So Much for Our Integrity And Independence

Captain Ed:

The White House hosted a blogger conference call to discuss the issues surrounding the Bush administration’s use of executive privilege in the probe of the firings of eight federal prosecutors. The White House arranged the call based on a recommendation by this blog, in order to familiarize the blogosphere with the legal and political arguments on which the administration will rely to prevail in the upcoming fight regarding the contempt citations Congress seems likely to approve.

Old Mantra: Blogs are a breath of fresh air because we are independent and can fact check your asses, and can work to defuse the spin of the liberal mainstream media.

New Mantra: Blogs are great because we can willingly serve as part of the Bush Administration’s propaganda apparatus.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. At least people are no longer pretending to have a shred of integrity and independence. Hacks.

*** Update ***

In the comments, Rick Moran writes:

Damn. And this thread was going so well…

My phone just rang. Howard Dean was on the line. I got a heads-up from Laura at the DNC about an hour ago. It was a great conversation. He explained the Dems new fundraising venture, Democracy Bonds, which launched this morning.

He wasn’t calling to ask for a personal donation. He was calling to say he’s excited about the new programs and website. We talked about Democratic values, and how we have to get the message out that we, not the Republicans, are the party of values. I completely agree with the Governor that we need to become known again for what we stand for.

Love the independence of the blogosphere, don’t you?

Before the stupid gets too far out of hand, let us note one thing. There is a substantive difference between bloggers working with parties in regards to advocacy and pursuing electoral issues, and an administration issuing talking points to bloggers to assist in blocking investigations into alleged criminal wrongdoings.

Really, this isn’t rocket science. I have no problem with bloggers organizing and meeting with the RNC and the DNC and whoever else to pursue legitimate political goals. I frown on bloggers coordinating to engage in spin brigades to cover-up alleged wrongdoings. Pretending they are the same thing is hack-fu (to borrow a term) of the first order.

Since I know the target audience is not susceptible to mere logic (not talking about Rick personally, but others on his side of the aisle), let me make it simpler. Do you have a problem with the President Hillary Clinton’s staff calling DKOS and ThinkProgress and whoever else in the spring of 2010 to work on election strategies for the mid-term? Of course you would not.

Do you have a problem with President Hillary Clinton, in the spring of 2010, calling bloggers and issuing talking points to subvert the investigations by a Republican Congress into alleged misdeeds and lies by her Attorney General, Pat Leahy? Of course you would.

Granted, that is a far-out fictional hypothetical, since there is no chance in hell Republicans will control Congress again for the next ten years, but you get the point.

*** Update #2 ***

Jon Henke has the new spin- those who object to coordinated efforts to steamroll investigations are irrational:

I’m not sure why allowing the White House to make their case requires loss of integrity or independence – I’d ask, only I value my independence and integrity too much to listen to the answer – but let’s assume that the critics have some psychic insight that makes up for their poor logic.

Silly me. This was not an attempt to issue talking points and orchestrate a spin campaign to deflect from alleged wrongdoing, just the WH “making their case.” Which, just by coincidence, will be repeated in the right wing blogosphere until it bubbles up into the mainstream media, fogging the issue and clouding the legitimate debate. Funny, that.

Jon goes on:

It’s time we stopped thinking of bloggers as a subset of opinion-journalists. Some may pursue that role, but the majority of political bloggers are just people with an interest in politics. Sometimes they will be journalists, sometimes they will be pundits, and sometimes they will be activists. When they believe in the cause, there’s nothing necessarily compromising about any of those approaches.

Kinda the point in the “Old Mantra/New mantra” above, Jon. The role of blogging for many is now to serve as party hack and apparatchiks- Karl Rove with a Keyboard if you will. I don’t think it is crazy or unfair to treat them as such.

At least Captain Ed is more honest with his hackery:

Jon Henke at QandO notes some of the more hysterical reaction to the notion of participating in a conference call with the White House. I won’t go into a long dissertation about this, but Jon notes that some of the same hysterics participate in other partisan conference calls themselves. I’m not sure what that has to do with “integrity”, especially since I made it plain where the information I reported originated. As far as “independence” goes, readers can judge that for themselves — but I somehow don’t think my repeated calls for Gonzales’ resignation come from a talking-points download from a Karl Rove brain implant.

See my first update.






77 replies
  1. 1
    MikeF says:

    Why would you expect them to be any different than the MSM? The corporations are quickly moving to gain control of the Internet as they have the “old media” and their corrupting influence is spreading everywhere. Even places where they wear pajamas.

  2. 2
    Cain says:

    I don’t think any amount of propaganda is going to help them. Only 25% of the country are really reading them seriously. The rest of us are just eating popcorn, laughing and pointing. Asses.

    Dear Leader I’m sure is glad to bring his legion of gasbags to bear on what’s left of his base.

    cain

  3. 3
    norbizness says:

    Marge: But what if they try and talk us into something?

    Homer: [Humored] Marge, Marge, Marge… remember when those smooth-talking guys tried to sell me a time share vacation condo?

    Marge: You bought four of them! Thank God the check bounced!

    Homer: So I beat the system!

    Lisa: Watch yourself, dad, you’re the highly suggestible type!

    Homer: [robotically] Yes, I am the highly suggestible type.

  4. 4
    jake says:

    Cut and paste and:

    New Mantra: Blogs are great because we can willingly serve as part of the Bush Administration’s propaganda apparatus and can work to defuse the spin of the liberal mainstream media.

    Fixed.

    Not that I see how this is much different for some of the blogs (I assume all right/far right) I guess now the relationship is official. I also don’t see how “Congress is a bunch of stoopid showoffs,” is much of an argument.

    If I were a cynical chap, I’d say that the White House is just really desperate for someone who’ll listen to their crap without laughing right in their face. THE BUSH GOD CRAVES YOUR WORSHIP. Clap harder!

  5. 5

    Captain of No One gets to voice his views. Just like Mike Gallagher dufus on legs gets to meet with the prez last fall.

    Self-aggrandising bullshit.

    Please let the next prez get the internet enough that s/he understands that there are crazies and deal with them summarily.

    THAT IS ALL
    sign off MISHA

    It’s a fem hijack of that good doggie — whatever.

  6. 6
    Sirkowski says:

    Why would wingnuts blogs need any explanation about executive privilege from the White House. Are they trying to fake some kind of objectivity?

    HA!

  7. 7
    scarshapedstar says:

    Hey, John, about that Astroturf Media tag…

  8. 8
    TenguPhule says:

    New Mantra: Blogs are great because we can willingly serve as part of the Bush Administration’s propaganda apparatus.

    There but for Terri Shiavo goes thee…

  9. 9
    r€nato says:

    So, if your approval ratings are 25%, doesn’t it make sense that you’d want to talk to that other 75% and try to win some of them over?

    I guess not, if you’re full of bullshit and the 75% have long ago been convinced of that.

  10. 10

    Serving Their Masters

    Right-wing bloggers like The Captain’s Quarters get personal talking points from the White House on executive privilege, also known as the administration covering its rear in the Alberto Gonzales Affair.

  11. 11
    yet another jeff says:

    Wonder how the call went?

    “Um…y’all get on your tubes and whatever and take care of them, k? I don’t wanna know the details, just do it.”

  12. 12
    DougJ says:

    This is pathetic of Ed.

    Don Surber never would have gone along with something like this.

  13. 13
    Spartacvs says:

    Per the Captain’s overlords:

    Executive privilege is particularly strong in this case. The power to hire and fire federal prosecutors belongs exclusively to the executive branch. Congress has no particular oversight in these matters, and so the executive privilege claim is very compelling in this instance.

    Whatever happened to the idea of executive privilege being limited to instances where oversight of the executive would impair that branch’s national security concerns as determined by US v Nixon?

    I guess they are saying impeachment is your only remedy Congress, bring it on and start the clock.

  14. 14
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    Captain Special Ed:

    I’m going to the white house…YAAAAAAY!

    Fixed.

  15. 15
    yet another jeff says:

    And this is the lesson learned from Nixon? That they can’t get you if you call everything executive priviledge enough? That the mistake was ever letting your aides show up to testify?

    Are people just stunned into inaction by the arrogance or is this some form of Stockholm syndrome where the White House press corps and Congress have been beaten to the point where they defend their abusers?

  16. 16
    Psycheout says:

    I wish we’d be used for once. The only thing we get are smears from the Denver Post and Salon. What a rip off.

    Captain Ed is a lucky man.

  17. 17
    Andrew says:

    Don Surber never would have gone along with something like this.

    Don’s too sexy for this conference call.

  18. 18
    Ripley says:

    The White House arranged the call based on a recommendation by this blog

    Mom! Mom! Look at me! Look! Mom! Look at me! Mom!

    MOM!!!!!!!

  19. 19
    Dave says:

    If the wingnut hyperventolatosphere is bent out of shape about a little read article, I cannot wait to see it in action if a Dem gets into the White House.

    I guess my question at that point is, who will be doling out their talking points?

  20. 20
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    I wish we’d be used for once. The only thing we get are smears from the Denver Post and Salon. What a rip off.

    Hey, at least the people at Daily Kos were talking about us today, and it was complimentary!

    Good wingnut blog source: Balloon Juice (48+ / 0-)

    If one ever has the itch to see what the neandrethals are foaming about lately I highly recommend Balloon Juice, helmed by an old homie of mine, John Cole, and some other guy I don’t know.

    Cole drank some magic mojo potion and is no longer a pod person, no longer a ranting lying American authoritarian freak Republican. He constantly trolls the wingnut blogs and calls them on their crap.

    It’s pretty funny, he always loses his patience doing it–you morons, I can’t believe how stupid you all are–but he keeps it up. It gives me some faith in the race to read him, and one should try at least to understand the foul creatures in the GOP, there has to be some kind value in that.

    by paradox on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 06:25:19 AM PDT

    Not a bad job John and that other guy who is unknown… ;)

    Hmmm, mojo juice? Is that milk and steroids? Next headline at the wingnut blogs:

    John Cole does steroids while DK viewers watch!

  21. 21
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    Oh, and a response to that at DK was:

    Yes, the redemption of John Cole (37+ / 0-)

    It was a beautiful thing. It was just about a year ago that he totally lost it and flipped out on the GOP. I forget the specific incident, but he finally realized who and what he’d been shilling for, and he was ashamed of it.

    Ace, Redhate, the usual suspects pronounced him dead to the cause and he was ritually excommunicated, but he earned my grudging respect for publicly and forcefully repudiating the bullshit he’d been spewing for so long.

    May there be a thousand more like him. Ten thousand more. Ten million more.

    Every day’s another chance to stick it to The Man. – dls.

    by The Raven on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 07:23:35 AM PDT

  22. 22
    Pb says:

    I’ll just mention that the whole blogger conference call thing isn’t new–in fact, there have been a fair number of those going around lately, along with the occasional flack posting official info directly to the blogs. However, this is the first time I’ve heard of a blogger conference call coming directly from the White House–usually they have to at least send their talking points through a fax machine first, or something.

    But when it comes to knowing what they’re doing, (as opposed to what they’re saying) I just read the blogs–TPM Muckraker covered this one pretty well recently:

    Following Gonzales’ testimony, Democrats’ contention that there was only one warrantless surveillance program was bolstered by the release of a May 2006 letter from John Negroponte, then the director of national intelligence, specifying that the March 10, 2004 meeting was, indeed, a TSP meeting. In response, an anonymous DOJ official told the Washington Post that in his testimony on Tuesday Gonzales “did not say that the TSP was not discussed at the meeting” — underscoring the absurdity of the distinction that the administration is still trying to draw. Similarly, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee today that he and Comey had objections to the “much discussed” NSA program, a reference clear in context to the TSP.

    In essence, the issue is this: if Gonzales succeeds in convincing the committee that there really is a material distinction between the program as it existed before and after Comey’s intervention, he won’t just save himself from perjury. He will perhaps have preserved an administration strategy of concealing the scope of Program X from the public and most of Congress — making it appear that the program that Bush disclosed in December 2005, incorporating Comey’s objections, is the same program that existed since October 2001, long before Comey put the brakes on at least some aspects of it. That may be at the heart of the White House’s claim of executive privilege to prevent the Senate Judiciary Committee from seeing documents detailing the genesis of Program X.

    You see, it depends on what the definition of “is” is.

  23. 23
    Lupin says:

    As is often the case, Jeralyn has pretty much the defintive legal analysis / deconstruction of what was said on her blog.

  24. 24
    jake says:

    I wish we’d be used for once.

    Don’t worry Psyche. With time and effort you too can over come the RC fetish for being used. Let me know if you need help.

  25. 25
    Wilfred says:

    I can’t believe it:

    Every day’s another chance to stick it to The Man. – dls.

    by The Raven on Fri Jul 27, 2007 at 07:23:35 AM PDT

    Conservatively Liberal quoth The Raven. Blogs are ggggggggreat!

  26. 26
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    I look at it this way. It takes a secure person to admit when they have made a mistake. That is one thing that I have drilled into our kids since they first started talking. They in turn have reinforced that by applying what I have taught them on myself. Over the years, I have made mistakes of one sort of another in dealing with them. When I do, they call me on it and if they are right (as they usually are), I apologize to them and thank them for correcting me.

    When this has happened, I can see that they are not gleeful in catching me at some mistake, rather they know that what they say has meaning to someone, and that their word is valued. There may be some lighthearted ribbing afterward, but it is never the ‘Ha ha! I was right and you were wrong!’, but more like a release of tension, an acknowledgment that the issue has been resolved once and for all.

    I have nothing but the highest respect for someone who can admit their shortcomings or mistakes. This shows me that they place a higher value on truth than being right. That is one lesson that our President has never learned, thus I have no respect for the man. I can say the same for many other politicians out there, both Dems and Repubs.

    As I have stated elsewhere here, nobody is perfect. Those who purport that they are perfect earn my scorn. John has earned my repect, and I like his honesty so much that his blog is the first (and only) one that I have ever contributed money to. As it is now, I only post at this blog as I find the views expressed here open and honest. I know nothing of John personally, but I know he is the kind of person that I could enjoy sitting at a bar with while shooting the breeze over a couple of beers.

    Some value a person who sticks to their guns, right or wrong. Others value a person who above all speaks the truth, even if they are proven wrong.

    I proudly count myself among the latter group of people. They are damn good company to keep.

  27. 27
    Rick Moran says:

    Damn. And this thread was going so well…

    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2005/06/28/102/40677

    My phone just rang. Howard Dean was on the line. I got a heads-up from Laura at the DNC about an hour ago. It was a great conversation. He explained the Dems new fundraising venture, Democracy Bonds, which launched this morning.

    He wasn’t calling to ask for a personal donation. He was calling to say he’s excited about the new programs and website. We talked about Democratic values, and how we have to get the message out that we, not the Republicans, are the party of values. I completely agree with the Governor that we need to become known again for what we stand for.

    Love the independence of the blogosphere, don’t you?

  28. 28

    […] In the comments, Rick Moran writes: […]

  29. 29
    CaseyL says:

    I think all three comments are spot on, don’t you?

    Nope.

    One is a distribution of talking points from the White House to avoid legal consequences of consistent criminal behavior.

    The other is a fund raising and tactical campaign call from a political organization whose job it is to raise money and run campaigns.

    Repeating an erroneous point three times doesn’t make it any truer.

  30. 30
    scarshapedstar says:

    Here I was thinking that Howard Dean wasn’t on the government payroll!

  31. 31
    jake says:

    Hey kids let’s play Compare and Contrast!

    My phone just rang. Howard Dean was on the line. I got a heads-up from Laura at the DNC about an hour ago.

    A senior official called Congress’ action an extraordinary act.

    See any differences? See anything odd about the differences?

  32. 32
    Jon Henke says:

    John, I like you and have no problem with your disappointment with the Republican Party. I share it, though I see it more as an opportunity to make things better, rather than a time to throw up my hands and walk away. However, this…

    Since I know the target audience is not susceptible to mere logic … I have no problem with bloggers organizing and meeting with the RNC and the DNC and whoever else to pursue legitimate political goals. I frown on bloggers coordinating to engage in spin brigades to cover-up alleged wrongdoings. Pretending they are the same thing is hack-fu (to borrow a term) of the first order.

    …is grossly unfair. Without getting into the merits of each issue – on which I either have no opinions, or opinions that might surprise you – why is meeting with Congressional Democrats to coordinate talking points and activity on an area of mutual agreement acceptable, but approaching the White House to coordinate talking points and activity on an area of mutual agreement unacceptable? (and what makes you think Democrats don’t communicate with bloggers and other allies to coordinate messages on many issues? Of course they do…why in the world would we have a problem with that?)

    You assume, with no apparent basis, that the Left-leaning groups are sincere in their activity, but the right-leaning bloggers are insincere or operating out of less-than-genuine motivations. There’s no justification for that assumption.

    I understand your deep disappointment with the Right over the past few years, and I share much of it. But – like Andrew Sullivan, with whom I am also quite sympathetic – you’ve allowed your disappointment and anger at many Republicans to turn into a generalized cynicism against virtually everybody on the Right. Instead of disagreeing with their arguments, you’ve reflexively assumed dishonesty from Ed Morrissey (re: that issue), myself (re: my post) and others.

    That’s probably cathartic, but the assumption of bad faith is every bit as unbecoming in you as it is in, say, those on on the Right who assume that opposition to the war or other policies must be dishonest.

    You and I probably agree on much more than we disagree – and perhaps more than you might think – but I object to being called a ‘hack’ or ‘stupid’ for not sharing your assumption of dishonesty.

  33. 33
    ThymeZone says:

    Interesting topic. I think that journalism, as a profession, has a tradition of expectation that includes independence and distance from power and influence, so that if we see Tim Russert at a REdskins game enjoying the company (and the food and the drink and the comradeship) of the powerful, we are disturbed.

    And, as luck would have it, we do see the Russerts and the others doing just that, and see them bending over before the powerful, and we are chagrined.

    So my question is, why would we expect bloggers to be different, in the final analysis, from journalists, from politicians, and from being human?

    Aren’t some bloggers going to strive to maintain the distance, and aren’t some going to try to become insiders? Just like other people?

    So isn’t the remedy to expose the behaviors and hold bloggers accountable, just as we try to hold journalists and politicians accountable?

  34. 34
    Xanthippas says:

    Aren’t some bloggers going to strive to maintain the distance, and aren’t some going to try to become insiders? Just like other people?

    So isn’t the remedy to expose the behaviors and hold bloggers accountable, just as we try to hold journalists and politicians accountable?

    Yeah, that’s what’s going on here. Some of these bloggers want to pretend their independent, but really what they crave more than anything is a little bit of attention from their masters. So do some journalists, so that’s a fair enough comparison. Of course, these right-wing bloggers are even more craven and hypocritical about it, so they’re more fun to mock.

  35. 35
    John Cole says:

    However, this……is grossly unfair. Without getting into the merits of each issue – on which I either have no opinions, or opinions that might surprise you – why is meeting with Congressional Democrats to coordinate talking points and activity on an area of mutual agreement acceptable, but approaching the White House to coordinate talking points and activity on an area of mutual agreement unacceptable? (and what makes you think Democrats don’t communicate with bloggers and other allies to coordinate messages on many issues? Of course they do…why in the world would we have a problem with that?)

    While you may feel it is grossly unfair, you have proven it to be remarkably accurate. Allow me to say it again:

    I have no problem with Democratic or Republican Bloggers meeting and organizing in regards to political advocacy. In fact, I support it.

    I have all sorts of problems with the same groups getting together for the express purpose of galvanizing talking points to impede investigations into alleged wrongdoing.

    There is a fundamental difference. Additionally, I am unpersuaded by your “DEMOCRATS DO IT TOO” defense (“and what makes you think Democrats don’t communicate with bloggers and other allies to coordinate messages on many issues?”)- what are we- twelve?

    The simple fact of the matter is that many in the right-wing blogosphere pretend to be independent but have morphed from fact-checkers to fluffers, and you seem to have no problem with that:

    It’s time we stopped thinking of bloggers as a subset of opinion-journalists. Some may pursue that role, but the majority of political bloggers are just people with an interest in politics. Sometimes they will be journalists, sometimes they will be pundits, and sometimes they will be activists. When they believe in the cause, there’s nothing necessarily compromising about any of those approaches.

    They, of course, are free to do whatever they want, just as I am free to point out they are little more than party apparatchiks. I won’t consider theirs to be independent thought, and will just remember when I visit Captain Ed and others I am not getting the unvarnished truth from their perspective, but what Karl Rove wants me to hear.

    Seems fair to me.

  36. 36
    John Cole says:

    I understand your deep disappointment with the Right over the past few years, and I share much of it. But – like Andrew Sullivan, with whom I am also quite sympathetic – you’ve allowed your disappointment and anger at many Republicans to turn into a generalized cynicism against virtually everybody on the Right. Instead of disagreeing with their arguments, you’ve reflexively assumed dishonesty from Ed Morrissey (re: that issue), myself (re: my post) and others.

    I probably am unfair to some people, others do not get what they deserve. I have noted that I think Captain Ed tries to be fair (to the ridicule of my commenters), but what can you say when it appears that his disappointment with Gonzalez is not because of incompetence or wrongdoing, but because his continued existence in that role hurts the party? Am I supposed to be cheering his integrity?

  37. 37
    demimondian says:

    JC, here, is surprised by the Captain Ed’s announcement. Well, so am I — but for very different reasons.

    I remind people that after the 2006 election, Rush Limbaugh trumpeted his joy at no longer having to “carry water” for the incompetents in the White House. Hugh Hewitt proclaimed that he was “relieved” to no longer feel constrained to defend the current administration. These men, and others, underhandedly admitted that they’d been lying, repeatedly, because, I guess, the Democrats would be worse.

    So what? Well, John’s distressed by the fact that the White House is dictating talking points to the blogs in order to muddy the debate and obscure the truth. Me, I’m surprised that they finally admitted it.

  38. 38
    Tim F. says:

    It seems to me that the appearance of politica independence is extremely important to a large number of rightwing bloggers. Many like Glenn Reynolds claim libertarianism (ludicrously, given their positions) to avoid looking like party apparatchiks. People generally understand that in the blogosphere your primary currency is your credibility.

    To me the problem with Ed isn’t really that he committed some cardinal sin; he didn’t. RedState and Daily Kos sit in on conference calls like this once a week at least, but that’s fine because everybody knows that’s what they are. The ideas behind a given post could as easily come from party HQ as from the author himself.

    What surprised me is that Ed has a fair amount of credibility in the bank. For a while I thought of him as a reasonable, middle of the road conservative with decent instincts, a guy who came froma different perspective from me but still has no problem calling a spade a spade. I would cite him a lot more if his RSS fees was easier to find, since that’s how I read blogs.

    Now I don’t think that anymore. Ed’s just another party apparatchik whose posts might come from his head or from RNC HQ, who can tell? He did himself the same disservice that the Lincoln Group did to Iraqi journalism when it handed out cash for positive press. Suddenly life got harder for average journalists because if he wrote an America-friendly piece everyone would figure that he’s on the take.

    IMV Ed didn’t break any particular blogosphere law, he just moved from one niche to another. Given the value of independence and credibility in blogging it strikes me as safe to call the move a voluntary demotion.

  39. 39
    Jon Henke says:

    I have all sorts of problems with the same groups getting together for the express purpose of galvanizing talking points to impede investigations into alleged wrongdoing.

    Again, you assume that they agree with your premises that there was wrongdoing that needs to be investigated and that the investigation process is proper. I don’t know that they agree with that.

    On exactly similar grounds, there is substantial legal argument to be made that the Democratic attempts to wrest control of the Iraq war away from the President is, itself, an unconstitutional assertion of Congressional power over military strategy. Does that mean groups coordinating with Congressional Democrats similarly lack integrity for doing so?

    I am unpersuaded by your “DEMOCRATS DO IT TOO” defense (“and what makes you think Democrats don’t communicate with bloggers and other allies to coordinate messages on many issues?”)- what are we- twelve?

    I think you’re confusing tu quoque for the actual argument I made. I didn’t say “it’s ok for Republicans to do it, because Democrats do it, too”. I said I have no problem with either group doing that. You asked me if my defense of those bloggers was one-sided or applied to both sides – a categorical imperative test – and I said it applied to both sides. That is not tu quoque.

    I think you’ll agree with that after a bit of reflection.

    The simple fact of the matter is that many in the right-wing blogosphere pretend to be independent but have morphed from fact-checkers to fluffers, and you seem to have no problem with that:

    Are you kidding? Have you read the blogging I’ve done in the past couple years? When blogging, I routinely get reamed by commenters for pointing out that a lot of what Righty bloggers and pundits say is…well, dumb. I’ll provide links, if you’d like.

    Again, you’ve assumed the worst of me based on a position with which you disagree, but which I consistently apply to both Left and Right.

    At any rate, the idea that people – bloggers included – are Objective and entirely rational in their approach, rather than susceptible to playing “team” politics is…naive. It’s always been that way, on both the Right and the Left, though – confirmation bias – people tend to see what they’re looking for.

  40. 40
    John Cole says:

    That is accurate as well, but I think the nature of the issue is a crucial distinction, as well. I have no problem 9and encourage) right-wing blogs meeting with the white house in conference calls to discuss social security legislation, the war in Iraq, etc. I have a real problem with the dissemination of spin in regards to alleged wrongdoing.

    The two are not the same.

  41. 41
    John Cole says:

    Are you kidding? Have you read the blogging I’ve done in the past couple years? When blogging, I routinely get reamed by commenters for pointing out that a lot of what Righty bloggers and pundits say is…well, dumb. I’ll provide links, if you’d like.

    Many does not necessarily mean you, Jon. I haven’t been paying close attention, but I will gladly take you at your word, which has always been good with me.

    Again, you assume that they agree with your premises that there was wrongdoing that needs to be investigated and that the investigation process is proper. I don’t know that they agree with that.

    This is an absurd standard. Are you stating that as long as someone doesn’t agree that anything wrong has happened that needs to be investigated, it is AOK for them to impede or work to obfuscate the facts regarding the investigation. Many people felt there was no need to investigate Scooter Libby, who is now a convicted felon.

  42. 42
    demimondian says:

    On exactly similar grounds, there is substantial legal argument to be made that the Democratic attempts to wrest control of the Iraq war away from the President is, itself, an unconstitutional assertion of Congressional power over military strategy. Does that mean groups coordinating with Congressional Democrats similarly lack integrity for doing so?

    How can you say that and retain anything like credibility? Madison himself, in the Federalist Papers, talked about exactly this kind of situation, pointing out that the Congress was supposed to be able to rein in an out of control executive through the power of the purse.

    Henke, that’s pure hackery.

  43. 43
    ThymeZone says:

    Madison himself, in the Federalist Papers, talked about exactly this kind of situation

    But Madison is not to be trusted. We all know that. He is the same guy who argued that we can’t infringe rights (such as the ones in the Bill of Rights) “under any pretext.” Well, that’s just extreme. Of course there are going to be circumstances where rights have to be infringed.

    Madison could not have anticipated 9-11 and therefore cannot be relied on to guide us in troubled times like these. The righties know this …. isn’t it time we woke up to that reality?

    Demi?

  44. 44
    demimondian says:

    Madison could not have anticipated 9-11 and therefore cannot be relied on to guide us in troubled times like these. The righties know this … isn’t it time we woke up to that reality?

    TZ, your diaper needs changing.

  45. 45

    […] Or there was this from John Cole: Old Mantra: Blogs are a breath of fresh air because we are independent and can fact check your asses, and can work to defuse the spin of the liberal mainstream media. […]

  46. 46

    On exactly similar grounds, there is substantial legal argument to be made that the Democratic attempts to wrest control of the Iraq war away from the President is, itself, an unconstitutional assertion of Congressional power over military strategy.

    Christ, I didn’t realize you were a spoof until now.

  47. 47
    ThymeZone says:

    TZ, your diaper needs changing.

    Okay, but what about my question?

    :)

  48. 48
    Jon Henke says:

    This is an absurd standard. Are you stating that as long as someone doesn’t agree that anything wrong has happened that needs to be investigated, it is AOK for them to impede or work to obfuscate the facts regarding the investigation.

    Again, I think you’re assuming intentions on the other side that are not necessarily reflective of their understanding. I’m not saying I agree with them, just that you can’t claim on matters of opinion that your premise is right and disagreement equals dishonesty. I’m making an argument about process, not about the underlying merits.

    How can you say that and retain anything like credibility? Madison himself, in the Federalist Papers, talked about exactly this kind of situation, pointing out that the Congress was supposed to be able to rein in an out of control executive through the power of the purse.

    You’ve abused my point without grasping it. I wholeheartedly agree that Congress retains the power of the purse and has the absolute right to end the war by cutting off funding. It is an important power of Congress, and it may be worthwhile to use it.

    However, that is not what they’ve tried to do.

  49. 49
    jake says:

    TZ, your diaper needs changing.

    9/11 Changed TZ’s Diaper.

    Handy thing that 9/11.

    I’m not sure what that has to do with “integrity”, especially since I made it plain where the information I reported originated.

    Did I miss the part where he names the person who conducted the call? [Gasp!] Maybe the official doesn’t exist. Maybe it’s all made up to make the White House look bad!

  50. 50
    ThymeZone says:

    However, that is not what they’ve tried to do.

    A very clever argument. But after seven years of government by clever argument, if you don’t mind, I’d like something a little more useful than this.

    If you just look at the Bush administration as a corporation of clever arguments, it looks really … clever. At the same time, they have managed to mire the country in a useless war, trash the Constitution, lose the respect and trust of the American people, and make the United States look inept and clumsy on a world scale.

    So clever just ain’t what it used to be.

  51. 51
    ThymeZone says:

    9/11 Changed TZ’s Diaper.

    Several times just in that one day, really.

  52. 52
    Xrlq says:

    I have a real problem with the dissemination of spin in regards to alleged wrongdoing.

    The two are not the same.

    When the allegations of “wrongdoing” are based on such hair-trigger charges as “the executive branch fired a bunch of at-will employees of the executive branch for reasons that the legislative branch may not agree with,” the two are exactly the same. If/when the Democrats ever outgrow their nasty habit of trying to criminalize every policy disagreement under then, then and only then will it make sense to draw any such distinctions. Even then, it won’t make sense to condemn one side for supposedly taking talking points on any matter while condoning the other side doing The. Same. Goddamned. Thing. with regard to The. Same Goddamned. Controversy. Unless, of course, your position is that it’s generally AOK to coordinate one’s efforts with the prosecution but not the defense.

  53. 53
    whatsleft says:

    “the executive branch fired a bunch of at-will employees

    Even if the reason those employees were fired was to prevent exposure of criminal behavior?

  54. 54
    jg says:

    On exactly similar grounds, there is substantial legal argument to be made that the Republican attempts to wrest control of the Somalia war away from the President is, itself, an unconstitutional assertion of Congressional power over military strategy.

    Would you still agree with the point?

    IMO Congress runs this country, not the President. The executive is simply not the most powerful branch of our government and does not have any unchecked powers. Secrets can be kept to ensure national security but the secret must be kept among a group that includes Congress. The executive can not operate in secrecy on any issue. Period.

  55. 55
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    I remember some quaint information from high school about how there are three ‘co-equal branches of government’. I guess 9-11 changed that. According to the right, 9-11 changed everything.

    Hmmm, I still need to breathe. I still need to mow the lawn. I still need to take the garbage out.

    Damn you 9-11, you did NOT change everything! Even TZ got a diaper change several times that day, why was I left out of this change?

    Oh, anyone remember some guy named Osama Bin ummmmmm… what was it? Oh! Osama Bin Forgotten, anyone remember this guy? Last I heard, he is hiding in the backyard of an ally of ours.

    What ever happened to the ‘we will find the terrorists wherever they are’, or ‘if your country is harboring a terrorist, we will go after him’?

    Well? I wonder if these bloggers that conferenced with the White House asked about the above.

    No? Go figure…

  56. 56
    Xrlq says:

    Even if the reason those employees were fired was to prevent exposure of criminal behavior?

    What criminal behavior? Disagreement with you? If there were any evidence of genuinely criminal behavior prior to the attorneys’ firings, Congress could and should investigate that. There would be no need to investigate the firings themselves, the reasons for which are none of Congress’s goddamned business.

    If there were any evidence of that,

    IMO Congress runs this country, not the President.

    Your O and $7.50 will buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It’s the Constitution’s O that matters, and that O vests just as much power in the executive branch as the legislative.

  57. 57
    cain says:

    On exactly similar grounds, there is substantial legal argument to be made that the Democratic attempts to wrest control of the Iraq war away from the President is, itself, an unconstitutional assertion of Congressional power over military strategy. Does that mean groups coordinating with Congressional Democrats similarly lack integrity for doing so?

    Really? Then what is your opinion of the Republican congress when they tried to force Clinton to withdraw from Bosnia? You’ll remember the grandstanding that Newt and others.

    You can’t say congressional power when you’re a majority in Congress and then switch to executive power when you’re in control of the White House.

    The problem with conservatives these days is that they believe only the Republican party holds conservative values. By making that assertion you’re willing change the definition of conservatism to match whatever the Republican party is doing.

    Small government conservatives should be very concerned with the number of executive power grabs that is being amassed. No one man should have that kind of power. Being a Republican doesn’t automatically make you good as we’ve seen from the series of scandals that have occured. We all should be vigilant over our freedoms because it doesn’t take much to lose it.

    If I were you, I’d revisit how the Nazi party gained power and how Hitler was able to gain control of the entire country. Replace Jews with Liberals/Brown People and see how well it fits.

    cain

  58. 58
    RSA says:

    When the allegations of “wrongdoing” are based on such hair-trigger charges as “the executive branch fired a bunch of at-will employees of the executive branch for reasons that the legislative branch may not agree with,”. . .

    Let’s say you’ve been fired. You ask your boss why, and he says that it’s because you’re incompetent. You protest, so he claims to have misspoken and then comes up with other reasons. Oddly enough, other people who meet those precise criteria have been kept on. When you try to find out exactly how the firing decision was made, you discover that there was a list put together, but no one can remember who put the names on the list. Your boss happens to be adding to his reputation in other matters, as a liar as well as an incompetent. What are you supposed to think?

  59. 59
    Jon Henke says:

    Would you still agree with the point?

    I would. However, I would note that the President was not forced by Congress to change policy in Somalia. Congress expressed significant displeasure and threatened to either cut funding or to end the authorization (which some suggested had already been fulfilled). In response, Clinton set his own date for withdrawal, suggested it to Congress and got their agreement. The date was his own, not that of Congress. And the attempts to change policy in Somalia were bipartisan, indeed, they were led by a few Democrats. (Byrd, I think it was)

    That said, had the Republicans tried to coerce specific policies with funding, I would still make that same point. In general, I think we need to return to declarations of war, so that we don’t end up with this indefinite balance of power we currently have. And if we were less interventionist as a result…well, that would be fine by me.

  60. 60
    cain says:

    Jon,
    Sorry it was Somalia, as you’ve correctly stated.

    cain

  61. 61
    jake says:

    Let’s say you’ve been fired. You ask your boss why, and he says that it’s because you’re incompetent. You protest, so he claims to have misspoken and then comes up with other reasons.

    RSA brings up a vital point. If the Admin had just said: “Because we can,” we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    I think anyone, regardless of political affiliation, can agree that if any person makes a statement and then contradicts that statement and then contradicts those statements and then says they can’t remember what happened and finally claims the whole thing is a secret and neither they nor anyone else can discuss the previous statements, I think anyone can agree that sort of behavior is pretty damn suspicious and warrants further investigation.

  62. 62
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    Clinton was not forced to change policy in Somalia. The Congress told him that they were upset, and that they were considering cutting off funding. Clinton changed the policy and the Congress agreed, with some bi-partisan support.

    Fast forward to now: Congress is upset with the mess in Iraq. Bush refuses to change policy. The Democrats in Congress are unable to cut off funding of the war due to the Republicans running interference for Bush, and some invertebrates of their own.

    Clinton saw that public opinion had changed and he changed too. Bush is ignoring the public opinion, and he refuses to change course. In Somalia, we lost a few guys and Clinton pulled out. In Iraq, we have lost over 3,600 people and Bush refuses to pull out.

    Less/no interventions and real declarations of war based on an actual attack against us by that nation would be best.

    Pre-emptive war is unamerican, IMO. Especially when that war is based on cooked up ‘intelligence’…

  63. 63
    Andrei says:

    Henke said:

    That said, had the Republicans tried to coerce specific policies with funding, I would still make that same point. In general, I think we need to return to declarations of war, so that we don’t end up with this indefinite balance of power we currently have. And if we were less interventionist as a result…well, that would be fine by me.

    Wonder if you’ve ever heard the term, “too little too late?”

  64. 64
    demimondian says:

    I wholeheartedly agree that Congress retains the power of the purse and has the absolute right to end the war by cutting off funding. It is an important power of Congress, and it may be worthwhile to use it.

    However, that is not what they’ve tried to do.

    On the contrary, that is *exactly* what they have tried to do. Each of the bills over which there has been a fight has been an appropriations bill, and each of them is actually a bill which says “no money may be disbursed for the purpose of [blah] after [bleh],” where the value of [blah] and [bleh] depends on the bill.

    The power of the purse is far more flexible than people believe. That’s its design — a recalcitrant Executive which respects its role can be forced to behave exactly as the Congress intends by virtue of being told “You’ll do this, or you’ll do nothing.”

  65. 65
    demimondian says:

    As several commenters have said, the issue that led to the original hearings was possibly — although not certainly — entirely within the President’s purview. That’s not the point: the Attorney General and his staff lied about the reasons, and that made the situation very different. I suspect that had they simply said “The USAs serve at the pleasure of the President,” the whole thing would have gone away.

    That said, the question of whether Carol Lam was forced out to end the Duke Cunningham investigation is very important. That would constitute obstruction of justice, which is clearly illegal on my planet.

  66. 66

    […] All he needs is the cape, the cane, and the turban, because he obviously has the crystal ball: Do you have a problem with President Hillary Clinton, in the spring of 2010, calling bloggers and issuing talking points to subvert the investigations by a Republican Congress into alleged misdeeds and lies by her Attorney General, Pat Leahy? Of course you would. […] Which, just by coincidence, will be repeated in the right wing blogosphere until it bubbles up into the mainstream media, fogging the issue and clouding the legitimate debate. […]

  67. 67
    TenguPhule says:

    ? If there were any evidence of genuinely criminal behavior prior to the attorneys’ firings, Congress could and should investigate that. There would be no need to investigate the firings themselves, the reasons for which are none of Congress’s goddamned business.

    Shorter Xrig: I have no idea what the fuck I’m saying.

    The whole point of Bush’s firing the DAs was because they wouldn’t play ball with breaking federal law under Gonzo. It was DESIGNED to impede discovery about prior crimes which is a simple point the Republican Taliban keeps trying to muck up.

  68. 68
    Jon Henke says:

    Pre-emptive war is unamerican, IMO.

    Preemptive war may or may not be a good idea on a case-by-case basis, but it’s not intrinsically “unamerican”. There’s nothing unamerican, or immoral, about preempting a clear threat, under some (but not all) circumstances. People simply differ about what constitutes a clear threat, and what circumstances justify that preemption.

    In any event, you might want to take that up with Howard Dean, who has said that the United States has always had a doctrine of preemption.

  69. 69
    jg says:

    Xrlq Says:

    IMO Congress runs this country, not the President.

    Your O and $7.50 will buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It’s the Constitution’s O that matters, and that O vests just as much power in the executive branch as the legislative.

    Is any of the executives power unchecked?

    demimondian Says:

    As several commenters have said, the issue that led to the original hearings was possibly—although not certainly—entirely within the President’s purview. That’s not the point: the Attorney General and his staff lied about the reasons, and that made the situation very different. I suspect that had they simply said “The USAs serve at the pleasure of the President,” the whole thing would have gone away.

    Another big issue is that they were replaced by new people who didn’t have to be confirmed thanks to the changes made to the bill that can’t be voted against because of its name.

    Jon Henke Says:

    Pre-emptive war is unamerican, IMO.

    Preemptive war may or may not be a good idea on a case-by-case basis, but it’s not intrinsically “unamerican”. There’s nothing unamerican, or immoral, about preempting a clear threat, under some (but not all) circumstances.

    I disagree. Since the framers did not want us to maintain an army at peacetime and since they made sure that the power to declare war rested with the people to ensure an executive couldn’t declare pet wars, I would think ‘pre-emptive’ war is very unamerican.

  70. 70
    The Other Andrew says:

    I’d like to thank the conservatives who have commented in this thread, as they’re surely reminding John why he’s had to turn against them…

  71. 71
    TenguPhule says:

    Shorter Jon Henke: War is Peace.

    Because only fapping to dead bodies gets his Jonny up.

  72. 72
    Xrlq says:

    Let’s say you’ve been fired. You ask your boss why, and he says that it’s because you’re incompetent. You protest, so he claims to have misspoken and then comes up with other reasons. Oddly enough, other people who meet those precise criteria have been kept on. When you try to find out exactly how the firing decision was made, you discover that there was a list put together, but no one can remember who put the names on the list. Your boss happens to be adding to his reputation in other matters, as a liar as well as an incompetent. What are you supposed to think?

    As “luck” would have it, your hypothetical fits what did happen to me last month to a tee. That doesn’t mean I can sue the a-hole who did it, and certainly doesn’t mean he committed a crime. Or does it? If you can think of any coherent legal theory that would put my ex-boss behind bars, I’d love to hear it.

  73. 73
    ConservativelyLiberal says:

    In any event, you might want to take that up with Howard Dean, who has said that the United States has always had a doctrine of preemption.

    I guess opinions are like A-holes…

    Pre-emptive war is unamerican. To me, it is like beating the crap out of a neighbor that I think may beat me up one day. I could be wrong, but just to be safe I better knock the crap out of him so my other neighbors know not to mess with me.

    Afterwards, try explaining to the police, let alone the judge, my reasons for beating the crap out of the neighbor. You think that they would understand? I doubt it. I would properly be convicted and locked up for assault.

    Don’t waste your time telling me that my analogy is apples and oranges. It is not. In the court of world opinion, we are the bullies that invaded Iraq on lies that our lying president and his cronies came up with. Saddam was a vicious SOB, but he was our SOB. We nurtured him, we supplied him, and when he outlived his usefulness, we took him out.

    Hell, in the Iraq-Iran war we supplied Saddam and the Iranians. We played both sides against each other, and Saddam thought he was doing us a favor after the hostage crisis. But does the right, who rabidly hate Iran, care one bit that their hero made illegal deals with Iran? Nope. They hold Raygun up like he is some god or deity to worship.

    Sonny Bush tried to come up with a coalition like Daddy Bush did in the first gulf war, and we ended up having to pay through the nose to get our ‘allies’ on board. And the support they gave us was token at best. Just enough to collect the $$$ that we were waving at them.

  74. 74
    Jon Henke says:

    Shorter Jon Henke: War is Peace. Because only fapping to dead bodies gets his Jonny up.

    In the future, please try to argue with me and my own positions, instead of the positions you imagine I might have. I’m sure it’s fun to assume all opponents can be represented by the crayon caricatures you draw, but your caricature of my position is puerile and incorrect.

  75. 75
    John Cole says:

    As “luck” would have it, your hypothetical fits what did happen to me last month to a tee. That doesn’t mean I can sue the a-hole who did it, and certainly doesn’t mean he committed a crime. Or does it? If you can think of any coherent legal theory that would put my ex-boss behind bars, I’d love to hear it.

    Is there anything we can do to help?

  76. 76
    Xrlq says:

    No, I’m all right but thanks for asking.

  77. 77
    TenguPhule says:

    I’m sure it’s fun to assume all opponents can be represented by the crayon caricatures you draw, but your caricature of my position is puerile and incorrect.

    Irony of the Day.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] All he needs is the cape, the cane, and the turban, because he obviously has the crystal ball: Do you have a problem with President Hillary Clinton, in the spring of 2010, calling bloggers and issuing talking points to subvert the investigations by a Republican Congress into alleged misdeeds and lies by her Attorney General, Pat Leahy? Of course you would. […] Which, just by coincidence, will be repeated in the right wing blogosphere until it bubbles up into the mainstream media, fogging the issue and clouding the legitimate debate. […]

  2. […] Or there was this from John Cole: Old Mantra: Blogs are a breath of fresh air because we are independent and can fact check your asses, and can work to defuse the spin of the liberal mainstream media. […]

  3. […] In the comments, Rick Moran writes: […]

  4. Serving Their Masters

    Right-wing bloggers like The Captain’s Quarters get personal talking points from the White House on executive privilege, also known as the administration covering its rear in the Alberto Gonzales Affair.

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