Bush in Wonderland

by on July 18th, 2005

What have these guys been smoking?

Only in the Alice in Wonderland world of the Bush Administration where black is white, up is down, and government websites and reports are regularly edited to strip out facts that conflict with administration positions would Karl Rove’s assertion that he was only confirming reporters inquiries be offered as proof that “he was not involved” in the illegal outing of a CIA agent.

By his own admission Karl Rove served as a confirming source that led to publication of two articles identifying an undercover CIA operative. And then there is that little detail of Time correspondent Matt Cooper reporting that he first learned that Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA from Rove. Apparently, that meets the Bush administration definition of non-involvement.

And so there was former Rove deputy and current Republican National Committee chair Ken Mehlman Sunday on Meet The Press saying “the information that’s come out this week, that we all agree on, says they were not involved in a leak.” We’ll, at least now we know who is coaching Scott McClellan.

While it remains to be seen if Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will agree with the White House definition of “non-involvement,” I’m having a hard time buying into the idea that Karl Rove, the “architect” of the Republican majority, was just a passive observer in this nasty little mess. And apparently I am not the only one. The Los Angeles Times is reporting this morning (Monday) that Rove and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, the top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney were intensely focused on discrediting former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV in the days after he wrote an op-ed article for the New York Times suggesting the administration manipulated intelligence to justify going to war in Iraq.

To quote that political sage Homer Simpson, “Duh”!

But the reality is that whatever Rove, Libby and others in the White House may have done, the story of the outing of a CIA agent and the smearing of her husband, a life long public servant, is really not about Rove and Libby. No, what this story is really about is the honesty, character and integrity of President Bush and others in the Bush Administration, of which apparently, there is very little.

Regardless of whether Rove and Libby et al get “frog-marched” off to jail, the federal investigation into their actions have given the American people a birds eye view of how the Bush administration really works. Whether it’s changing factual information on health websites on family planning, erroneously editing scientific reports on global warming or manipulating intelligence in order to justify the war with Iraq, their modus operandi is the same – invent your own version of reality by denying the facts, lie about the information, and slander and attack anyone who dares to question you.

The latest example of thier duplicitousness can be seen in a a new effort by the Environmental Protection Agency to pay up to $5 million over five years for public relations activities including the ghostwriting of articles “for publication in scholarly journals and magazines,” as reported by Felicity Barringer in the New York Times Then there is the Administrations ongoing effort to undercut research on global warming. Republican Congressional Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas has launched an inquiry of a major scientific study of Tree Ring findings indicating an abnormal warming of the earth. As reported by Andrew C. Revkin in the New York Times, Barton, who heads the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has requested responses to criticisms of the study by two Canadians with no expertise in climate change, and asked for “raw data, documents and financial information.” Representative Sherwood Boehlert of New York, the chairman of the House Science Committee, has called Barton’s investigation “misguided and illegitimate.”

While the recent effort to spin away Karl Rove’s troubles is far from being the only example of Bush administration efforts to manipulate the truth, it may be the most egregious. The Republican National Committee talking points on the issue are enough to make your head hurt – and may be straining the Bush administrations credibility with the American people.

A new poll by ABC News finds that only 25 percent of Americans think the White House is fully cooperating in the federal investigation of the leak of a CIA operative’s identity. And three-quarters say that if presidential adviser Karl Rove was responsible for leaking classified information, it should cost him his job. Even among Republican’s, fewer than half (47 percent) say they believe the White House is fully cooperating. And it may be damaging the President. A recent NBC news poll finds that only 41 percent of Americans believe Bush is “honest and straightforward.”

I’m not sure that any of that matters to the Bush White House. They live in “their own reality.” But it may matter to Congressional Republicans who have their ass on the line in 2006, or have Presidential aspirations for 2008. If John McCain, who has had his own up close and personal experience with Karl Rove starts asking questions, watch out, the fur is about to fly.

John McDonald