"They are stonewalling."
That's pretty much the sum and substance of today's news on PlameGate. Other than that, it's all about why they're stonewalling.
"If anyone in this administration was involved in it, they would no longer be in this administration." -- White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2003
"If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration." -- President George W. Bush, July 18th, 2005
In two years flat, Bush has descended from his original position of protecting the integrity of the White House to a new posture of protecting the sinecures of political appointees who happen to work there.
Is Bush really trying to pull Rove's chestnuts out of the fire?
Is he playing a damage control game intended to end in firings, including Rove and possibly Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, "Scooter" Libby, under conditions that leave Cheney and other administration principals untouched?
Or is he possibly dragging it out for no better reason than to distract attention from other matters -- such as the fact that his presidency is dead in the water on every major issue it's attempting to make policy on?
I see the outlines of a theory of recent presidential history emerging:
Richard Nixon -- Re-elected after first term; hounded into resignation over Watergate
Ronald Reagan -- Re-elected after first term; dogged by the Iran-Contra affair
Bill Clinton -- Re-elected after first term; impeached over the Lewinsky affair
George W. Bush -- Re-elected after first term ...
I'm not thinking in terms of conspiracy theory here ... more like an inchoate "general will" -- or maybe just Beltway bias -- which mandates that a president may only have one 'successful" term. Term two is tearing down time.
Or maybe not. Washington operates on its own strange logic. Every politician is a Brutus -- or a Caesar -- in waiting, and every day is the Ides of March.
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