The Corpus Callosum

Scandals Got Legs

I know people come here to read about psychiatry, mental health,
neuroscience, and political/social issues related to those topics.
 No, scratch that, I have not idea why people come here.
 But this post is straight politics.  Well, it’s
politics and a little sociological musing and opinion.


cartoon came in an email from the left-leaning Center for
American Progress
.  They rarely send me anything, so
I figure they figure this is a big issue.  The cartoon is
window dressing.  The article they link to is not.  

Think Again:
Now You Tell Us …

By Eric Alterman
March 15, 2007

the story of the Bush administration’s firing of eight
federal prosecutors snowballs into scandal—complete with
calls for a special prosecutor, the resignation of Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales, and a possible under-oath subpoena for one-time
presidential mastermind Karl Rove—we should pause for a
moment and examine how the story finally came to its critical mass. It
began all too typically with newspaper reports picked up by blogs, and
a blind eye from cable and network TV—apparently in the hopes
it would go away and leave them alone to cover Anna Nicole Smith and
“American Idol,” but, um, wouldn’t go
away thanks to diligent newspaper reporting and that pesky liberal

go on to say that Time magazine’s
Washington bureau chief, Jay Carney, stated in an interview that the
Blogosphere really helped this story snowball.  Additionally,
the LA Times, in one of their “most-viewed” stories
can top the presses
), reports on how TPM
picked up on the scandal and tracked down
details and put the whole thing together.

Incidentally, Mark
has a very nice, succinct and well-put synopsis of
the whole thing.

Of course, is it not just TPM, or Time,
or the LA Times, or any one organization that is
causing the momentum to build.  What is causing momentum is
the shear mass of the bad news coming out about the Administration.

In order for this to all happen, though, it was necessary for there to
be a shift in the public’s perception of the leaker-in-chief.
 When the war started, it was unpatriotic to criticize the
President.  Something had to crack the ice.  I’ve
argued before that it was Cindy Sheehan who did that.  She
lost a son in the war, and that gave her just enough credibility for
the media, and the citizenry, to pay her a little bit of attention.
 It was the first crack.

But then came the Valerie Plame-Wilson leak.  It is obvious
that the leak was an unpatriotic thing to do.  Whether it was
technically a crime, whether Ms. Plame-Wilson was or was not a covert
agent, whether it was Libby or Rove or Cheney or Armitage, whether Iraq
was or was not trying to get uranium, whether Ms. Plame-Wilson did or
did not urge the Administration to send Mr. Wilson to Niger, none of
that is pertinent to this particular issue.  The leak was
unpatriotic.  Plus, the Walter Reed disgrace is equally
clearly, equally unpatriotic.  

With this, the crack in the ice became the shearing of an ice shelf: it
cannot be unpatriotic to criticize someone who is himself unpatriotic.
 The Teflon armor that had protected the President — his
supposed patriotism — has become the emperor’s new clothes.

Stories about the firings of the attorneys general and about the
Plame-Wilson leak now are routinely picked up on Google News, and the
stats show that these stories are getting replicated thousands of
times, all over the world, whenever they come out.  What is
more, the Administration has delayed sending people to testify until
after the weekend.  Not only does that raise suspicion, it
guarantees that the story will come back again after the weekend.

Furthermore, congresspersons are scurrying about in their own
districts, trying to be sure that the vets within their own districts
are getting proper care.  That turns the Walter Reed disgrace
into an ongoing story.

This is going to go on and on, probably right up to the election in