Independent Christian Voice

Wednesday

Depends on what your definition of "is" is

Earlier today, I quoted an Associated Press piece about the president's credibility problem. For illustration purposes, I'll requote a portion of that piece:

Bush built an image as a straight-talking politician as governor of Texas and a candidate for president. Running to replace the Clinton administration in 2000, he raised his right hand at nearly every campaign event and swore to uphold the dignity and honor of the presidency.

The vow was not just a reference to the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. It was a nod at every ethical question that ever hovered over President Clinton, any blurring of what Bush viewed as a clear bright line between right and wrong.

"In my administration, we will ask not only what is legal but what is right, not just what the lawyers allow but what the public deserves," Bush said Oct. 26, 2000.

Now that his administration is embroiled in its own scandals, it seems that parsing words, backtracking on previous comments and continuing to move the accountability bar has become the guiding principle, unlike what he promised in 2000 and 2001. For example, witness the doubletalk, parsing and circular rhetoric his spokesperson Scott McClellan employed in today's press gaggle (excerpts courtesy of AMERICAblog):
From ThinkProgress - the transcript is a gold mine today:
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that’s — what I’m saying is that, you know, if they want to talk about the threat that Saddam Hussein posed and — we’ll be glad to talk about that. Removing Saddam Hussein and his brutal regime was the right thing to do. His regime was a destabilizing force in a dangerous part of the world.
Of course, now WE'RE the distabilizing force in a dangerous part of the world, but hey, who's counting.
Q [Republican Senator] Roberts has been sitting on the intelligence policy – MR. McCLELLAN: Helen — Helen, they’ve already — they’ve had phase one and phase two, and Senator Roberts would greatly dispute the way you’re characterizing things. Q He’s absolutely clamped down on going further. He had promised this report, and it’s not come out. MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Senator Roberts disagrees — Senator Roberts disagrees with your characterization. He stated so publicly. Q He doesn’t disagree. He knows darn well the business is unfinished. MR. McCLELLAN: You should look at what he said.
What's next is my favorite moment: "Torture is not justice."
Q The President often says that when we capture an al Qaeda person, we are bringing them to justice. Is that the case? MR. McCLELLAN: Well, when you talk about capturing al Qaeda terrorists, you’re not only talking about bringing them to justice, you’re talking about being able to get important intelligence that can help us prevent attacks from happening in the first place. I think some of the people that you’re probably referencing, talking about, are people like Khalid Shaykh Muhammad and Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Zubaydah — terrorist leaders who are responsible for killing thousands of Americans and many others in the civilized world that are innocent people. Go ahead. Q That doesn’t answer the question. MR. McCLELLAN: You bet it does. I’ve told the American people exactly what I’ve said and I – Q That’s not bringing them to justice. Torture is not justice – MR. McCLELLAN: — I think they think it answers it.
Then Scottie gets caught lying about President Clinton, trying to claim that Clinton reached the same conclusion as Bush about going to war with Saddam:
Q Isn’t your statement in error when you say that the previous administration came to the same conclusion? The previous administration did not come to the same conclusion – MR. McCLELLAN: I said the same conclusion, that Saddam Hussein – Q — to intervene militarily. MR. McCLELLAN: — that Saddam Hussein’s regime was a threat. Q But they didn’t go to war. Q But isn’t the point of the – MR. McCLELLAN: You want to talk about their comments? Let’s talk about their comments. Q But the point of what they raised yesterday is the President’s decision to move militarily into Iraq. Are you saying – MR. McCLELLAN: There’s no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. His regime “threatens the safety of his people, the stability of his region, and the security of all the rest of us” — President Clinton, remarks to the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Pentagon staff, February 17, 1998. Q But he didn’t take us to war. Q But isn’t the specific issue – MR. McCLELLAN: The conclusion they came to was that Saddam Hussein’s regime is a threat and a destabilizing force in a dangerous part of the world. Q But he didn’t take us to war. Q But the specific issue is weapons of mass destruction. Q But the question was whether the United States – MR. McCLELLAN: You asked me about a statement I made, and I just backed up the statement that I made. Q But the specific issue is weapons of mass destruction, and that is — that is the intelligence having to do with that. And the Democrats are saying that is what they’ve been deprived of, an investigation of. And so my question is, given what happened in the Senate –
Then Scottie moves the goal post yet again on when the White House is finally going to come clean with the American people about what Rove, Cheney, Bush and the lot of them knew and did with regards to the Valerie Plame CIA leak:
Q Kind of a housekeeping question. You repeatedly say that you’ve been instructed not to comment on the CIA leaks case, because there’s an ongoing investigation. Can we infer from that that when Fitzgerald announces his investigation is completed you will be in a position to comment? MR. McCLELLAN: I said I’d be glad to talk more about it after it’s come to a conclusion. Q Well, would that mark the conclusion? MR. McCLELLAN: Would what? Q The end of the Fitzgerald investigation. MR. McCLELLAN: Well, there’s an investigation and legal proceeding. And the comments I make – Q So now you’re adding court cases. MR. McCLELLAN: Well, Bob, I think any time there’s been a legal matter going on, we’ve said, that’s a legal matter. Q No, what you said is, you can’t comment on an ongoing investigation. MR. McCLELLAN: No, I think what I said last — and look what I said – Q So you’ve added the words, “legal proceeding.” MR. McCLELLAN: Well, now there is a legal proceeding. Q So you’re adding the words, “legal proceeding,” to the formulation. MR. McCLELLAN: That’s not — any time there is a legal proceeding such as that, we don’t discuss it. I mean, I think you can look back at – Q Because – MR. McCLELLAN: Because it’s a legal matter, and it’s before the courts. Q The world is crawling with legal matters that the White House comments on all the time. What sets this apart? MR. McCLELLAN: No, there are legal matters that occur all the time that we do not comment on, because they’re ongoing legal matters that are before the courts. Remember, numerous times we’ve referred stuff to the Justice Department because it’s an ongoing legal proceeding. Q What is the concern of the White House, they’re not commenting? MR. McCLELLAN: Exactly what I said. Maybe you want to go back and look at my remarks, but we don’t want to prejudice the opportunity for there to be a fair and impartial trial. Q Okay, because your remarks earlier had suggested that you didn’t want to influence an investigation that was ongoing. MR. McCLELLAN: We don’t want to do that, either. We want to do our part to continue to cooperate, and that’s what we will do.
These press briefings are a waste of everyone's time and taxpayer dollars. There's no straight talk from this "straight-talking" president or his spokesliars.

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