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With friends like these.... Mort Kondracke doesn't "get " Rovegate

Reported by Chrish - July 19, 2005

Mort Kondracke and Nina Easton, supposedly presenting the "other" point of view on Special Report's All-Stars' panel tonight 7/19/05, were hardly in contention for the Woodward or Bernstein award for aggresive investigative journalism. They were in almost complete agreement with Fred Barnes and Brit Hume and did nothing to bring up the opposition take on the Rove talking points allowed by Hume.

The segment opened with video of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid expressing his disappointment with Bush, for "changing the rules in the middle of the ballgame"., referring to Bush's statement yesterday that he would remove anyone who was found to have committed an illegal act, flip-flopping from his former pledge to remove from his administration anyone involved with the leak.

Brit Hume asks, "Well, is that right?" Did the president really change the rules, change his standard?

Mort Kondracke goes first, saying "it is what Scott McClellan said." and Hume asks him what about what the president said.

Kondracke reads the statement from September 30, 2003, where Bush says if there was a leak he wants to know who it is, and if that person has violated the law that person will be taken care of. He agrees with Hume that there is no switch. Hume injects that there was a reporter's question to the effect of "if that person leaked the name", Nina Easton finishes the sentence with would Bush stand by his pledge to fire him, but Hume says the switch was in the reporter's characterization and Nina agrees. She says there is a conscious decision on Bush's part to create more wiggle room on the issue, but the real question is the parsing of language, and this is all going to go away, and with the SC nominee, but the real question is whether there's this parsing of language with the Special Investigator or the Grand Jury. People close to the investigation think Patrick Fitzgerald doesn't think an underlying crime has been committed and will be looking for evidence of a cover-up.

Fred Barnes makes a joke about no laws against parsing and then claims it was a fabricated gotcha story by the press, and if there are no indictments, nobody will be leaving the White House.

Kondracke then says, if Karl Rove gets indicted he's gone? He's innocent until proven guilty. Barnes is the one who says that Rove'd have to take a long leave if he were indicted. Nina Easton compared Rove to Halliburton, as the name to call up in the second term to gin up the base for fundraisers etc., then says she doesn't think it's going to go anywhere, same way Halliburton didn't go anywhere in Term I.

Comment: What???

Kondracke agreed. He expounded, if no-one in the WH is indicted, this whole thing goes away. (Comment: The treachery, the lies, the cover up, the immorality of the administration, the false claims, the manipulation, the abuse of power, the ruined careers, the breached security....means nothing if it didn't break a poorly written practically unenforceable law.)

He continued "It will become an urban legend among Democrats...and anyway, anyway, frankly, I think this is the biggest over-blown story I've ever seen. In the first place, the uranium case for the war in Iraq was a minor part of the whole thing. Bush did cite it in the State of the Union message, etc etc, but the nuclear angle was never a big deal. Therefore, I don't know why anybody bothered with Joe Wilson, why they didn't just let it blow away..." When Hume says that the news media made a big deal of it, Kondracke says "the news media" (apparently present company excepted) makes a big deal over a lot of things. Where's Richard Clarke? Has anybody seen him lately? Does anyone remember who he is? he's all gone away...Wilson could have gone away too."

They agree Wilson was gone for a while when the Senate Intelligence Committee proved "much of what he said untrue"; Barnes says the media has resurrected him, but apparently suffers amnesia over "the fact that he has been totally discredited."

Hume asks a two-part question: Will the SC nomination put the "quiatus" on this, if only for a little while, and does the prime-time announcement have anything to do with that?

Barnes: No, and No.
Kondracke: Until tomorrow afternoon.
Easton: I think it will tamp down the noise on this.

Comment; Well that's just swell. There are 1,000, no, 10,000 liberals and progressives who could go on and give Hume and Barnes a serious thumping, but Fox continues to present luke-warm libs with no fire in their bellies. It was clear the script was set ahead of time, as Kondracke had the exact quote ready.

If he isn't indignant over the lies and abuses, and he doesn't think the nuclear threat was not a big part of the justification for Bush's invasion, he is out of touch with the demographic he's supposed to represent on balance.

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