Time magazine gets it right about you-know-who (rhymes with shark), but has the damage already been done? Rasmussen "shows a Bush slide . . . The Clarke Effect is in full bloom," reports RealClearPolitics. Here's Time:
While Clarke claims that he is "an independent" not driven by partisan motives, it's hard not to read some passages in his book as anything but shrill broadsides. In his descriptions of Bush aides, he discerns their true ideological beliefs not in their words but in their body language: "As I briefed Rice on al-Qaeda, her facial expression gave me the impression she had never heard the term before." When the cabinet met to discuss al Qaeda on Sept. 4, Rumsfeld "looked distracted throughout the session."
The Defense Secretary had a classic Rumsfeldian putdown of that last falsehood during his press briefing today, blogged here earlier: "He [Clarke] said he saw me coming out of a meeting one day, and I looked distracted. Well, I wasn't AT that meeting. So people can be mistaken." Time continues:
Leaving aside the fact that Bush never fails to insist that the terror threat is as great today as it was on 9/11, these passages reveal the polemical, partisan mean-spiritedness that lies at the heart of Clarke's book, and to an even greater degree, his television appearances flacking it. That's a shame, since many of his contentions — about the years of political and intelligence missteps that led to 9/11, the failure of two Administrations to destroy al Qaeda and the potentially disastrous consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq — deserve a wide and serious airing. From now on, the country would be best served if Clarke lets the facts speak for themselves.
Here's a glimpse of how the little wheels are turning inside Bush-bashing circles, a Reuters article brought to our attention by our friends at truthout.org, drooling at the prospect of bleeding the Bush presidency to death by a thousand small cuts:
Criticism of President Bush's motives and decision-making in attacking Iraq last year may be acquiring critical mass with voters following criticism by former top counterterrorism official Richard Clarke.
Political consultants and analysts said Clarke's allegation that Bush ignored the al Qaeda threat before the Sept. 11 attacks and was obsessed by a desire to invade Iraq were especially damaging because they confirmed other previous revelations from policy insiders.
"Each of these revelations adds to the others so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and the message gets reinforced with voters," said Richard Rosecrance, a political scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles.