Here’s a quick roundup of some of the better stuff on the ‘Bush lied’ story, as fueled by Bush and the offensive linemen of Team GOP having decided to push it lately:
- Kevin Drum: Manipulating intelligence and Abuse of power.
- Joshua Micah Marshall: Kevin Drum had a piece up last night…, First the White House lashed out…, and It seems that National Security Advisor Stephen J. Hadley…
- Fred Kaplan: I was wrong, but so were you — Parsing Bush’s new mantra.
- Ryan Lizza: Con text: Bush’s dishonest new strategy for defending the war.
- The NYT editors: Decoding Mr. Bush’s denials.
I think it’s pretty clear that if we’re playing this by the rules, Bush loses the debate, bigtime. He’s basically making the same type of bullshit argument about his actions in the run-up to the war that he was making back then about Saddam and his nukes and ties to al-Qaeda.
But it’s a hallmark of the Bush team’s response when they get backed into a corner like this that they don’t play to win some kind of fair, high-minded debate. Look at how they reacted when Richard Clarke went public with his dynamite accusations about how Bush had ignored the threat of al-Qaeda during the first nine months of his administration. Clarke had solid documentation for every one of his charges. It really was a slam-dunk case.
And Bush went on to win re-election anyway. And his main strategy was the same one he’s using now: To make really vile, dishonest arguments, thereby luring the other side to respond in kind, systematically ratcheting up the level of hostility until everyone not already obsessed with politics gets disgusted and tunes out the debate.