Froomkin cranks knobs up to 11, brings the shrill
It's always a pleasure to see the Amazing Froomkin stop emulating Broderella--Ouch! It was a joke!--and become a little less the nice-guy, mild-mannered, Clark Kent figure that we know and love.
But enough is enough:
Indications of Obfuscation
Don't you love that word, obfuscation? It even sounds obfuscatory! Let's use it, often:
Among the many lessons of the Scooter Libby trial is this one: That when the White House issues squirrelly statements under fire, the most cynical interpretations may well be the closest to the truth.
So there's really no longer any excuse for letting President Bush get away with carefully parsed denials, hairsplitting and non-answers.
In that spririt, my takeaway from Bush's comments yesterday on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys is that the president may well be aware that his critics are correct -- and that at least some of the prosecutors were ousted because top White House officials felt they had not performed their duties with sufficient loyalty to the Republican Party.
You thought that was shrill? That was reportage. Now comes the Shrill:
Taken as a whole, Bush's statement was full of assertions that it's hard to consider anything but massive whoppers.
The champion of a "unitary executive" suddenly talking about the sanctity of the separation of powers? A man known to operate almost exclusively in a bubble of flatterers suddenly lashing out against a precedent that might lead to a president not getting candid advice?
And does Bush really think anyone other than his staunchest supporters would consider "reasonable" his proposal to make Karl Rove and other top aides available for private interviews with congressional investigators?
The proposal, as put forth by new White House counsel Fred Fielding, is transparently an attempt to let Bush's aides get their stories out without facing public accountability and scrutiny -- and without any penalty for lying under oath.
Remember Kennedy's definition of courage?
Grace under pressure. I'd say--and I know you'll be surprised by this--that Bush isn't showing any courage at all. Bravado, yes. Petulance, yes. Anger, yes. A sense of entitlement, yes.
But courage? Not a chance.