The Perpetually Outraged

Thank God for the Wall Street Journal editorial page. They can always be counted on to cut through the hypocrisy and cant of the liberal media, and today they are in fine form.

First is a column by a former CIA agent who demolishes the recently famous Paul Pillar, also a former CIA agent, who’s been dining out on the increasingly tiresome claim that Bush cooked the pre-Iraq war intelligence. Interviewed yesterday on NPR’s Fresh Air, Pillar was even more smug than the insufferable hostess, Terry Gross.

In the Journal, Guillermo Christensen writes:

Why Mr. Pillar would even attempt to argue that the White House ignored the CIA’s intelligence is beyond me–as innumerable investigations have demonstrated, all of the “intelligence” within his responsibility was 100% in agreement that Iraq posed a serious danger and that it had an active program for acquiring WMD. Over the course of a decade and a half, and thousands of pages of intelligence analysis, it is hard to think of anyone in the government who was more directly involved in reaching the wrong conclusions about what was going on in Iraq than Mr. Pillar himself.

The lead editorial does a wonderful job on the gaseous platitudes emanating from the Senate committee that this week eviscerated Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:

As usual in Washington, the politicians want a ritual sacrifice, but firing Mr. Chertoff would do nothing to solve the real problem — which is that vast bureaucratic landmass known as Homeland Security. If any heads deserve to roll over Katrina, we have a different suggestion. How about the resignations of all the Congressional chairmen who voted three years ago to integrate 22 semi-autonomous agencies into a single Homeland Security Department and then expected it all to run like General Electric? Even big corporate mergers can take months or years to succeed, and they have financial incentives to help. Congress created DHS in a fit of political self-preservation and then hoped for miracles, which are rare enough in religion but impossible in government.

Finally, there’s the regular Friday column by Dan Henninger who today examines the cynical Democratic political strategy:

Have you ever noticed how on a scale of one to 10, every untoward event in the life of the Bush presidency goes straight to a 10?

The Abu Ghraib photos? A 10 forever. Dick Cheney catching a hunting buddy with some birdshot? An instant 10. The Bush National Guard story? Total 10. How can it be that each downside event in this presidency greets the public at this one, screeching level of outrage and denunciation by the out-of-power party and a perpetually outraged media?

There was a time when what’s been called news judgment would deem some stories a five or six and run them on page 14, or deeper in the newscast. Back then the Senate minority leader wouldn’t bother to look up from his desk. Not with this presidency. Every downside event–large, small, in between–plays above the fold on the front page now. And when Dick Cheney accidentally pops Harry Whittington, old Harry Reid jumps up from his Senate leader’s desk faster than a Nevada jack rabbit to announce, one more time, that this “is part of the secretive nature of this administration.”

Here are some of the political and media bonfires that have been lit on the White House lawn, stoked and reignited the past five years: the “stolen” 2000 election, Halliburton, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Cheney lives in an “undisclosed location,” Abu Ghraib, torture at Guantanamo, Bush lied about WMD, secret CIA prison sites, Valerie Plame, the neocons, Rumsfeld, Cheney’s “secret” energy task force, Cindy Sheehan, Bush is destroying Social Security, Hurricane Katrina, Jack Abramoff, illegal wiretaps, Bill Frist’s stock sales, what else?

Admittedly it’s a partial list. This week alone wasn’t half over before it had already dumped onto the public first the Cheney shooting scandal and then that George Bush made Katrina worse. This morning’s papers may have more bad news.

If it all seems more than a little tiresome, if you wish it would all just go away, well, maybe that’s the point–their point. Induce swing voters to seek respite from the Bush experience.

The Journal provides respite from the New York Times/Chris Matthews experience.

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