Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

IT'S HALLEY'S COMET!....Why did the White House conduct those pre-election "informational briefings" for federal agencies that just happened to include extensive information about which vulnerable Republicans were most urgently in need of help? White House spokeswoman Dana Perino didn't have any plausible answers at hand yesterday, so apparently she just pulled out Excuse #23 from the permanent file: Clinton did it too!

She was wrong, but who can blame her for trying? It usually works fine.

Kevin Drum 12:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

Bookmark and Share

remember republican outrage when it surfaced that al gore might have made a politics related phone call from a government phone? can jan. 2009 get here quick enough?

Posted by: mudwall jackson on April 28, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Does this suprise anyone? She learned from Tony Snowjob after all. Is there a lie that these folks won't say?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on April 28, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

How about May 2007 and President Pelosi?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

The return of a Democratic executive will see the return of Clinton Rules among the Gang of 500. That skepticism and willingness to challenge authority will triumphantly emerge hibernation. And if they can't find any actual Democratic lies, they will run to their friends in the GOP and help peddle some fake ones.

I still remember the sneering disdain that Mara Liasson on NPR used to bring to any account what she was hearing from the Clinton spokespeople. It will come right back, like riding a bicycle.

Posted by: jimBOB on April 28, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Where is that transcript?

The really interesting part should have come right after that.

Q: When did the Clinton administration do these sort of briefings?

Q: Do you have any evidence to substantiate that claim?

Q: When did you know that the Clinton administration did these briefings?

Q: Do you plan to have briefings like this again?

Q: Do you perceive that there is anything illegal about these briefings?

Q: Were these briefings done at any other time and at any other than the 20 listed?

What's the follow through?

Posted by: notthere on April 28, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter that it isn't true. In the 'he said / she said' media of today, it will be reported as true. So not only is lying to the media not busted, it is swallowed.

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on April 28, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

There's absolutely no doubt but that jimBOB is correct. It's already begun with the ridiculous magnification of the Edwards haircut. The White House press corps will try to "re"-establish some sense of credibility with the next administration -- provided it's Democratic. Which of the candidates is going to slap this down before it snowballs? None, I'm afraid.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on April 28, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

What's the follow through?

The same press that created the Clinton Rules, that created the environment in which "Clinton did it" becomes a valid explanation, is suddenly going to start calling 'bullshit'?

Na' ga' happen.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on April 28, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

She was wrong, but who can blame her for lying? It usually works fine.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on April 28, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Well, for me, the interesting thing about what she said was her off ther cuff rejoinder, when the reporter kept pressing, something to the effect of, "Are we supposed to make decisions based on the CBS / New York Times Poll?" If I were the reporter, I would have immediately asked, "Decisions? What do you mean by that? Exactly what decisions were you making at these agencies based on the political presentations?" Because that is exactly the point. It was not just informational, they were trying to get the agencies to use their mechanisms to help Republican candidates. And she's too dumb to realize her statement all but bolsters that charge. Nice, suit, though. My aunt has a throw pillow with that exact pattern.

Posted by: Pat on April 28, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

I think this is known as the "B-b-b-b-but Clinton..!" defense.

Imagine if the next administration can use Bush's behaviors as its limits. Frightening.

Posted by: PseudoNoise on April 28, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Ah Kevin.

You're wrong. It's excuse #1.

Posted by: Disputo on April 28, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I expect that in 2008 the Republican campaign slogan will be:

"Vote Republican. We're no worse than the Democrats."

Of course, it won't be true, but what do they care about that?


Posted by: Colin on April 28, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, yes, this from the folks who campaigned in 2000 on the promise to "restore decency and integrity to the Oval Office."

Perhaps what Dana meant to say was that Clinton did her, too. That's not as disingenuous, but is certainly more believable.

I still want to know what a male prostitute was doing during his sleep-overs at the White House.

Posted by: josef on April 28, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo. Actually Kevin and you are both right.

Its excuse #1, #6, #11, #17, #23 and so on.

Posted by: NeilS on April 28, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

It usually works fine.


Posted by: Swan on April 28, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

When was the last time that excuse worked?

Judges? Nope.
Firings? Nope.
Al Queda? Nope.

...Dozens of times they've lied? Nope.

But the faux news always stops at that excuse, as if it were true, and the average person never gets told they were lied to.

Posted by: Crissa on April 28, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Of course! We all remember that Dan Burton, after having finished his investigation into Sock-the-cat-fanmail-gate, blew the lid off those Clinton briefings.

Oh, wait. No he didn't.

C'mon, Dana. If Dan Burton didn't use them as a pretext to investigate, then they didn't happen.

Posted by: biggerbox on April 28, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

A prime example of the low education standards in today's schools.

"Clinton did it too" is actually number 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31....to infinity, in the list of Republican excuses.

Posted by: Uclid on April 28, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't matter. This story is already dead.

It is a perfect illustration of exactly what is wrong with the cozy relationship between the mainstream media covering the White House and the Republicans.

Despite the fact that Perino is a liar, and one that is easily caught in her lies at that, the press corp doesn't want to rock the boat. They like it when their kids get to meet the President and First Lady at Christmas and they especially like it when they get to fly all over the world in Air Force One. They are bought and paid for stenographers.

More importantly, their corporate masters don't want any more scandals right now. They really want Bush to go away, not to be impeached. That's because they are early all Republicans and have been so for years before Bush and the Texas wackos showed up. They are looking down a really dark well and not seeing any light. The last thing they want is to have their reporters tar the Republican party as the party of utter corruption.

Prove me wrong boys. Prove me wrong.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 28, 2007 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

"That decency and integrity is under this here podium somewhere."

Posted by: apeman on April 28, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

I think excuse number 1 is "it's Clinton's fault" and excuse number 2 is "Clinton did it too." Related, but not quite the same.

Posted by: Emma Anne on April 28, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ron - did you see the Josh Marshall interview for Moyers Journal?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Now GHWB's love for Clinton can be easily explained.

The father purposely lost to Bill so he could set all these precedents so that son has ready execuses everything that the current administration does.

Clinton is more evil than anyone can imagine.

Posted by: gregor on April 28, 2007 at 3:51 PM | PERMALINK

Ron - You are exactly right about the view of the corporate media masters and their minions. Their actions still perplex me to some extent however. Bush and his crew are totally useless to them and nothing but a plague on them at this point. If I were Jack Welch, Rupert Murdoch etc., I would consolidate the Republican/Conservative brand around those Republicans not directly tainted and tarred by Bush et.al. and scream bloody murder, demanding accountability, maybe even impeachment, as to the Bushies claiming how upstanding, honorable and courageous we were for doing so. But they are not, they will not, and that is why the Republicans are inbred with corruption and dishonesty and are not fit to ever lead again.

Posted by: bmaz on April 28, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

No Blue Girl, the local PBS station in my town (which I think is your town) is running an auction. I have read Josh's interview.

I really would like to know how you saw the interview.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 28, 2007 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'm a night-owl. It was on after midnight.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 28, 2007 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or does Perino make you pine for Snow?

At least he had some skill at the lies. Scotty was fun too, if only to see him sweat, and because he sometimes looked like he had a conscience regarding the massive disparity between his words and the truth.

She's more like Ari, a soulless lie machine. Unfortunately for her, the press is less easy to roll than they were back then. (They still roll, but sometimes the ask a reasonable follow-up.)

Posted by: Fides on April 28, 2007 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I had the same response as Disputo (surely, I thought, that's escuse number one) but I salute NeilS's solution, that it is so useful that it appears at multiple places in the list.

I will, however, propose an alternate theory: the excuse is so exhausted by over-work that it has been placed low in the order in the hopes it will recover some plausibility.

Not that plausibility would help; Even if Clinton had spent his days strangling kittens, it would hardly justify similar depradations by the current administration.

Posted by: Warren Terra on April 29, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

Now I know what Clinton’s problem was. He was not nearly juvenile enough. Every time somebody as him about women, he could have legitimately said “So? Practically every Republican leader of the House and Senate has done worse. What’s the big deal?”.

And he would not even have been telling a lie.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on April 29, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with Disputo. It's always been excuse #1, but they haven't hauled it out quite as much recently. Nevertheless, it's always the fallback position when all else fails.

Posted by: dogofthesouth on April 29, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I wish to amend my previous post--Emma Anne is more correct. #1 is "It's all Clinton's fault," and #2 is "Clinton did it too." They really don't want to claim they're merely doing the same thing he did unless they have no other excuse. Still, the magic word in any excuse is "Clinton."

Posted by: dogofthesouth on April 29, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Wait...so the evidence that Clinton didn't do it is...a former Clinton official's brief denial? I'd like to see better evidence put out there.

Posted by: polthereal on April 30, 2007 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hello everyone, wanna be part of some kind of community, possible here? anyone here?

Posted by: Buy antivirus on May 10, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK



Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM

buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly