Well, here we go again. Sen. Hillary Clinton, considered a frontrunner on the donk side in the race for the White House next year, got caught in some skullduggery. (Fellow Webloggin contributor Big Dog has a decent write-up about it here.) I’d write something about it, but it occurs to me that’s wasteful. Nobody ever wants to know too much about these things for too long, and while it’s still too recent for anyone to avoid it completely there’s no hunger for details at all. Even among her opponents.
Everybody knows we’re going to be pressured to stop talking about this soon, everybody knows that before too long if you even so much as bring it up you’ll be considered a kook. Everybody knows she’s going to get away with it — again.
It’s gotten a little silly to even feign uncertainty about it, for ritual’s sake.
In fact, it occurs to me with a little bit of utility-grade artwork, I could summarize this to the extent anybody cares to find out about it, to the extent anybody’s ever going to tell anyone about it, and keep it in the realm of one hundred percent what we software developers from the early 1990’s used to call “reusable code.”
So I sat down with Microsoft Windows Paint and did exactly that.
Now I have something I fully expect to be able to re-use again and again and again, well into next year. And God knows how many “carbon tons” I’ve saved the planet, over the long haul. There are certain details it doesn’t address…but as has been explained above, it’s really useless to go into those. Nobody cares, nobody ever will care.
Go ahead, borrow it, use it, give it away. The image has it all…every little thing you’re going to be allowed to talk about, and it’s all true, and will continue to be true, scandal after scandal after scandal.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Sacramento Bee got caught behind the news cycle on this one. They chose to reprint, today, this story from the New York Times. I expect this will end up being a little awkward for them.
Late one night last year, while her husband was an Army scout in Iraq, Melissa Storey sat in the quiet of her bedroom to write President Bush a letter. She wanted him to know “we believed in him.” And after Staff Sgt. Clint Storey, 30, was killed by a roadside bomb, his widow put pen to paper again.
“I felt like I needed to let him know I don’t hate him because my husband is dead,” Mrs. Storey said, “that I don’t blame him for Clint dying over there.”
The correspondence did not go unnoticed. In May, Mrs. Storey received a surprise telephone call from the White House inviting her to a Memorial Day reception there. As she mingled at the elegant gathering, too nervous to eat, her 5-year-old daughter clutching her dress, her infant son cradled in her arms, a military aide appeared. The president wanted to see her in the Oval Office.
The Storeys, of Palmer, Mass., joined a growing list of bereaved families granted a private audience with the commander in chief. As Mr. Bush forges ahead with the war in Iraq, these “families of the fallen,” as the White House calls them, are one constituency he can still count on, a powerful reminder to an unpopular president that even in the face of heartbreaking loss, some still believe he is doing the right thing.
Since the war in Afghanistan began six years ago, Mr. Bush has met quietly with more than 450 such families, and is likely to meet more on Sunday, Veterans Day, in Waco, Tex., near his Crawford ranch. Mr. Bush often says he hears their voices — “don’t let my son die in vain,” he quotes them as saying — when making decisions about the war. The White House says families are not asked their political views. Yet war critics wonder just whose voices the president is hearing.
Like Melissa Storey, Bill Adams, who has been leading war protests in Lancaster, Pa., wrote Mr. Bush a letter — not to praise the president, but to question the military’s account of the death of his son, Brent. When Mr. Bush held a town-hall-style meeting in Lancaster last month, Mr. Adams asked a friend with a ticket to deliver his missive to the president. It worked, and a top aide to Mr. Bush later called Mr. Adams.
But when the president met families of the fallen that day in Lancaster, it did not escape Mr. Adams’s notice that he was not among them.
“I can’t help but be left with the suspicion that possibly his advance team screened those families for people who would be sympathetic,” Mr. Adams said. Given the chance, he said, he would have told Mr. Bush “that my son’s life was squandered.”
Mr. Adams’ case is pure conjecture, and it’s a little hollow. He thinks President Bush is doing the same thing Hillary Clinton just got caught doing — pre-screening the audience.
The comparison I’m making here is unworkable for a lot of reasons. Mr. Adams thinks President Bush is filtering his audience. Sen. Clinton, if you click at the first link in this post, you’ll see has been accused of putting plants into hers.
President Bush is meeting with hurting families in a confidential, private forum. Sen. Clinton is putting on a show.
Most importantly, we have a first-hand account of someone who says she was given a question to ask by a Clinton staffer. Bill Adams has a hunch, and not at all an incriminating one at that. I’m awfully sorry this man lost his son, but to be frank about it, if I were the President I wouldn’t invite him either…even if we did not have that episode with the “absolute moral authority” mom…which we did. It’s simply ridiculous to think Bill Adams wouldn’t take over the session in some way, for however brief a time. There are supposed to be other families there, in similar straights. It simply wouldn’t be appropriate.
Now, in reproducing this story on the front page today, the Sacramento Bee jumped onto Page A14 right after the words “near his Crawford ranch.” So they weren’t quite able to work Bill Adams into the front page. But that’s okay, they re-wrote the headline as…
Many ‘families of the fallen’ still back Bush
…and the sub-headline is cobbled together as
But war critics suspect that president’s private meetings are screened.
Hey, good going Sacramento Bee. You’ve just accused the President, based on one war activist’s extravagant speculation, of doing exactly the same thing we know Sen. Clinton’s campaign is doing. Even worse, by implying there’s something wrong with screening, you’ve pretty much dis-invited yourselves from any pre-Thanksgiving cocktail parties or emergency strategy sessions with any high-fallutin’ blue-blood Clinton fans, who might want to spin the tale that, y’know what, screening and planting is all just wonderful stuff. You better leave the black-tie wardrobe in mothballs unless you can come up with a good explanation for this.
But it can only get so embarrassing for you. Worst-case scenario is, someone is going to connect the dots, and write a letter to the Editor questioning — how come you’re accusing the President of doing something we don’t really know he’s doing, which would actually be appropriate if he was doing it, and letting Sen. Clinton get off scot-free for doing exactly the same thing only worse?
In which case you’ll just use the standard remedy: Print that letter just above, or below, a letter from someone in Davis or West Sacramento accusing you of being too friendly with the “neocons.” This always works. It isn’t even necessary to write an editorial crying “boo hoo, poor us, no matter what we do someone somewhere is always unhappy.” That isn’t necessary. The message is implied, and comes through loud and clear.
Meanwhile, I await that hard-hitting expose in the Sacramento Bee — and the New York Times — about Sen. Clinton and the plants in her audience. Obviously, I’m not holding my breath.