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We’ve seen the pattern–with Richard Clarke, Paul O’Neill and a dozen others. They come out and reveal some unpleasant truth about the inner workings of the Bush Administration. They have broken the most sacred law of the “Loyal Bushies,” the law of omertà. So out comes the hatchet.
I’d been wondering: who would be picked to start the attacks on James Comey, a man not so dangerous for the truth he speaks as for his own integrity (next to which Alberto Gonzales and his team look like a pack of banditti). And the answer is: Doug Kmiec, former head of the Office of Legal Counsel in the Reagan twilight years. In an op-ed piece in today’s Washington Post, Kmiec accuses Comey of “histrionics.” And then he goes after Senator Specter with similar slashes. The thrust of Kmiec’s piece is purely partisan–let us Republicans not swerve from the Truth Path, under which the President is King.
Indeed, he says that the whole rush to see Ashcroft was really beside the point, because the President had the right to override Ashcroft anyway. In the Gospel according to David Addington, which is emerging as the new sacred text of the team Bush’s ailing and all-but-irrelevant clique of lawyers, Kmiec is surely speaking true. But this raises the question: so why did they go visit Ashcroft in his hospital bed to get that signature? Indeed. If you read Kmiec’s hatchet job, be sure to see Marty Lederman’s brilliant take-down of his whole argument published over at Balkinization. The only thing that survives from Kmiec’s piece is the Washington Post’s unbroken track record as official apologist for the Bush Administration.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”