Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Nick Gillespie is off his rocker...
Written by: Beck

Reason Online Editor-in-Chief Nick Gillespie has a lot of intelligent things to say. Buuuut I guess they can't all be winners. Today he offers up "One for the Team," an article in which he 1) rambles for an unfortunately long time about Lee Majors and 2) draws some conclusions about Bush administration tactics drawn from what can only accurately be described as "the inside of his colon."

The first two paragraphs of his article are by far the strongest. Why? Because he spends the entire time talking about 80's show The Fall Guy. From that point it's all down hill. His basic thesis is that everything he's observed so far about White House strategy towards the 9/11 commissions demands for testimony points to an elaborate scheme to turn Condoleezza Rice into the person who takes the fall for our failure to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks. In a nut shell, he observes:
But this much is likely: At some point, rightly or wrongly, the public is going to want an American scalp for letting 9/11 happen. On Meet the Press this past Sunday, Tim Russert asked the head of the panel, former New Jersey Gov. Tom Kean, whether anyone at any level had been fired or dismissed as a result of the 9/11 attacks. Kean answered that, to his knowledge, no one had. If the commission hearings incite the demand that someone in the current administration pay--and that's one of the functions such hearings serve, especially in election years--it will almost certainly be Rice who takes the fall.
His arguments are twofold.

1) Bush will only testify if he and Cheney testify together. Gillespie sees this as a grand conspiracy against Condi:
Given that President Bush first refused to let her testify--executive privilege and all that was at stake, you know--and then decided not only that she could testify but that he and Vice President Dick Cheney bizarrely would appear together before the commission, like some sort of cheap Sandler and Young imitation--well, it all sounds sort of like a setup to me: Condi as fall guy.
First, does this mean that every other White House aid not testifying at the same time as Bush and Cheney is also being set up as a fall guy? Of course not--to suggest that would be ridiculous. More importantly, though is the fact that it's just not accurate that Bush refused to let her testify--she already has testified behind closed doors. The only policy change has been allowing her to testify publicly and under oath. Furthermore, pretty much everyone on the right has interpreted this as some sort of master stroke of strategy. Deny the left Rice (in public anyway), get them to start howling for her testimony... and then give it to them. Rice is widely regarded as one of the most poised and articulate staff member of the White House (Chris Rock: "She's so well spoken."). It's the Democrats who have been set up, not Rice.

2) No one from the White House has been fired for 9/11. Someone, therefore, must ultimately take the blame. Right now, best guess is Rice.

OK, first of all, even Richard Clarke acknowledges that even if ALL of his recommendations for dealing with terror had been taken, nothing could have been done, based on what was known at the time, to prevent 9/11. So why the need to fire someone? Second, 9/11 happened two and a half years ago. If the White House were going to fire someone, don't you think they would have done it by now? Third, Rice is a very popular person in America. She's black, female, and gifted in too many ways to count (I just read over in The Corner that she's read War & Peace, twice, in the original Russian. For Bush & co. to sack her now, right as the campaign for the 2004 election starts to heat up, would be monumentally stuperific. Don't expect it to happen.

So here's my guess: today has been a relatively slow news day, especially after a week of increasingly interesting news from Iraq. He didn't have anything to write about, but needed to get something down in print, and, having just seen or heard some reference to the Fall Guy, his head naturally wandered around to politics and landed squarely... up his ass.

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