Sunday, July 08, 2007



And Byron ought to know all about what the lunatic fringe thinks-- but he doesn't. In fact, he apparently doesn't have a clue. Byron York is a right-wing propagandist who normal people normally aren't exposed to. That's because he does his ranting and raving in outre publications like the National Review and the Weekly Standard, for birdcage liners like the NY Post, and at other loss-leaders for the extreme right. Occasionally, he gets to spew his poison for the elderly and infirm who watch neo-fascist TV boobs O'Reilly and Hume. This morning, for some reason, the Washington Post decided to have him explain why far right extremists have abandoned Bush in an opinion piece titled Base to Bush: It's Over.

It goes straight downhill after the title. As with all Mr. York's endeavors, ignorance rules supreme. On July 6, the American Research Group released a poll that examines the public's reaction to the continued Bush Regime cover-up in the Valerie Plame case, delving into the question of the Libby pardon. Overall, voters disapproved of the commutation. 80% of independents and 76% of Democrats disapproved. So did 47% of Republicans. In York's delusional little world on the far right edge of the flat earth, he imagines half of the Republicans are mad at Bush because a commutation isn't the full pardon he and a few Inside the Beltway wingnut pals of his think Scooter deserves.
The president knew that Libby's most ardent partisans-- including the most powerful vice president in U.S. history-- opposed his spending even one night in jail. But for the base writ large, the case wasn't about Libby. It was about the politics of the Iraq war. A lot of conservatives had hoped for a full pardon because they wanted a strong White House statement that the CIA leak investigation had spun out of control, that it had grown from a set of crazy political circumstances and that the whole mad imbroglio should never have gotten as far as it did.

In short, they wanted something like the impassioned statement President George H.W. Bush issued in December 1992, when he pardoned former defense secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, former national security adviser Robert C. McFarlane, former assistant secretary of state Elliott Abrams and three other participants in the Iran-contra affair. (Abrams, by the way, is now a deputy national security adviser.) Back then, Bush said that patriotism was the "common denominator of their motivation." The president used the pardons as an opportunity to denounce what he called "a profoundly troubling development in the political and legal climate of our country: the criminalization of policy differences."

In the Libby case, there were no ringing declarations. Instead, this President Bush came up with a cramped, limited statement, commuting Libby's jail term while keeping (at least for now) his conviction, a $250,000 fine that he has already paid and two years of probation. One didn't have to read too far between the lines to guess that the president believes Libby to be guilty of perjury; just for good measure, Bush threw in some good words for Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald. The problem, the president said, wasn't that Fitzgerald had gone on a three-year fishing expedition that netted only Libby, or that the Iraq war's foes were using the CIA leak case to rehash their grievances against the original decision to invade; rather, the problem was simply that U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton's sentence was "excessive."

Pure, unadulterated drivel. The next question in the American Research Group delves a little further, asking "Do you favor or oppose a complete presidential pardon for Mr. Libby?" Had York's fantasy had any validity you would expect that Republicans, angry at Bush for his mealy-mouthed commute, would be clamoring for a full pardon, the way Fred Thompson, Byron York and other extremist kooks are. Unfortunately for his theory, Republican voters aren't nearly as crazy as Republican lobbyists and pundits. 70% of Republicans oppose a full pardon for Libby (as do 97% of independents and 82% of Democrats).

So you tell me? Why does a credible newspaper like the Washington Post hire a known extremist spinmeister to puke out baseless right-wing propaganda on its pages? Today's NY Times has a somewhat more salient editorial.

It comes a bit late but the Newspaper of Record has finally called on Bush to bring the troops home... now: "It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit." The Times seems unable to see its own complicity in the past 5 years of the Bush Regime's excesses.
Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a sign that President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of the disaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the face of global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.

At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq’s government, army, police and economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplish some of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building a stable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neither the vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawal date while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would most likely follow.

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs-- after elections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. But those milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable, democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr. Bush’s plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

The Times, from the very beginning, has treated the Bush Regime and its policies as legitimate and reasonable. They have served, though not as supinely as Fox, of course, as a mouthpiece for an authoritarian and tyrannical regime which has, to a great extent, rendered the American public pathetically impotent. Bush was allowed to steal two elections with impunity and to shred the Constitution daily. Now, suddenly, the NY Times says "This country faces a choice. We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage-- with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading." Insist? How do we do that?

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At 9:39 AM, Blogger mirth said...

There is no accountability, no confessions of complicity. The last editorial, the last column is where we are to focus.
Declining subscription numbers for both the NYT & the WP indicate awakening, but as you write, it's too damn late.
This is a fine post with clarifying analysis. V is the perfect kicker.

At 9:55 AM, Blogger woid said...

As an expat New Yorker, I still read the Times every day. Whenever one of their dull grey editorials says something like "the Bush administration should..." I stop reading right there. Looks like they've stepped up the rhetoric from suggesting to insisting. Lotta good that'll do.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

The funny thing about the NYT is that one today's front page, you get more drivel from Gordon declaring, "Love live the surge!!!!!" It would be nice to know what's going on there. I know the editorial page people don't talk to the regular editors, but still.

At 10:55 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I voiced many of the same thoughts on the NYT Editorial as you did.

They are part of a huge Corporation..they ARE BushCo's base now plus the small-minded radical, evil wingnut base that would attack just about any country at this point in time in the name of God and/or Country.

When it was disclosed that they witheld the wiretapping story until AFTER the election I lost all respect for their top level farkwits, which include their Editorial group.


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