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July 21, 2004

Looks Like I Picked the Wrong Day To Give Up Sniffing Glue

And the minstrels rejoiced.

The Democrats are past-masters are spinning scandals. They know that they must have successive fall-back positions waiting for when their current defenses fail. Thus, during Lewinskygate, we went rather smoothly from "Monica is a lying stalker/It never happened" to "Monica is an abused victim of prosecutorial miscoduct/it doesn't matter if it happened or not" in the time of a week. Not one Democratic spinmeister so much as blinked or flinched when abruptly switching the Defense of the Day.

The current Berger defense is "it was all an accident." This is hard to believe, since it happened repeatedly, and Berger put codeword-classified documents into places one normally doesn't "accidentally" deposit printed material.

The only time I can remember ever having documents stuffed into my shorts or my socks was when I was sneaking porn past my mom. I don't think I'd've had the chutzpah to tell Mother that I was "inadvertantly" toting a copy of Gent in my jockstrap.

Now, she's no FBI investigator, but I think Mom could have seen through that carefully-crafted cover story.

The next Sandy Berger defense can be seen taking shape over at Josh Marshall's site. He doesn't actually announce this defense yet; he doesn't dare to. He's just preparing you for it. He doesn't want to make this defense until it's necessary, but one can already see him setting up the sandbags and machine-guns at the next bastion.

The next defense will be: Berger was required to (fudge alert!) gently contort the law in order to secure an adequate defense against the lies and highly-partisan leaks of the Bush Administration. He needed the documents to rebut the highly-selective leaking and declassification of information to advance the Bush agenda.

In other words, in order to comply with Truth (capitalized deliberately), he had to, ahem, bend the Law, which in this case is an ass, because it works to damage Democrats.

I can already smell this one a mile off.

Trouble is, Josh Marshall has already declared himself quite the bear on the technical letter of national security law. I seem to recall him dismissing, rather conetmptuously, the notion that the law was unfairly protecting a political partisan appointed largely due to nepotism and therefore could and should be, err, gently contorted in order to make the necessary disclosure that Joe Wilson's partisan-hack paper-pusher of a wife got him a job for which he was simply not qualified.

In that case, Marshall was quite firm: No claims of partisanship or unfairness could work to justify a violation of national security law. If you broke the law, you must be prosecuted and jailed, no matter what your subjective beliefs about whether your actions might be justified.

In the coming weeks, however, we'll see Marshall suddenly become quite a bit more latitudinarian, as William F. Buckley Jr. might say, on this question.


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posted by Ace at 01:45 AM

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