THURSDAY, APRIL 8, 2004
THE CONDI RULES: This morning, we offer a truncated HOWLER! Yes, weve called the analysts in from battle stations so they can watch the Condi confab. But did you really think that Darling Condi would have to play by Big Boy Rules? Instead, the commission has decided to change its procedures so no one will think they were mean or unfair. In Insider Washington, its a hard ruleIcon Condi must always be pampered. Dan Eggen puts a smiley-face on the change in this mornings Post:
EGGEN: The panel decided in a closed-door meeting last night that each member would have about 10 minutes of questioning and that they would proceed in alphabetical order, several members said. The approach is a departure from the commissions previous practice of appointing two lead questioners who had more time than the others, and reflects the members' desire to be aggressively involved in the high-profile hearing.Commissioners just want to ask questions! And oh yes, this too: Up is down! In this mornings New York Times, Philip Shenon is a bit more frank about the gentler tone Condi will face:
SHENON: Panel members said that during the meeting on Wednesday the commission settled on their procedures for questioning Ms. Rice, with Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton as the leading questioners at the start of the hearing, followed by a round of questions by each of the other commissioners.Meanwhile, lets go ahead and state the obvious: Official Washington would scream and scowl if Richard Ben-Veniste got to question Darling Condi at length. No, this change may not make a giant difference. But it helps you see the hopeless way Inside Washington fawns to its favorites.
THE KRAUTHAMMER SCRIPT: Meanwhile, Krauthammers script just keeps spreading (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/2/04). This morning, the Post misleads its readers in the new standard way for the third time in the past seven days. Robert Samuelson does the honors, reciting the script in his op-ed column:
SAMUELSON: Even if Bush had heeded [Richard] Clarke, it wouldnt have made much difference. His proposal included more aid to the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance and more missions for Predator drones over Afghanistan. If his plan had been adopted, was there the remotest chance that it would have prevented 9/11? asked former senator Slade Gorton, a member of the Sept. 11 commission. No, said Clarke. The Sept. 11 conspirators were already here; the FBI hadnt detected the plot. Experience since Sept. 11 confirms that greater vigilance and aggressiveness dont always suffice. Osama bin Laden remains at large. Heightened intelligence didnt avert the Madrid bombings.Clearly, the Post doesnt want you to know what Clarke has said. Could 9/11 have been averted? We dont have the slightest idea. But Clarke has said two things on the subject, as Samuelson and his editor, Fred Hiatt, both know:
Readers, co-chairmen Kean and Hamilton have both now said that 9/11 might have been averted. (They havent said what they mean by that statement.) But for reasons only known to the Post, the paper wants you to think something different. This is the third time in the past week that the Post has presented this mocking recital. The Post wants its readers barefoot and pregnant. With that noble goal in mind, it keeps typing Krauthammers script.