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July 20, 2005


Repub talking points challenged by ex-CIA operatives.

The Republican National Committee has circulated talking points to supporters to use as part of a coordinated strategy to discredit Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife. As part of this campaign a common theme is the idea that Ambassador Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame was not undercover and deserved no protection. The following are four recent examples of this "talking point":

Michael Medved stated on Larry King Live on July 12, 2005, "And let's be honest about this. Mrs. Plame, Mrs. Wilson, had a desk job at Langley. She went back and forth every single day."

Victoria Toensing stated on a Fox News program with John Gibson on July 12, 2005 that, "Well, they weren't taking affirmative measures to protect that identity. They gave her a desk job in Langley. You don't really have somebody deep undercover going back and forth to Langley, where people can see them."

Ed Rodgers, Washington Lobbyist and former Republican official, said on July 13, 2005 on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, "And also I think it is now a matter of established fact that Mrs. Plame was not a protected covert agent, and I don't think there's any meaningful investigation about that."

House majority whip Roy Blunt (R, Mo), on Face the Nation, July 17, 2005, "It certainly wouldn't be the first time that the CIA might have been overzealous in sort of maintaining the kind of top-secret definition on things longer than they needed to. You know, this was a job that the ambassador's wife had that she went to every day. It was a desk job. I think many people in Washington understood that her employment was at the CIA, and she went to that office every day."

These comments reveal an astonishing ignorance of the intelligence community and the role of cover. The fact is that there are thousands of U.S. intelligence officers who "work at a desk" in the Washington, D.C. area every day who are undercover. Some have official cover, and some have non-official cover. Both classes of cover must and should be protected.

We're not gonna win against Roberts, unless we convince the right he's pro-choice by trumpeting his statements: "Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land," and "There is nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."

We don't have the message control to play that particular trumpet--and they probably wouldn't buy the tune anyway. So forget Roberts. Yes, a Supreme Court Justice is tremendously important--but we gotta fight the battles we can win.

Let's focus on what we _can_ change: the perception of Two-Four-Six-Gate (two administration sources, four days, six reporters). Despite the federal investigation, and possible upcoming indictments, the issue of the Revenge Outing will be decided exclusively in the court of public opinion. Bush only needs his supporters to believe--to make themselves believe, hell to -say- they believe--that Rove is a heroic victim of a partisan investigation. Then he's strong, loyal, and steadfast when the presidential pardons start coming by the dozen.

And what kind of idiot -doesn't- think the London attacks was linked to Britian's role in Iraq? That's not an indictment of Britain's role--there are dozens of thing which -are- indictments, but this simply isn't one of them. In a parallel universe, where the invasion was justified, legal, competent, and under the aegis of the UN, it could -still- be linked to an attack such as this. A wingnut-worthy argument.

Roberts changed the subject?

He was nominated because of the subject. An "irresistible" nominee, complete with suit and hairdo, perfectly formulated: not too tart, not too sweet.

We can't win on Roberts to the extent that we agree to have the fight be about Roberts. Let the fight be about how the depraved traitors in the administration are wasting this man's life's work by using it as a veil for their criminality.

And what kind of idiot -doesn't- think the London attacks was linked to Britian's role in Iraq?

Funny you should ask.

MR. McCLELLAN: These are dangerous individuals that are operating in Iraq, and we're on the offensive, going after them, working with Iraqi security forces to defeat them in Iraq, so that -- we're fighting them there, so that we don't have to fight them here. This is all part of the war on terrorism, and that's why we're going after them and seeking to bring them to justice.

Kagro, are you suggesting there's stuff going on behind the curtain? Why, this is the straight-shootingest, plain-talkingest man since Jimmy Stewart shot Liberty Valance.... with John Wayne's help.

Okay, Kagro and others set me straight on a thread on dKos. Make the Roberts nomination _about_ the depraved traitors.

And no fair using a McClellan quote to establish idiocy, DemFromCT. That's like if I said, 'you'd have to be a genius to understand relativity,' and you say, "Well, Einstein did!"

The beauty of things is that we're not making the Roberts nomination about cover for depraved traitors. They are. The story's already been pre-purchased by the media. Why talk them out of it?

Don't blame me, Gussie. Blame the WH. McClellan's the official spokesman.

Okay, now you're being ridiculous--I can't blame the White House. Haven't you heard? There's an ongoing criminal investigation. Sheesh.

Kagro, you're completely right: every time I hear some CNN anchor intone "Democrats claim the nomination was moved up to distract from Karl Rove", I think "Thank you for keeping his name front and center".

The Murray Waas article, if true (and hasn't he been further out in front of this story than anyone else so far?) suggests we could have a truly serious scandal on the verge of erupting. This would confirm my theory of the inverse relationship between lasting impact of scandal and amount of hysteria expressed in the initial stage. Every Clinton contretemps (obviously reaching a peak in Lewinsky) was treated as Armageddon on Day One, but ultimately shrivelled to little or no effect; and Iran/Contra, however seriously it may have deserved to be taken, never seemed so damaging as on the day Ed Meese came out and first laid out the stunning details. Watergate, on the other hand, was not only at first utterly dismissed ("third rate burglary"), there were several stages along the way when conventional wisdom said we'd simply never take the ultimate step of removing a president (just days before the Alexander Butterfield revelation, White House-sympathizer Joseph Alsop wrote in Newsweek that it was clear Nixon had survived the worst).

It may well be the same here. Despite strong public revulsion (measured by polls) right from the moment the Plame outing was revealed, there's been a hesitancy on the part of the press to believe this would go anywhere significant. Perhaps this was because of their own complicity in the matter; or perhaps it was simply another case of their misplaced confidence that Team Bush is invincible (the same confidence that led them to think Bush would win both 2000 and 2004 by wide margins). Whatever the reason, I don't think they expected a scandal even as big as the one we currently see -- and, reading Waas, plus listening to Lawrence O'Donnell on Al Franken yesterday, I think we may only be at what we'll eventually view as a preliminary stage of the event.

Personally, I hope that when all is said and done, this is the scandal that finally puts to rest the stupid tradition that all scandals must be assigned a name ending in "Gate."

Okay, now you're being ridiculous

Honestly, this is all about the perception of the American people, not just we who are already clued in. Don't get too far ahead of the public, at least without looking back.

In that regard, '-gate' is a recognizable 'frame' and as such has its uses.

I don't know about those on the right, but I can follow two major stories at once.

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