Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Partisan divisiveness allowed 9-11?

From Paul Krugman we get a hint at what the Bush Administration may be trying to hide by stonewalling the 9-11 Commission. Paul Krugman at the NY Times Here's a little excrept in one of the few articles today taking a level-headed look at the political situation in Spain:

Polls suggest that a reputation for being tough on terror is just about the only remaining political strength George Bush has. Yet this reputation is based on image, not reality. The truth is that Mr. Bush, while eager to invoke 9/11 on behalf of an unrelated war, has shown consistent reluctance to focus on the terrorists who actually attacked America, or their backers in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

This reluctance dates back to Mr. Bush's first months in office. Why, after all, has his inner circle tried so hard to prevent a serious investigation of what happened on 9/11? There has been much speculation about whether officials ignored specific intelligence warnings, but what we know for sure is that the administration disregarded urgent pleas by departing Clinton officials to focus on the threat from Al Qaeda.

The Clinton Administration had gone after Osama a couple of times during its tenure, so a strident warning to the incoming Bush Administration seems highly plausible. Why, then, did the Bush Administration ignore the warnings? Perhaps the answer is as simple as taking a look at the eight years Republicans spent villifying and demonizing Bill Clinton and his entire family. (Remember when Rush Limbaugh attacked 12 year old Chelsea Clinton, calling her a "dog?" Here's a mention of the incident in an old Molly Ivins column: Oh, this brings back memories!) Perhaps partisan politics at a low level never before seen in history clouded the judgement (as it were) over there at Bush Inc. Hey, they make cesspools seem clean. Our dividends for the partisan politics and witch hunts over a stain on a dress might be that a new party in power ignored the Al Qaeda threats.

Of course, such dirty partisanship is unchecked, and Richard Cranium is correct to point out that the electioneering and negativity has started earlier than ever before. The Willie Horton Advertisement put out by Bush Sr. backers didn't come around until September back in 1988. I'm getting tired of mistresses made up out of whole cloth, conspiracy theories cooked up by Sciafe about Mrs. Kerry's Heinz Foundation Foundations web sites, speculation about Botox, for God's sake. Laura Bush gets a pass from Democrats, of course, and hopefully they never stoop to such tactics. Surely we'll tire of these tactics by July. But the more important point is that until we get a little respect back into the politicical process and parties, this situation of the Bush Administration distrusting the Clinton Administration so much as to ignore warnings about Al Qaeda will surely happen again.

Rinse and spit, please. . .