April 2004
New Republic;4/5/2004, Vol. 230 Issue 12, p12
This section presents brief commentary pieces on U.S. politics. The seriousness of Richard Clarke's allegations this week was matched only by the comedy of the White House's reaction to them. The former counterterrorism chief has charged that the Bush administration was weak on terrorism before September 11, 2001, and the Bushies' counterattack has been described in the press as a "ferocious assault." Here is a partial guide to the Bushies' unintentionally hilarious responses to Clarke: He's a partisan Democrat: "His best friend is Rand Beers, who is the principal adviser to the Kerry campaign," asserted White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. He doesn't know what he's talking about: "[Clarke] was moved out of the counterterrorism business over to the cybersecurity side of things. ... He wasn't in the loop, frankly, on a lot of this stuff," Cheney told Rush Limbaugh on Monday. It's difficult to argue with the Bush administration's avowed aim of a "global democratic revolution," but it is depressingly easy to question its sincerity. The latest reminder of the mismatch between word and deed came last week in Saudi Arabia. On the eve of an official visit to Riyadh by Colin Powell, Saudi authorities rounded up and imprisoned several democracy activists who had formed a human rights group. President Bush may be pushing a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, but he has always presented himself as an opponent of gay-bashing. Alas, someone forgot to tell the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), whose website translates civil service laws into usable rules.


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