November 20, 2007
Who's the Turkey Now?
By Mary Lyon
I knew this would happen. On this week where most of America sits down to a bounteous turkey dinner, some chickens have started coming home to roost. And the taste is tender and juicy indeed.
Months ago, mid-gossip, I wrote on one of my favorite progressive political blog/chat sites that I thought we should all be keeping our eyes peeled for the "I Didn't Do It" books. Years ago, my husband spotted a letter printed in a friend's coin collector's tipsheet from a longtime dealer who was washing his hands in public against a scandal that was just breaking in the gold coin market. Basically, as my husband termed it, it was an "I Didn't Do It" letter. As in - "I had nothing to do with the scheming, scamming, corner-cutting, price-fixing, insider-trading, shady market manipulations and other odiferous dealings that you're going to start hearing about (and traced directly back to the letter-writer's company)." The scandal erupted all over the coin-collecting world, and soon led to the even more horrific revelation that the letter-writer subsequently decided the only way to beat the rap was to take his own life.
We may not see that most-dreadful kind of outcome here, but we are starting to see the 21st Century version of the "I Didn't Do It" letter - in the form of "I Didn't Do It" books. So far, these memoirs and other confessionals appear to be organizing themselves into such sub-headings as "They Made Me Lie," and/or "They Tried to Make Me Lie."
As of this writing, word has just begun breaking about former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's upcoming book, "What Happened," that's due to be released in April, along with the following excruciatingly delicious excerpted teaser:
"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.
"There was one problem. It was not true.
"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the president himself."
So our old friend Scotty, who jumped ship in April, 2006, is coming out with a "They Made Me Lie" book - ironically in what will be two years since his resignation as White House Press Secretary.
Last week at this same time, the project making news could be titled "They Tried to Make Me Lie" (if it were also a book) by onetime Murdoch empire publisher-princess Judith Regan. She was fired last year from her job at the helm of ReganBooks, a spicy little subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch-owned HarperCollins Publishers. Regan has now filed a 100-million dollar defamation lawsuit saying an unspecified Pox Noise bigwig (widely suspected to be network chief and longtime GOP senior operative Roger Ailes) tried to make her lie about her affair with the shady Bernie Kerik - to protect a then-possible White House run by Kerik's close compadre Rudy Giuliani.
Two MOST interesting confessionals so far, and for all we know, Regan may eventually turn hers into a book as well. I think this is only the beginning, and not just for the married Kerik's post-9/11 paramour.
I think there's enough deep discontent within the republi-CON Party that a number of present and former partisans, and present and former Bush administration insiders will start spilling their guts in hopes of public redemption or exoneration, or perhaps even seeking greater disance or immunity from potential criminal indictment.
The C.Y.A. route would certainly be my prime concern if I'd been in any kind of proximity to this bunch. The very funky implications of Scott McClellan's recollections alone, I think, will spell trouble.
I can't help it. I'm eating this up with Mom's Hot Rolls and gravy on the side. I find myself gratified to think that Thanksgiving 2007 will find sphincters all over the GOP world tighter than new Tupperware sealing up the leftovers. Serves these people right. Thanksgiving 2007 finds the rest of America beset with sorrow, anger, and fear over the bottomless pit that is Iraq, the threat of Junior recklessly opening another such pit in Iran, the crumbling economy, our shredded Constitution, civil, and privacy rights, our standing in the world as our dollar tumbles in global financial markets, and the fact that many of us can't even trust that the toys we want to get for the kids this Christmas will be safe to play with. All of that falls on the heads and the ledger sheets of the Bush administration and its enablers all over Capitol Hill and in the media. The Democrats restored to majority status are to blame to a lesser extent for not doing enough to stop this trainwreck. But the heaviest millstones belong around the necks of Bush/Cheney and GOP friends and players. The greater sins are all theirs for lying, scheming, cheating, bullying, sneaking, and otherwise forcing their devious, incompetent, and ill-advised way on the rest of us. They should absolutely be looking over their shoulders with increasing nervousness by now. Larger numbers of the public than ever before think these people have steered us farther out in the wrong direction. Even a clear majority now voices suspicion that Bush and Cheney have committed IMPEACHABLE offenses.
These same people, in years past, have been so smug. They had all the answers and never hesitated to crow that you did not. And they didn't mind telling you why, either. THEY were the "adults" who were back in charge. They knew much better than you. They were richer, smarter, and better-connected than you, thus they were entitled to boss you around and ignore your objections. They had "THE math." It was their way or the highway. If you had the slightest tinge of a problem with that, you were thoroughly trashed and smeared as unpatriotic, traitorous, Osama-loving, Saddam-collaborating, weak, pathetic, demonic, and anti-American. Never mind that if you did have a problem with that, you turned out to be correct.
I'm sure in Thanksgivings past, many of these same folks were clinking champagne glasses over their turkey banquets, toasting their presumed "permanent majority," and perhaps secretly also feeling vindicated because their schemes were paying off and they were actually getting away with it. In their view, that meant they were right and even Divinely blessed. They may soon be issuing their own published mea culpas. I fully expect we'll hear all about it from the very sorry and very victimized Contradicta Rice, Doug Feith, Andrew Card, Karen Hughes, Alberto Gonzales, Bill Frist, Dennis Hastert, Scooter Libby, David Addington, Stephen Hadley, Colin Powell, David Petraeus, Richard Myers, Richard Armitage, Tommy Franks, Paul Bremer, Tony Snow, Dana Perino, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Governor Tom Kean, and more. We've already heard the shabby excuses of George Tenet. The media appeasers can be expected to beg your pardon also. I wouldn't be surprised to see a series of "I Wuz Had" books from the likes of Wolf Blitzer, Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, George Stephanopolous, Katie Couric, Charles Gibson, an impossibly sonorous Tom Brokaw, and a slew of network executives and editors-in-chief of major newspapers and news magazines, and perhaps even one or two newly-chastened Pox Noise figures who would rather not be associated with that unsavory group any longer. When they think the coast is clear, you'll likely be hearing from some, all, or others of these people who suddenly grew a backbone and a conscience.
So this particular Thanksgiving, I will feel a little more vindicated. The Scott McClellan scoop, already labeled a "bombshell" by CNN, MSNBC and other outlets, will stick in more than a few throats this season, and possibly ruin a few appetites altogether. Good. It's about time they eat some crow (or maybe also Tums) with their turkey. The rest of us have had nothing but crumbs and sick stomachs for almost seven long years.