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March 22, 2004

Dick Clarke's American Grandstand

I can't take credit for that pithy pun about Richard Clarke, who is being roundly dismissed by Bush supporters but it seems, mostly on specious grounds and mostly because, it seems, they don't like hearing what he has to say.

No,
that headline is what White House / now campaign spokesman Scott McClellan has called this latest very intelligent, very knowledgable person speaking out against actions they really didn't like seeing when they are being held accountable

Isn't that cute. Trying to trivialize and marginalize something a lot of Americans seem to care about, still.

But:

"He has a book."
"He wants Kerry to win." (or, more likely (which is usually the argument from people criticizing Kerry supporters) he wants Bush to lose).
"He's a registered Republican but that doesn't mean anything."
"He's bitter and disgruntled." (Only a few might even have a clue why.)
"It's Dick Clarke's American Grandstand."
"Counterterorrism coordinator - that's not a real job."

The people who are saying these things really don't seem to be searching for the truth. Does Clarke resonate honesty and integrity? Well, everyone's trusted him for the last decade and more.

It's just like Bush's attempted dismissal of O' Neill - "well he talked but I didn't listen." (paraphrase). Good going boss.

There is such a thing as a disgruntled former employer, you know. It seems to manifest the more unpleasant truths are being told.

Do I believe Clarke? Well, I don't know, I haven't read the book. Do I believe he knows a bargeload of information equalled perhaps only by Donald Rumsfeld and a very select few. Absolutely.

He should not be dismissed. I don't have much more to say.

These guys (and gals) do.

Talking PointsMemo - Skeptical of Rice, waiting to see what blows up regarding Clarke. Has some real insight of his own in a series of posts.

Oliver Willis has two good posts here and here (and, rarely, decent following comments for once)

Billmon details Clarke's less than liberal postions in an attempt to stop the distortion of the man (and it won't help).

CalPundit here and here tries to wrap his head around the incredulity of blanket denial by everyone in the Bush administration (and Dick Cheney was on the Rush Limbaugh show this morning - ah, nothing like being too busy to talk to the 9-11 commission)

Actually I do have more to say. The quotes coming from Rice and Hadley (Deputy National Security Adviser) seem to be way too convenient in trying to answer ALL the questions people have. This quoted at TPM is one example:
Hadley staunchly defended the president to Stahl: "The president heard those warnings. The president met daily with ... George Tenet and his staff. They kept him fully informed and at one point the president became somewhat impatient with us and said, 'I'm tired of swatting flies. Where's my new strategy to eliminate al Qaeda?'"

Hadley says that, contrary to Clarke's assertion, Mr. Bush didn't ignore the ominous intelligence chatter in the summer of 2001.

"All the chatter was of an attack, a potential al Qaeda attack overseas. But interestingly enough, the president got concerned about whether there was the possibility of an attack on the homeland. He asked the intelligence community: 'Look hard. See if we're missing something about a threat to the homeland.'


Those bolded comments seem just too good to be true. And, though I'm being nit-picky, did Bush really call America "the homeland" before 9-11?

Similarly, I heard Rice string together only about five sentences in a perfect response to every little question regarding Bush's culpability or interest in terrorism prior to 9-11. It was clearly complete BS because if there were such perfect little answers - they would have appeared before now. I realize how weak this paragraph is without a link; disregard if you wish.

And are we truly to believe, as Cheney asserts that the administration's counterterrorism coordinator was out of the loop on this one:
WASHINGTON - The White House on Monday intensified its criticism of former anti-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke, accusing him of inaccuracies and election-year grandstanding in a book that is sharply critical of President Bush's leadership in the war on terror. Clarke "wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff," Vice President Dick Cheney asserted.

Cheney suggested Clarke "may have had a grudge to bear," that he had left the White House after being passed over for a promotion.
If that is true, just how many emty-headed and empty-handed puppets did they have on staff. According to the Bush administration, when these people leave they are suddenly incompetent boobs .. um, er, who they hired or kept on.

It strains belief beyond all comprehension.