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October 13, 2005

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I've been thinking about what the big picture would look like without the potential indictees. I've been a little surprised that no one has yet to write that fantasy script. . . .unless we are all operating on the West Wing's Toby's "we do not tempt fate" from an early episode on vote on the SCOTUS nominee.

Visions of sugarplums indeed. There's nothing wrong with dreams, even dreams that eventually come true. But then, I'm a Cub fan and have been for, oh my, 44 years. 'Nuf said.

x-posted at Daily Kos. Here's my take on where the Plame investigation stands, based on my semi-obsessive reading of the tea leaves: Rove indicted, Libby indicted, assorted minor characters indicted.

I think Fitzgerald is going after Cheney, but he doesn't have a solid enough case to name him as unindicted co-conspirator. I do believe, however, that he has tightened the screws on Libby so far that Fitz is hoping Scooter will turn state's witness on Cheney before or during trial. (People say Bush will pardon everyone involved, but he's a notorious grudge-holder, and if Libby has crossed Bush on something in the past, I don't think Libby is necessarily a shoe-in for a pardon.)

The only question that remains is how big the rift is between Rove and Cheney, and whether Rove is willing to dump all over the VP tomorrow in his testimony.

FWIW, I don't agree with the idea of impeachment either. It's divisive, it costs too much and it would only lead to the installment of the Republican candidate for 2008 (because at that point Cheney would probably be out of the picture too for health or legal reasons). Better to let Bush stew in his own lame-duck juice for two years, cement his reputation as the worst President of the modern era, and let Democrats build on the gains it looks like we'll make in 2006.

is afterdowningstreet's poll on attitudes to impeachment sound? you seem to be dismissing it slightly.

heh. everyone reports the poll without the IF clause, which I am reintroducing where it belongs. IF Bush etc did X and Y re Iraq...

I am not jumping ahead of the IF. And Fitz is not guaranteed to get us out of the subjunctive.

Hey, 'wheel, Bill Keller repeats his promise to tell all.

Bill Keller, The Times's executive editor, said: "It's a great relief to have Judy out of legal jeopardy. And it should clear the way for The Times to do what we've been yearning to do: tell the story." Mr. Keller had said in an earlier message to the paper's staff that once Ms. Miller's "obligations to the grand jury are fulfilled, we intend to write the most thorough story we can of her entanglement with the White House leak investigation."

By GOLLY, you people are cautious pragmatists! So very cautious about being giddy at the thought of dancing on thier graves. Meet me down at the ol graveyard, and we will dance (soon,I hope!).

Dem,

You’re right that we lay people should wait for “Indictment Day” but unfortunately, waiting passively is, still, the modus operandi of the Democratic Party. Sure, voters might be getting ready to vote against the Republicans (that’s no guarantee), but if Dems are ever going to accomplish anything, they have to give voters a reason to vote for them. But look at what’s coming out now. Emerging Democratic Majoritypoints out that the Democrats are losing control of the Katrina debate. (Sorry, I had trouble making the link) It describes the message of the Dems as "buckshot." If Dems have no communications or media strategy, they cannot possibly get the message out about the platform that Pelosi and others are working on.

And today Tomdispatch (http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=28519) we find out that newer, more aggressive candidates like Hackett are frustrated with the culture of losing in the party. Isn’t anybody evaluating Dem strategists and consultants? Do these people ever learn anything or do they like to imitate Wile E. Coyote and fall repeatedly off the cliff?

I’m really beginning to think that Dems won’t have a chance until a new generation takes over.


I believed, at the time, the primary purpose of the Clinton investigations and the impeachment was to make the American people scandal-weary and suspicious of impeachments, thereby lowering institutional restraints on the next Republican President. And here we are.

bob, i'm not sure of cause and effect, but here we are.

Mr. Natural, and KdmFromPhila, I'm not suggesting we endorse a lack of aggressiveness. The House Dems are putting together their version of a positive agena. Too long in coming. and they need to figure out where they are on iraq.

I disagree about Katrina. The NBC/WSJ poll is clear.

But public sentiment has also been colored by reaction to the administration's initial handling of Hurricane Katrina. The failure of Mr. Bush's overall approval rating to rebound over the past month, Mr. Hart says, suggests the persistence of his "reduced stature" after beginning his second term in January at the 50% mark. While 79% of Republicans still approve of Mr. Bush's performance, the intensity of his support among key party constituencies has ebbed.

Questions about how Mr. Bush makes appointments also persist -- fueled by the controversy over the competence of former Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Michael Brown and others. By 54%-37%, Americans say Mr. Bush emphasizes "personal friendships and partisan loyalty" over "competence and qualifications" in making appointments.

See also:

". . . Bush’s political capital is all
but spent. If he were a bank, he’d
have to declare bankruptcy. . . ."
from A Presidency On Life Support

The point is that indictments haven't happened yet. when they do, dems still need a positive agenda. You can't beat something with nothing, and it all starts with iraq.

I don't think that impeachment gets us where we want to be. I think that if these indictments come down, it will effectively neuter W and company and have him rudderless for a while. I'm trying to imagine the recasting of characters, many would be good for the dems, but not the country and vice versa.

There have been lots of comments and threads at Kos about who might replace the Dick if it came to that and someone like McCain would be our worst nightmare.

AND yes, we do need to hold out a vision in front of the people. There have been posts here and there about a plan that the Dems have been cooking up outlining their vision. It needs to be good and everyone needs to get on message. I also hope they are spending lots of time and thought about all of the potential consequences of indictments, how to respond, how to deal with the gaps, how to take hold of setting the agenda, etc.

A little tangential, but as far as aftermath scenarios goes... If I'm a GOP strategist trying to think out beyond possible indictments/convictions: as long as they can paint the whole thing as "criminalizing politics" (with generous assistance from Tom Oliphant), then pardons can be framed as merely an appropriate response in kind: "You indict our guys for nothing; we pardon them with no shame." Their control of the kommentariat will not be affected by any of this, and will help them keep that meme in place, unless the crimes revealed are sufficiently substantive as to make that frame untenable. If it ends up being obstruction/perjury indictments with no original crime at the center, I think this damage-control approach will be reasonably effective. Despite the rank hypocrisy thereof (Martha Stewart, Clinton).

If Delay manages to wriggle out of Earle's prosecution--and he's wriggling pretty well at the moment--it gets easier to lump these things together as some horrible legalistic attack on the Virtue of the GOP, and they could even emerge stronger for having survived.

Thus saith my 3a.m. pessimism when it's hunting around for dark thoughts to batten on. I HOPE Fitz is going to turn up something that exposes the whole OSP-stovepipe, intelligence-warping nexus in some explicit way. But I'm not sure what criminal laws such politicizing of intelligence contravenes, and I'm sure Fitzgerald doesn't view it as his job or mission to inflict political harm on the GOP for the benefit of the Dems. However desperately--or successfully--the GOP will try to paint him that way.

As for Keller's "Phew! Now we can tell the story!"... Why does this fill me with a sense of foreboding? If the real story is anything like what it looks like from Left Blogostan, it reflects awfully poorly on the Times and Judy and Mr Keller himself. I can't think of any reason why he would be "eager" to tell anything but the most self-serving, spin-cleaned version of it.


Yeah, you're right. Long, drawn-out impeachment proceedings would wear us all out.

Let's just cut to the chase and demand that Bush resign.

Don't need impeachment. Just a Democratic house of Congress and one Congressional investigation after another -- Iraq lies, Abu Ghraib, Katrina, Delay, etc. etc. until the end of Chimpy's term. A constant flow of cronies frog-marching, plea bargaining, taking the fifth until the comatose American electorate finally realizes that the GOP has become indistinguishable from the mob. Just need to arrange for those spine implants for the Dems....

Dem, I agree with you. I don't think tht you were advocating passivity, I'm concerned about the party leadership and their apparent passivity. I just hope that they are able to have message discipline when their positive agenda comes out (hence my quote of the "buckshot' critique which came from Lakoff originally).

KdmFromPhila, understood.

DrBB, I presume that's why the Dems want a report from Fitz, which would serve as the template for non-partisan 'we have a problem here' discussions. As for keller, I'm interested in the extreme. The Times and its role has been especially disturbing to me, a native New Yorker. Yanks lose, Stottlemeyer gone, now this.

i just read Richard Cohen, which i had not before writing this. Barf.

I'm all about a report from Fitz to bang the Matalins of the world over the head with, but wouldn't Fitz's time be better spent conducting his investigation? I mean, no matter who actually does the report, that time could be better spent reading the investigation file.

park, I am unsure what, if any, of Fitz' brief is public information whne he's done. i welcome expert opinion on that.

I'm trying to be cautious. I've been burned so many, many times in the past. I thought Iran-contra was going to bring Reagan down. I thought Roe v. Wade meant the abortion debate was over. I thought LBJ's "I will not seek ..." speech meant we were bringing our troops home from Southeast Asia.

But my glee glands are involuntary, and they seem to be working overtime in anticipation.

Obviously GJ testimony is secret, so I don't even know what a report from Fitzgerald would look like, other than to list how many people have testified, on what days, etc. Regarding Richard Cohen: I have got to believe that something or somebody made him write that. The column essentially makes the point that something that is just barely in the news now shouldn't be going on at all. What is the point of this if not to get out in front of the damage about to be done? The Toensing appearance, Matalin's appearance today on Imus, and Cohen's column. Something just smells fishy.

Funny, in my post above, I wrote "with generous assistance from Tom Oliphant." I originally wrote "Tom Oliphant and Richard Cohen," but eliminated the latter because I knew Oliphant had delivered himself of the inane opinion in question whereas it was mere speculation--I thought--that Cohen would eventually find it irresistible himself. I thought I shouldn't go around accusing Cohen of reiterating particular GOP talking points until I knew he'd done it. This was first thing this morning, and I hadn't yet read today's WaPo.

Must have been telepathy.

See, that's what I mean. What in the hell drives Cohen to write such a column? Why does it look like he's Mehlman's whore?

DrBB

One of the prime NYT liars, Jill Abramson, will be doing a public appearance at Middlebury on the 17th.

If we get a report before then, I'd love to see the smart students of Middlebury ask her some tough questions.

This story is getting bigger by the moment. Hopefully, the aftermath of all this will result in the bringing down of not only the current corrupt administration, but its appeasers and enablers in the mainstream media. Just moments ago I saw Andrea Mitchell on "Hardball," shaking like a shitting dog trying to rationalize the behavior of all of the sick Washington establishment. They're all going down!

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