definition of non-partisan sobriety, who served under four presidents, Republican and Democrat alike, and whose pre-9/11 warnings and proposals for dealing with the threat of al Qaeda make him look like the most prescient person since Nostradamus; we’re going to take that guy, and make him out to be an unreliable party hack, disgruntled over having been turned down for a promotion, who as a result is trying to hurt Bush with hateful lies.

Bullshit Day! Hooray!

Update: See the great Tom Coles cartoon about this (link courtesy of Talking Points Memo).

10 Responses to “March 22: Bullshit Day”

  1. drieux just drieux Says:

    wouldn’t “National Bovine Grain Reprocessing Day” be a bit more techoir – I mean we could have an eNBGRD – you know, for the whole ‘internet crowd’.

  2. mark Says:

    Inspired, truly inspired

    I’m still laughing (and I needed that)

  3. John F Says:

    Happy Bullshit day everyone (anyone who watched Rumsfield in the 9-11 commission inquiry should know it was Bullshit Day :) )…

    Or Happy Anal Retentive day — becuase the BUsh Administration and the RNC are far and away full of shit…

  4. Tom Says:

    … Madeleine Albright put on a stunning performance as well.

  5. DE Teodoru Says:

    THROWING BACK THE BUSH-T!

    I can think of no one in Wash. DC who would consider

    Richard Clark anything but an honorable man with no

    personal ambition other than to serve his nation. Yet,

    after his “60 Minutes” appearance in advance of his

    book’s release today, the Bush White House has

    mobilized all sorts of staff from Rice at the top on

    NBC’s “Today” show to Bartlett, the PR guy, on Fox-TV,

    attacking Clark about the way TV adds for prescription

    drugs attack the symptoms from diseases. It all seems

    to be based on the viewer’s ignorance about both the

    pathology of the disease and the pharmacology of the

    treatment. Consequently, the ads resort to “passion

    plays” such as the woman who suffered severe arthritis

    but thanks to *prescription only* drug X was able to

    attend her daughter’s wedding and dance all night; now

    her daughter too has arthritis but “thank goodness

    that she won’t have to suffer as I did,” because she

    has been put on this same drug early in life. They

    tell you to “talk to your doctor and ask if you are

    not a candidate for drug X.”

    What in God’s name are you to say? A doctor has five

    minutes for each patient thanks to HMO standards and

    is not about to discuss TV Rx with patients.

    Similarly, the White House spokesmen took advantage of

    the fact that no one read the book nor knows anything

    about Clark’s former functions in the anti-terror

    bureaucracy. So they throw doubts such as: “A search

    of White House records shows that, in fact, no such

    meeting took place.” Or, “the President, according to

    the record, never said such a thing.” Or, “Dick was

    not in on the later Camp David meeting and could not

    have known that this WAS INDEED discussed.” (Could we

    see these records, by the way?) Then, the attack goes

    from challenge of spacial contingencies (the President

    was not there, he was as Walapagnambialyiertiyxvnville

    for an important meeting on alQaeda.”) to challenge of

    temporal ones: “You must ask yourself why this book

    appears NOW, of all times.” The implication,

    ipso-facto is that Clark is bucking for terrorism Czar

    in the Kerry Administration (especially given whose

    office is near Clark’s at Harvard U!).

    But the very issue to which Mr. Clark contributes is

    the issue that has been around for all the days since

    9/11– why in Iraq medicine in such big doses and in

    Afghanistan in such small doses? If your doctor

    erroneously mispositioned the decimal point in a

    prescription, the patient is supposed to say: Gee Doc,

    isn’t that about 100 times (more/less) what you gave

    me last time, QID (3x a day)?

    So, for a year now media, citizens and retired Govt.

    and military officials haver been asking– along with

    Afghanistan’s head of State: Mr. Bush, why so big an

    effort after Saddam and to “rebuild” Iraq and why so

    small an effort to get binLaden– still at large three

    years later– and “rebuild” Afghanistan?

    Sen. Biden never tires of telling about the girl

    student who grabbed his arm when he visited her new

    school in Kabul, insisting, “You can’t go. You have to

    stay here and protect my school. If you go away the

    Taliban will come back and I won’t be able to go to

    school anymore. I want to become a doctor, like my

    mother. I want to help people; so you must help me by

    staying and making sure that my school doesn’t close

    and the Taliban doesn’t return…” I don’t recall Mr.

    Bremer ever telling such a story!

    The point is that Mr. Bush wants bragging rights for

    his war on terror in Afghanistan AND Iraq. But then he

    has to take responsibility for the side-effects of his

    policy. Now that Afghanistan is made up of a Govt. of

    multi-billion $$$ drug dealing warlords and Iraq is

    about to join with Iran to make up the “Greater Shi’ia

    Empire,” Mr. Bush has to face the issues brought up by

    Dick Clark. He can’t say: “why now?” It is NOW,

    because Bush is NOW running for re-election of what he

    did in Afghanistan and Iraq THEN, promising more of

    the same; remember: “I am a war president…”?

    This administration is as secretive as the drug

    companies are about their products. Almost everything

    is CLASSIFIED. Yet, middle level security-cleared

    bureaucrats are spilling their guts out to journalists

    allover Wash DC, as if the reporters were

    father-confessors, trying to assuage their own guilt

    and disgust over the actions taken and secretly stated

    motivations in “secret” memorandum ad nauseum of this

    administration on the Middle East. Invariably, it’s

    all coming out. But it is only press scuttlebutt until

    high ups like O’Neill and Clark come forward. The

    retort from Bush-Cheney & Co. then is that it’s all

    lies. And, when independent sources confirm, as did to

    CBS’s Leslie Stalh about Clark meetings with Bush, the

    PR “damage control” crew merely sais: I stand on what

    I said. Too bad you can’t read their pulse rate, blood

    pressure, pupillary size and hands sweating!

    Then there is the question trumpeted ad nauseum by

    Neil Cavuto on Fox-TV, a Wall Streeter– you know, the

    guys who brought you ENRON, Global Crossings and

    Worldcom etc. Cavuto asks why on “60 Minutes” Clark

    said so little about how “Bill Clinton dropped the

    ball on alQaeda.” The answer is obvious: because

    Clinton is NOT running for four more years as chief of

    national security, Bush IS!

    Lastly, when all else fails, our Homeland Security

    Czar gets on TV and tells us that his department is

    taking new measures to “protect” us. It is giving more

    supplies and guidelines for local police, after

    Madrid, for dealing with a subway or train

    catastrophe…Well, what do you expect? Would you

    expect a drug company executive to come up with

    preventive regimens or treatments?

    I lived through the Cold War– three shooting wars in

    it– and have never heard so much flim-flam absurdity

    from the national leadership. On the other hand, never

    in all my years of being “exceptionally well informed”

    did I ever see a time when a bungling administration

    lied so much while living in so much of a glass house.

    The press seems to know so much about the Bush

    medicine that it can successfully predict the

    side-effects. In fact, a recent essay in NEW YORK

    REVIEW OF BOOKS, “Now They Tell Us,” argues that what

    we don’t know, we don’t know because the press doesn’t

    want or doesn’t care if we know. I hope you all read

    it:

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/16922

    Never in our history had we ever been privy to so much

    detail– so accurately presented– on how our

    leadership stumbles about trying to run America while

    enriching its “base.” Those who haven’t got a clue as

    to what all the brouhaha is all about, don’t know

    because they don’t want to know. As an American by

    choice, not chance, please let me tell you all, NOW IS

    THE TIME FOR YOU TO FIND OUT, or live with the

    consequences.

    Daniel E. Teodoru

  6. anna Says:

    If you are talking against the President I have no idea what country you are in–but it is not the USA.

    Clarke has been rebutted and pre-butted at every turn. He has backtracked and he has lied–obviously. He said one thing in ’98, another in 2000, another in 2002, and now,still another. This time he bashed the sitting President of the United States. Yet, his resignation letter to Bush was full of priase for the President’s great leadership,and so on.

    I guess now Mr. Clarke wants another 15 minutes of fleeting flame, so the opportunist is looking to Kerry and the Demos for a job, of sorts.

    Watch out, Demos, as soon as you begin to phase his job out (if you choose to give him a real job instead of this hatchet job you hired him for) as the Bush administration did, this worm will turn again. Maybe this time he will bawl out his woes to the Green Party. He seems to be running out of options. No one likes a lying turncoat

  7. anna Says:

    If you are talking against the President I have no idea what country you are in–but it is not the USA.

    Clarke has been rebutted and pre-butted at every turn. He has backtracked and he has lied–obviously. He said one thing in ’98, another in 2000, another in 2002, and now,still another. This time he bashed the sitting President of the United States. Yet, his resignation letter to Bush was full of priase for the President’s great leadership,and so on.

    I guess now Mr. Clarke wants another 15 minutes of fleeting flame, so the opportunist is looking to Kerry and the Demos for a job, of sorts.

    Watch out, Demos, as soon as you begin to phase his job out (if you choose to give him a real job instead of this hatchet job you hired him for) as the Bush administration did, this worm will turn again. Maybe this time he will bawl out his woes to the Green Party. He seems to be running out of options. No one likes a lying turncoat

  8. anna Says:

    If you are talking against the President I have no idea what country you are in–but it is not the USA.

    Clarke has been rebutted and pre-butted at every turn. He has backtracked and he has lied–obviously. He said one thing in ’98, another in 2000, another in 2002, and now,still another. This time he bashed the sitting President of the United States. Yet, his resignation letter to Bush was full of priase for the President’s great leadership,and so on.

    I guess now Mr. Clarke wants another 15 minutes of fleeting flame, so the opportunist is looking to Kerry and the Demos for a job, of sorts.

    Watch out, Demos, as soon as you begin to phase his job out (if you choose to give him a real job instead of this hatchet job you hired him for) as the Bush administration did, this worm will turn again. Maybe this time he will bawl out his woes to the Green Party. He seems to be running out of options. No one likes a lying turncoat

  9. anna Says:

    If you are talking against the President I have no idea what country you are in–but it is not the USA.

    Clarke has been rebutted and pre-butted at every turn. He has backtracked and he has lied–obviously. He said one thing in ’98, another in 2000, another in 2002, and now,still another. This time he bashed the sitting President of the United States. Yet, his resignation letter to Bush was full of priase for the President’s great leadership,and so on.

    I guess now Mr. Clarke wants another 15 minutes of fleeting flame, so the opportunist is looking to Kerry and the Demos for a job, of sorts.

    Watch out, Demos, as soon as you begin to phase his job out (if you choose to give him a real job instead of this hatchet job you hired him for) as the Bush administration did, this worm will turn again. Maybe this time he will bawl out his woes to the Green Party. He seems to be running out of options. No one likes a lying turncoat

  10. dave Says:

    Anna must be a retard.
    She can’t think for herself and she hits “submit” four times when it only takes one.
    Stupid girl

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