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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, October 01, 2003


Bush dodges the Plame issue

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, October 01, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
The transcript of Bush's remarks about the Plame affair reveals that Bush seems to be operating from talkig points, and not addressing the substance or the seriousness of the scandal. As Josh Marshall of TPM points out:

There's no mention of blowing the cover of a CIA covert operative, no mention of Wilson, the issue of retaliation, or anything like that.

His repeated mantra is his opposition to "leaks of classified information." That of course is a much broader issue and, not coincidentally, a charge that the White House has previously levelled at Congress.

They're trying to move the subject on to much more comfortable ground and push the whole controversy over into the long and muddled history of leaks of classified information.

The law which seems to have been violated, of course, is a different one. And this allows the president to sidestep entirely the issue of his staffers retaliating against a critic by ruining his wife's career.

not to mention the serious threat to National Security. Cue Kevin Drum:

The fact that administration officials took it upon themselves to expose a CIA agent shows appalling judgment. They didn't know whether or not that endangered any CIA operations, which is why you just don't do this. And the fact that they did it for such base (and trivial) reasons says a lot about the kind of people they are.

But beyond that, of course the fundamental issue here is that — especially in a post-9/11 world — you don't play games with national security. Regardless of whether blowing Plame's network caused any serious problems, this is the reason the CIA is fighting back so hard on this: because they want to make sure no one ever does it again. Next time it might get a city full of people killed.

So: this affair exposes bad character and high school freshman levels of poor judgment among allegedly senior officials. But it also betrays a lack of seriousness about national security at a time when national security should be the most important thing they're thinking about.

Dean needs to stay on top of this message and these points when he appears on the morning show circuit this morning. Hopefully he'll touch on the same basic points.


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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.