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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, July 16, 2003


Read My Lips: Trust, Honor & Dignity

posted by Trammell at Wednesday, July 16, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
There has been relatively little posting on the blogs today about the following George Bush quote from this story in the Washinton Post offered as a justification for war with Iraq:

"We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."'s Joe Conason has this to say, and you'll need a day pass:
Now a presidential statement so frontally at variance with the universally acknowledged facts obviously presents a problem for the White House press corps. He wasn't joking, and he didn't sound disoriented or unwell. Although Dana Priest and Dana Milbank wrote the story as delicately as they possibly could, they couldn't make it seem less weird:

The president's assertion that the war began because Iraq did not admit inspectors appeared to contradict the events leading up to war this spring: Hussein had, in fact, admitted the inspectors and Bush had opposed extending their work because he did not believe them effective."
What possessed the president to make an assertion that everyone on the planet knows to be untrue? And who is going to take the responsibility for this one? Did George Tenet vet Bush's statement? Do the British have a secret dossier proving that Saddam never actually admitted Hans Blix and the UNMOVIC teams? Will Condi Rice or Donald Rumsfeld show up on Fox News next weekend to explain why Bush's statement is "technically accurate," even though he shouldn't have said it?
The sentence quoted above doesn't appear in today's New York Times report, for example. Yet there is no question about what he said -- undoubtedly to the amazement of both Kofi Annan, who was sitting beside him at the time, and the dozens of reporters who were present during their brief joint press conference.
Another recent president once said something that was blatantly untrue, if fairly trivial, and the videotape of his statement was replayed again, and again, and again, and again...

Howard over at Hoffmania! has this to say:
So the main cause for war WASN'T:

Weapons of mass destruction, buying yellowcake from Niger, the oppression of the Iraqi people, Saddam threatening Bush I, harboring and training al Qaida, selling nukes to terrorists, direct or indirect help with 9/11, Saddam making crank calls to Cheney, or disarming Saddam of...well...nothing we can find.

And so, my final point: with this quote, and Nigergate, and no WsMD to be found, will Dubya's campaign promise...

"I will bring honor to the process and honor to the office I seek. I will remind Al Gore that Americans do not want a White House where there is 'no controlling legal authority.' I will repair the broken bonds of trust between Americans and their government"

....become as emblematic of his failures as his father's promise of "Read my lips: no new taxes!" eventually became?

I mean, Dubya ran on this statement as much as Clinton ran on "It's the economy, stupid." And lies aside, this administarion clearly exagerrated, and they ran their 2000 campaign against Al Gore by defining him as a serial exagerrator that couldn't be trusted. Hey, George, it's about trust, honor and dignity, stupid. Remember?

And who has been the candidate who was willing to call Bush on this stuff long before the press or any other Democrat was willing to? Yup, Howard Dean. (Larger excerpts can be found on my blog Points West.)


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.