Thursday, March 25, 2004

I wanted to give Clarke's testimony a chance to settle in my head before commenting on it, but still even with all the other remarkable things he said (the shocked silence after his "By invading Iraq the president has greatly undermined the war on terrorism" line, his remarkable destruction of Big Jim Thompson when Thompson challnged his credibility, etc. etc.) it was his opening apology that continues to play in my head.

The political tone of the Bush administration has been one of complete partisan polarization. Everything, to the Bush mob, is about politics; which means every criticism of them, in their minds, is a political attack. That back and forth has dragged political discourse into the mud; the early negative ads this campaign aren't exceptional, there were an inevitability.

And with a few simple words Clarke opened up the space to change that. His heartfelt statement didn't just give him the moral high ground to face his the Pub attack dogs; it created a moral high ground that the Bushies thought they had eliminated. It blasted through all the rancorous partisan bickering and returned the focus to where it should have been all along -- 9/11, and how to make sure something like it never happens again.

In short, Clarke's statement gave the country a chance to start moving forward again, gave us a chance to start truly healing.

Of course Big Media doesn't get this, not yet. Check Google News -- most of the stories are about how much damage this does to Bush, or about how Bush (with Condy Rice taking point) are counter-attacking.

None of these people matter. I do not, at this moment, give a flying fuck about Rice or Bush or Rummy or, God bless him, even Clarke, and I especially don't give a flying fuck who is scoring points off who. What this commission should be about, what Clarke made clear with his opening statement, is that this moment should be about what happened that awful day, what didn't happen in the months leading up to it that might have given us a chance to prevent it, and what has happened since to ensure it never happens again.

And the more the Bush mob tries to make it about their re-election, the more they are going to get sucked down into a tar pit of their own creation.

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