December 07, 2003

Dean Watch Brett Marston is

Dean Watch

Brett Marston is taking me (and some others) to task for linking approvingly to a Krauthammer piece on "delusional Dean."

In a way, he's making me look like Maureen Dowd, cynically relying on truncated quotes to score cheap partisan points. Dowdification or such. Say it ain't so!


"For some (embarrassingly) uncritical appropriations of Krauthammer's piece, see The Belgravia Dispatch, Tim Graham at NRO, Environmental Republican....I'm sure there will be more."

Marston's Dean defense relies on a fuller quote of what Dean had to say when intimating that Dubya may have been warned of 9/11 by the Saudis before the tragic events of that day:

The fuller Dean quote:

"I donÕt know. There are many, there are many theories about it, the most interesting theory that IÕve heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory Š I canÕt think Š it canÕt be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now, who knows what the real situation is? But the trouble is, by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not, and eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the President is taking a great risk by suppressing the clear, the key information that needs to go to the Kean commission."

[Marston's emphasis, with the bolded language some of the verbiage Krauthammer left out of his op-ed]

Marston's point? All that Dean meant by his comments was mostly by way of a classic post-Nixonian tutelage in the cover up always being worse than the crime, ie. tell us all, provide all docs to Kean, full disclosure (a tad rich coming from Dean).

You know, I had seen the full quote after I had linked approvingly to Krauthammer's oped. For a second, I wondered if I should update my post. But, I thought, why bother?

Dean's comment remains, even when in full context, breathtakingly irresponsible and evocative of truly shabby politiking. He popularizes and makes more respectable the canard that Dubya may have been forewarned by Riyadh that hijackers were on their way to fell the WTC and hit the Pentagon.

After all, he calls that the "most interesting theory" (and helpfully contributes to the process of letting baseless theories get, to use his words, "repeated as fact" [ed. note: sorry, repreated as the "most interesting theory"]).

Thus the leading opposition candidate, in the face of what is surely the most important historical event in post-war American history, and in an election that will still ultimately revolve around 9/11 related issues (more than even the economy, despite some polling data to the contrary, in my view), alleges that the Commander-in-Chief may have had foreknowledge of said epoch making attack that killed over 3,000 Americans and, er, just let it happen.

I guess his startled expression in the Florida schoolroom was just good theater. As was his long spin around the country that day on Air Force One--the better so people thought more might happen that day (wink wink)--but, of course, our buddies in Riyadh had already clued us in to all the events of the day and Air Force One's long criss-cross flight paths over the nation were just more show.

And, you know, American Jews in the WTC didn't show up at work that day, and Mossad knew about it, and why did we round up all the little U.S. based bin Ladens and fly them to Riyadh, and it's all about Carlyle and Halliburton, and so on. This conspiracy mongering is a pretty slippery slope, isn't it?

Nah. Dean overstepped. And it might well come back to bite him.

So Brett, I don't think I've embarrassed my humble blog with my Krauthammer link. But have you yours with your somewhat tortured defense of Dean?

NB: Under questioning by Chris Wallace on Fox today, Dean stumbled under questioning about this matter. He retreated, saying he "couldn't imagine" a U.S. President not acting to prevent 9/11 if he had some previous knowledge of the attacks.

Then why did he say it was the "most interesting theory," Wallace pressed?

Because it's "a pretty odd theory" and something about "chatter" and so on Dean bumbled. It wasn't pretty.

Dean fumbled on this one. A blunder, pure and simple. He's now trying to put it behind him. Good for him.

But Rove should remind him of his comments closer to the election. Playing politics with 9/11 is tasteless and gross, in my view.

Another NB: Oh, Marston also has a "More" section at the bottom of his post. It was a tad Derrida-like in its complexities (and Brett seems to have special access to Dean's inner thought processes and so muses on a bit about what the word "interesting" means when uttered by Dean).

But through all the dense prose (it's late here in London town) I did espy that Marston's update didn't really address the bottom line issue this sordid little episode from Dean's campaign represents.

Namely that Dean intimated that Bush may have known about 9/11 before it happened--because the Saudis told him--and by extension, intimated Bush didn't lift a finger to prevent it from happening.

A crude canard he is now speedily retreating from--however his defenders wish to make pretty his offensive discourse.

Listen, all candidates overstep rhetorically in the heat of a campaign. This will likely blow over--especially as, given the viciousness of American politics--this isn't really much out of the mainstream of the typical invective and rank misinformation being peddled about with alacrity by the various campaigns (sadly).

But don't defend the guy about it. I mean, he's not even defending it himself folks.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Marston has an update (scroll down) where he writes:

"Mr. Djerjian at Belgravia Dispatch begs to differ. Apparently I pissed him off a bit: his post compares my prose to Derrida's....That hurts, actually. But at least I can spell Gregory's last name right. Aside from that, though, Mr. Djerjian makes some good points -- if you accept the premise that Dean was engaging in "politiking" with that quote. I doubt it. If the statement struck you that way, though -- well, whatever floats your boat. I'd prefer that you hear the original rather than take your cues from Krauthammer, though."

Er, well actually, Brett, you didn't get my last name right! You neglected that crucial, if discreetly tucked away, second "e" after the "r."

But hey, it's doubtless easier to get Djerejian wrong than no hard feelings over on this side of the pond. And call me Greg--it's less of a mouthful and you'll get the spelling right!

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