Thursday, July 17, 2003
Looks like the GOP has yet another brewing public-relations fiasco on its hands. The Washington Post is reporting that a number of Republican state attorneys general solicited funds from corporations in legal trouble:
The attorneys general were all members of the Washington-based Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). The companies they solicited included some of the nation's largest tobacco, pharmaceutical, computer, energy, banking, liquor, insurance and media concerns, many of which have been targeted in product liability lawsuits or regulations by state governments.
The documents describe direct calls the attorneys general made, for example, to representatives of Pfizer Inc., MasterCard Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Anheuser-Busch Cos., Citigroup Inc., Amway Corp., U.S. Steel Corp., Nextel Communications Inc., General Motors Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Shell Oil Co., among other companies. They also make clear that RAGA assigned attorneys general to make calls to companies with business and legal interests in their own states.
One of those soliciting funds between 1999 and 2001, according to the documents, was Alabama Attorney General William Pryor Jr., a pending nominee by President Bush to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit. Sources said that a former RAGA employee recently turned some of the fundraising documents over to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which could vote as early as today on his nomination. A source who asked not to be named provided the documents to The Post.
Is this a case of a small group gone bad, or a larger symptom of a political party drunk on power and riddled with corruption? Time will tell, of course. One thing's for sure, though: the nomination of William Pryor just became a lot more difficult for Repubs to support.
Of course, if past history is any judge, that won't stop them, though. It's not as though he were a savory guy to begin with...
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Mr. Bush's political advisers pushed back against Democratic presidential contenders who have in recent days accused him of losing credibility on what had been seen as his strong suit, foreign affairs. The Republican National Committee issued a statement tonight asserting that "Democrats politicize war in Iraq," while party leaders declared that Democrats did not have the standing to challenge Mr. Bush on the subject.
"The bottom line is this — what is their policy, what are they for?" Ed Gillespie, the incoming chairman of the Republican National Committee, said in an interview today. "We know what they are against, we know they don't like the president. But what are they going to do?"
The rapid counterattack from the White House, the Republican National Committee and Mr. Bush's re-election campaign suggested that Mr. Bush's advisers were unsettled about the turn of events, even as they expressed continuing confidence in the president's overall political support. And while arguing that Mr. Bush would suffer no long-term damage, some Republicans still said it was critical that he respond to the attacks by the Democrats.
"They have the potential to hurt, unless they are firmly and forcefully and frequently answered," said Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania. "I don't think you can let any of this go unanswered. And I don't think the president is going to take any of this lying down."
It is, perhaps, understandible that Ed Gillespie would respond in political fashion -- he is, after all, paid to be a political shill (though it's unfortunate that he would participate in this travesty for cash). But Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), as a member of Congress, has taken an oath of office. It's his job to put duty to the Constitution and the Country ahead of political party and political gain. It is unconscionable that he would choose, instead, to attack the messenger rather than responsibly question the administration's deliberately misleading statements and deeply undemocratic behavior. Senator Specter should likewise be held accountable.
This behavior is unacceptable. The President of the United States has sullied the office, and misled the nation. Senator Specter and all others attempting to defend the indefensible out of partisan loyalty should be ashamed of themselves.
Well, the press refuses to go away and play nice regarding the administration's lies, and all I can say is, "damn! so this is what a healthy, skeptical press looks like"!
Maybe the media in general has finally woken up to the fact that they've allowed themselves to be cowed into uselessness by GOP'ers and their extremist bretheren?
We can only hope.
Monday, July 14, 2003
Despite admissions by his top officials that the best evidence they have for an Iraqi nuclear "program" is no evidence refuting the idea, and despite an intensive three-month search that has turned up nothing, George Bush said today that he's convinced that Saddam was developing nuclear weapons:
"When it's all said and done," Bush insisted, "the people of the United States and the world will realize that Saddam Hussein had a weapons program."
Folks, there's a clinical term for the expression of certain belief in something despite all evidence to the contrary: paranoid delusion.
We're now getting insight into how a President could have believed in something so fervently that he forced his underlings to modify the facts to fit his notions...
Sunday, July 13, 2003
Bush Aides Now Say Claim on Uranium Was Accurate
Ms. Rice, in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," said that "the statement that he made was indeed accurate. The British government did say that."
And Mr. Rumsfeld said on the NBC News program "Meet the Press" that "it turns out that it's technically correct what the president said, that the U.K. does -- did say that --and still says that. They haven't changed their mind, the United Kingdom intelligence people.
On the ABC News program "This Week," Mr. Rumsfeld added that "it didn't rise to the standard of a presidential speech, but it's not known, for example, that it was inaccurate. In fact, people think it was technically accurate."
. . .
Some White House officials suggested that the public was less interested in the story's ins and outs than the news media and the political opposition, and that this was
why the administration chose this approach.
Here's hoping they're very wrong, and that it won't be lost on most people that the administration is now admitting it used careful phrasing to deliberately mislead all of us. Here's also hoping that the media is finally pissed off enough at these bastards and their cronies that they keep hammering things home. The American People will care enough about the relevant details when they know about them. So far, many people still don't.