Monday, March 22, 2004

Another defection from the Bush Administration, and more evidence of its contempt for the facts

How long can the Bush administration maintain any shred of credibility when insiders from the administration continue to defect and reveal that it is rotten inside? First John DiIulio, then Paul O'Neill, and now Richard Clarke. No objective observer can deny any longer that we have extremely good evidence that this is an administration driven primarily by ideology rather than an honest desire to develop rational policy.

Of course it is always possible to make up stories about the ulterior motives of such defectors. And, of course, any administration so dishonest and inept as to provoke such defections probably won't hesitate to make up such stories. (In case you were wondering, all three men named above were disgruntled former "employees" who were angry, among other things, about being "out of the loop".) And, as I see it, that's one of the rules of politics: what you say doesn't have to make much sense, it just has to give your loyal followers a bit of straw to grasp at. The rule is: no matter what the other side says, no matter how damning the evidence, just say something by way of response. Your opponents probably won't buy anything you say anyway, your loyal followers will believe whatever you say no matter how ridiculous, and most people in the middle probably aren't paying attention anyway, and they'll probably write it off as a "he said, she said" case.

But we now have three high-level defectors from the Bush administration who all tell approximately the same story (DiIulio recanted, but I think it's pretty obvious why we shouldn't take that very seriously): this administration makes its mind up first and sifts through the facts only in order to cherry-pick evidence in favor of what they've already decided to do.

American liberals (and, I hope, centrists) have long maintained that this administration is pathologically dishonest...most of the rest of the world recognizes this...and the administration's own people are defecting and confirming this.

This is an issue that should transcend party lines. This administration is an embarassment to American conservatism, and conservatives need to buck up and do their duty to the country by admitting this. We may not agree about civil rights, taxes, and other difficult policy issues, but any rational person can see that we must not tolerate an administration that puts politics before policy, polls before principle, and ideology before truth.


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