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Here Kitty

Over at his new blog, James Wolcott suggests that some liberals are growing over-excited about Kitty Kelly's forthcoming book:

But I think we should wait for the book itself before chipping in to buy Kitty a tiara and crown her our Queen. We have been disappointed before hoping this book (Richard Clarke's) or that (Ron Suskind's) would diminish the boyish charm of George Bush in the public's eyes.
I think the contrast with Against All Enemies and The Price of Loyalty is precisely the point. In a rational universe, like the one I thought I lived in before these books were released, the following things would be true. When the man the president of the United States appointed to be his chief economic policy advisor resigned from the administration and wrote a book about how the president's economic policy was terrible, this would be terribly damaging to the president. It also would be the case that when the man the president of the United States appointed to be his chief counterterrorism advisor resigned from the administration and wrote a book about how the president's counterterrorism policy was terrible, this would be terribly damaging to the president. It also would be the case that when the president of the United States unveiled a second term economic policy agenda that his administration's economists think is a bad idea that that would be terribly damaging to the president. It also would be the case that, when the president's deputy counterterrorism advisor decided his counterterrorism policy was so bad that he needed to resign and become his opponent's chief national security advisor that this would reflect poorly on the president. Last but by no means least, it would be the case that if the man the president appointed to be his chief envoy to the Middle East resigned in disgust and started wandering around town talking about how, in fact, "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth" (CORRECTION: That was Bush-supporter Tommy Franks, Bush's former envoy was General Tony Zinni who, without using profanity, said the whole gang in the Pentagon "ought to be gone and replaced". Apologies for the error, thanks to P.D. for noting it.) was making policy, well, that would damage the president.

Sadly, though, we don't live in that world. Instead we live in the world where no one cares about expertise, the capital's premiere newspaper is edited by a man who doesn't believe in judging the credibility of his paper's sources, and small inconvenient realities like the disgust felt for Bush's policies by all the top Republican experts goes almost unnoticed.

In this strange, strange universe I've come to recognize as the real world, Kitty Kelly becomes the Great White Hope of liberalism. In this world, fucked-up and superficial as it is, merely noting that Bush's policies are failing disastrously isn't good enough. The chance that he might fall off the wagon, though, could get us somewhere. That his nonsensical stem cell policy reveals his "pro-life" convictions to be a mere matter of convenience doesn't matter. But if it could be shown that he had procured an abortion for a young woman, thus revealing himself to be a hypocrite (by my lights) or a murderer (by his lights), that might get us somewhere. So my hopes aren't sky-high. I was young and naive once and thought Paul O'Neil would devastate this administration. But the world doesn't work that way, and Kitty Kelly's what we've got. I don't like it anymore than you.

UPDATE: More from Zinni. The Iraq War was a "brain fart of an idea of a strategy that isn't thought out." Thanks to reader P.K. for bringing it to my attention.

September 6, 2004 | Permalink

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