Deep Underground with Raul Groom

Thursday, July 15, 2004

It's an exciting time to be alive. The right wing is cracking and foundering, and everybody seems to be grabbing at anything they can get their hands on to try to slow the inexorable decline of the entire apparatus. It positively amazes me the saturation coverage the right-wing press is giving to the idea that Joseph Wilson lied about whether his wife recommended him for the Niger mission. The attacks just make no strategic or logical sense. Wilson's criticism didn't make much dent in Bush's credibility, and he's been pretty well marginalized since then. The major effect of the whole dust-up was the Plame Leak Investigation, which is concerned purely with the conduct of executive branch officials, and to which Wilson's truthfulness or otherwise has no conceivable relevance. All of these guys, especially Novak, MUST know that there are indictments looming, and that in a matter of weeks, all their desperate attempts to pooh-pooh the matter are going to look very, very silly. But they just can't help themselves, they are programmed to just constantly slime anybody that turns his back on The Family, right to the bitter end. It's pitiful, really.

One thing it does point out is one of the major weaknesses of the center-left, which tends to latch on to conservative turncoats as if they were the second coming of Bobby Kennedy. John McCain, Joseph Wilson, Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, all these guys are really fundamentally freaked-out right-wing nut jobs (particularly on foreign policy in Wilson, Clarke and McCain's case, and just generally with O'Neill), but as soon as one of them breaks ranks with the Bush Administration every wishy-washy half-Democrat in the world wants to run over and kiss his ring.

What invariably happens is that after assuming that the only reason anybody could ever have for attacking Bush is a deep-down commitment to truth and justice and light, we find out the guy was really just working an angle, and then all the people who fell in love with the guy make idiots of themselves trying to defend him.

So, really, no disputing Novak's central theme. I just don't understand why The Weekly Standard, The National Reivew, and Novak all feel the need for this massive anti-Wilson blitz. It would be like if Clinton had tried to use character attacks on Paula Jones to defend himself in the investigation of his perjury in the Lewinsky affair. Once the investigation got to that point, it just wasn't relevant anymore.

Meanwhile, none other than Jim Hoagland has gone off the reservation on Iraq, and is now not only using the word "defeat," but he's actually calling out Bush for putting his reelection ahead of achieving real stability in Iraq. Personally (thinking back on my comments above) I'm skeptical that Hoagland will remain out in the wilderness like that; his next column will probably be some attack on Democrats for playing politics with the war, but just this little glimmer of light is something just about as remarkable as it gets. No one was a more enthusiastic supporter of the Iraq War than Jim Hoagland. He bent over backward, sideways, and diagonal to carry the prewar water for the DoD, even going too far once and criticising the CIA for not backing up Bush's claims that Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction, which criticism left a pretty embarrassing polyp hanging out there on the bunghole of this whole "The CIA Made Me Do It" defense the pro-war folks are trying to mount.

Damn, this shit is getting long. Much longer, and it could be a column. What am I wasting this shit on my blog for?

Contact Raul Groom.

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