Thursday, October 02, 2003

GOP and Novak Spinning like an F5

While Bob Novak continues to repeat his claim that outing Valerie Plame was OK because "everyone" knew that she was a CIA undercover operative, her name was in Who's Who (uh, not identified as a spy, Bob) and besides, her husband is a creepy "liberal" who rained all over Dubya's yellowcake parade, the GOP joins him in trying to fling enough dung (the charming phrase they're using is "slime and defend") to obscure what really happened. Scary thing is, the American people are so stupid, it may well work.

The White House encouraged Republicans to portray the former diplomat at the center of the case, Joseph C. Wilson IV, as a partisan Democrat with an agenda and the Democratic Party as scandalmongering. At the same time, the administration and the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill worked to ensure that no Republicans in Congress break ranks and call for an independent inquiry outside the direct control of the Justice Department.

"It's slime and defend," said one Republican aide on Capitol Hill, describing the White House's effort to raise questions about Mr. Wilson's motivations and its simultaneous effort to shore up support in the Republican ranks.

"So far so good," the aide said.

Interestingly, the "partisan Democrat" Wilson is apparently a political centrist who has donated to both Republican and Democratic candidates - including a donation to the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign.

Maybe Dubya and his minions should concentrate less on "slime and defend" and more on "cooperate and plan for post 2004 jobs."

In addition to sliming, the Republicans are also frantically trying to keep some of their own under control: Republican with close ties to the administration said the White House was monitoring five Republicans in Congress, all of whom have an independent streak on foreign policy and intelligence matters: Senators John McCain of Arizona, Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and John W. Warner of Virginia, and Representative Porter J. Goss of Florida.

It would do well for McCain to remember how Karl Rove shat all over him in the 2000 campaign, and to recall that while he was rotting in the Hanoi Hilton, Dubya was playing at being a fighter pilot in the Texas ANG.


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