Still Raving About Karl Rove
The Rove resignation watch enters a second week with Tuesday's Page One from David Sanger and Richard Stevenson, "Bush Responds To Questioning Over Leak Case."
Questions are "growing" from the start, naturally, over the release of C.I.A. worker Valerie Plame's identity: "Faced with growing questions about the role of his close adviser Karl Rove in the C.I.A. leak case, President Bush said on Monday that he would fire any member of his staff who 'committed a crime.'" The Times insists that Bush has been inconsistent: "The president's answer to a question at a news conference on Monday, however brief, articulated a standard for keeping or dismissing members of his staff that appeared to differ from some past statements made both by him and by the White House spokesman."
They paint a beleaguered White House: "As the revelations about Mr. Rove's role in talking to the reporters have engulfed the White House in the last week." Lastly, the reporters speculate that Rove, the president's chief political adviser, is being treated differently than a typical government bureaucrat would be, as if that would be some kind of surprise: "Mr. Bush's insistence on Monday that he would wait for a final legal verdict on his staff members seemed to set a standard of accountability for Mr. Rove that is different from the standards applied elsewhere in the government, some experts say."
Sanger and Stevenson then quote the former head of the Office of Special Counsel regarding how government employees "negligent with classified information can lose their jobs for carelessness," as if suggesting Rove is guilty of that - before the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald has even filed a report.
Tuesday's related lead editorial, "A Jar of Red Herrings," defends the discredited war critic Joseph Wilson, whose op-ed in the Times ignited the entire controversy: "In July 2003, Mr. Wilson wrote an Op-Ed article in The Times that described how he had been sent by the C.I.A. to investigate a report that Iraq had tried to buy uranium from Niger. He said he had found no evidence to support the claim of a uranium purchase, or even a serious attempt to negotiate one, and that he had reported this to Washington. That is entirely accurate."
Wrong. As the Washington Post's SusanSchmidt reported: "The [Senate] panel found that Wilson's report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts."
For the editorial click here.
For more on Rove, click here.
"Framed" for Pro-Democrat Wishful Thinking
Contributing writer Matt Bai again tries to figure out what's wrong with the Democrats. Last time he suggestedcartoons to cure the party's electoral blues. This time in "The Framing Wars" he wonders if "framing" issues and superior storytelling is the key to Democratic success.
"The Framing Wars" is a long Sunday Magazine cover story on linguist and hot Democratic activist-author George Lakoff, "the father of framing," a concept that can be loosely defined as talking about an issue in more flattering terms.
The magazine's cover features a lame liberal riff on the article, the text surrounded by a fairy-tale motif: "Once upon a time in the Land of Beltway, the English language was being held prisoner by a band of Republicans. They said things like 'death tax' and 'the liberal senator from Massachusetts' and put the good people of Happy Valley under a spell. The Democrats just didn't get it."
The title page introducing "The Framing Wars" reads: "Do Republicans win elections because they know how to turn issues into stories? Can Democrats learn the same trick? And can they find the magic words to win the coming battle over the Supreme Court?"
The actual thrust of the piece will be old news for liberal political types - the idea that Democrats just aren't communicating their ideas well enough: "After last November's defeat, Democrats were like aviation investigators sifting through twisted metal in a cornfield, struggling to posit theories about the disaster all around them. Some put the onus on John Kerry, saying he had never found an easily discernable message. Others, including Kerry himself, wrote off the defeat to the unshakable realities of wartime, when voters were supposedly less inclined to jettison a sitting president. Liberal activists blamed mushy centrists. Mushy centrists blamed Michael Moore. As the weeks passed, however, at Washington dinner parties and in public post-mortems, one explanation took hold not just among Washington insiders but among far-flung contributors, activists and bloggers too: the problem wasn't the substance of the party's agenda or its messenger as much as it was the Democrats' inability to communicate coherently. They had allowed Republicans to control the language of the debate, and that had been their undoing."
Author Bai signs on to this idea of Republicans as tricksters, writing: "Republicans, of course, were the ones who had always excelled at framing controversial issues, having invented and popularized loaded phrases like 'tax relief' and 'partial-birth abortion' and having achieved a kind of Pravda-esque discipline for disseminating them. But now Democrats said that they had learned to fight back."
Of course, the Times, without admitting to partisanship, loads up their "objective" news stories with loaded language, including a liberal use of the loaded term "conservative." (Meanwhile, the paper is quite conservative about employing the word "liberal.")
Bai insists John Kerry is a war hero: "On the eve of what promises to be a historic debate over the direction of the nation's highest court, Democrats on Capitol Hill seemed to have starkly reversed the dynamic of last fall's election. Then, they had watched helplessly as George W. Bush and his strategists methodically twisted John Kerry into a hopeless tangle of contradictions and equivocations, using words and imagery to bend him into a shape that hardly resembled the war hero he had been."
You can read the rest of Bai's article here.
Enlisting More Athletes for a Feminist Federal Regulation
In the Sunday Week in Review, sports columnist Selena Roberts once again rides the coattails of a female athlete successfully competing against men in order to plug the feminist federal regulation Title IX, which mandates parity in funding for school-based male and female sports.
Just as she bizarrely set up Indy 500 racer Danica Patrick and the U.S. women's Olympic soccer team as Title IX heroines, Roberts tries to fit teenage golfing phenomenon Michelle Wie into the same liberal template, whether Wie wants to be there or not: "If Wie comes off as engaging in stereotypes by extolling the superiority of the P.G.A., she is also a symbol of progress as a member of the Title IX generation. As a golfer on tour, Wie is not a direct beneficiary of the law demanding athletic equity in public institutions, but she embodies Title IX's spirit of inclusion and equality."
Taking another expected feminist turn, Roberts perversely wonders if Wie's individual success is a "setback" that serves to denigrate women's golf as a whole: "So the Wie conundrum raises the question: Is she a role model for women, or potentially a setback for the L.P.G.A. Tour? It's hard to tell."
For the rest of Roberts' screed, click here.
A "Forthright" Liberal Ruling on Greenhouse Gases
A Saturday story by Anthony DePalma, "Court Says E.P.A. Can Limit Its Regulation of Emissions," notes that "a federal appeals court rejected on Friday an effort by a dozen states and cities, along with environmental groups, to have the Bush administration regulate greenhouse gases that spill out of the tailpipes of new cars and trucks."
The judges vote was 2-1, but strangely, DePalma gives space not to the winning argument, but to the dissenting judge (who took the more liberal view of the EPA's powers).
DePalma goes so far as to praise his argument as "forthright" while quoting it, something he doesn't do with the actual decision: "Only Judge David S. Tatel, who wrote a pointed dissenting opinion, touched the central issue, [Massachusetts official James] Milkey said, and he 'firmly rejected each and every argument that E.P.A. made trying to hide behind the claim that it lacked authority.'.The question of the government's authority was handled forthrightly in the 38-page dissent of Judge Tatel, who rejected most of the arguments the agency made to defend its decision not to regulate the gases. Judge Tatel said he had 'grave difficulty' seeing how the agency had not concluded that global warming was a serious threat to public health. And in his most strongly worded conclusion, Judge Tatel said the Environmental Protection Agency 'has authority - indeed the obligation' to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles."
For the rest of DePalma on the court's greenhouse gas decision, click here.
Iraq "Invasion Doomed by Bad Intelligence," Explains Theatre Critic
The Monday Arts section carries a theater review by Miriam Horn of a Manhattan production of "The Persians," an ancient Greek play, under the headline "An Aeschylus Antiwar Play Adapted in Reality TV Style." The favorable review includes this line from the war-hardened theatre critic: "The many echoes of our present moment - a young leader trying to finish a battle begun by his father, an invasion doomed by bad intelligence - have made this rarely produced play a recent favorite in New York and Washington."
To read the rest of Horn's theatre review, click here.