Sunday, July 20, 2003

Maureen Dowd has a few choice words about Bushco's modus operandi:
The complaints infuriated some in the Bush administration, and the new Tommy Franks, Gen. John Abizaid, suggested that field commanders might mete out "a verbal reprimand or something more stringent."

Somebody at the White House decided not to wait. Matt Drudge, the conservative cybercolumnist, told Lloyd Grove, the Washington Post gossip columnist, that "someone from the White House communications shop" told him about the ABC story and also about a profile of the Canadian-born Mr. Kofman in The Advocate, a gay publication. Mr. Drudge quickly linked the two stories on his popular Web site, first headlining the Advocate piece, "ABC NEWS REPORTER WHO FILED TROOP COMPLAINTS STORY — OPENLY GAY CANADIAN." Eight minutes later, he amended the headline to read, "ABC NEWS REPORTER WHO FILED TROOP COMPLAINTS STORY IS CANADIAN," leaving readers to discover in the body of the story what the Bush provocateur apparently felt was Mr. Kofman's other vice.

Now that the right wing's bête noire, Peter Jennings, has gotten his American citizenship, conservatives may have needed another ABC Canadian to kick around. And the Christian right is still smarting over the Supreme Court's telling police they could no longer storm gay bedrooms in search of sodomy.

Scott McClellan, the new Bush press secretary, said that if Mr. Drudge's contention about his source was true, it would be "totally inappropriate." He added, "If anyone on my staff did it, they would no longer be working for me." He said he had no way to trace an anonymous source.

But Bush loyalists regularly plant information they want known in the Drudge Report. Whoever dredged up the Advocate story was appealing to the baser nature of President Bush's base, seeking to discredit the ABC report by smearing the reporter for what he or she considers sins of private life (not straight) and passport (not American). Let's hope the fans of Ann (Have you no sense of decency?) Coulter aren't taking her revisionist view of McCarthyism too seriously and making character assassination fashionable again on the Potomac.


After 9/11, this administration had everything going for it. Republicans ruled Congress. The president had enormously high approval ratings. Yet it overreached while trying to justify the reasons for going to war.

Even when conservatives have all the marbles, they still act as if they're under siege. Now that they are under siege, it is no time for them to act as if they're losing their marbles.