THE END OF MARSHALL: It's been a tough few weeks for Talking Points Memo, among the vanguard in the BUSH LIED!! offensive.
Much of the argument began crumbling two weeks ago and his heroic truth teller Joseph Wilson the Brave has become Joe Wilson the "misattributed, misquoted." (The Man on this story is Tom Maquire and his unbeatable Just One Minute blog).
Then Sandy Inadvertent Berger drops on him like a house. You'd think some rethinking of the narrative would be in order? Nope. Only laments...
There's no doubt this Berger imbroglio has thrown the Dems seriously off message for a couple days. And it's embarrassing.
You got it? Don't worry about anything but the "message." Never mind the substance of what he was actually doing, just lament the fact that your side is taking its lumps over it.
How to describe this mindset? Corroded? Narrow-minded? Parochial? Unserious?
FILE UNDER, TYPICAL: African genocide? The UN's on it:
Secretary-General Kofi Annan said on Wednesday Sudan had made little progress in curbing marauding militias in the Darfur region but diplomats said sanctions against Khartoum were unlikely.
When the West beats its brow, ten years hence about the hundreds of thousands killed in the Sudan, remember:
One problem is strong lobbying by the Arab League and others against any kind of sanctions or military intervention. The United States has had difficulty getting a resolution adopted that would threaten a travel and arms ban within a month if Sudan did not comply.
British Ambassador Emyr Jones Parry, who along with Germany and France, wants an immediate arms embargo on Sudan, said the council was not yet considering sanctions. Diplomats said Russia, China, Pakistan and others were opposed to even a weapons embargo.
Oh - and Sudan is on the UN Human Rights Commission...
STOCKING STUFFER: So did Sandy Berger stuff documents in his socks - or not?
Reports CNN's Bob Franken: "Three law enforcement sources talking to CNN's Justice Department correspondent Kelli Arena [say] they saw him, or that he had been seen, putting documents in his socks."
Sock-gate! The whole case doesn't hinge on this bulging sock, of course, but it certainly would put the lie to the "inadvertent" defense trumpeted uncritically by the New York Times.
It's important to keep in mind the political context of when the alleged stuffing occurred. It was prior to Berger's testimony before the 9/11 Commission. Thanks in large measure to Richard "The Saudis are Cleared for Takeoff" Clarke and a media eager to pin the blame for the attacks specifically on Bush's negligence (logic or truth be damned), the atmosphere was highly partisan and it was essential for Berger to portray Clinton's national security team as aware, alert and on the ball.
Berger presented the brief for the defense of Clinton's eight years:
Our administration, with growing intensity, gave the fight against terrorism the highest national security priority....Both President Clinton and Vice President Gore were deeply committed to preventing and fighting terrorism at the highest levels; both played a hands-on role in articulating our counterterrorism strategy and both pressed our agenda with foreign leaders on innumerable occasions.
Now we find that in preparation for his defense, he's secreting out documents. Why? The only reasonable conclusion was that there was documentation that ran contrary to the "we were on the ball" narrative so essential to shoring up that crumbling Clinton foreign policy legacy.
Time will tell, but don't look to the major investigative news outlets to do any heavy-lifting. Instead, go to the Source.
MARSHALL, INEXPLICABLY INCONSISTENT: On Sandy Berger's stuffed pants, Josh Marshall has no answers:
"The whole thing seems almost inexplicable."
Ah yes, so hard to discern motive! Considering Berger's stellar anti-terror record, I'd be hard pressed to see why he'd want to secret out sensitive files in his jock strap.
Better to wait for all the facts. It's a fine policy. Too bad it's selectively applied.
After all, this is the same Marshall who is so quick to ascribe the worst motives to the Bush Administration. In no instance does Bush & Co. merit such a studious benefit of the doubt that Sandy "Is-That-A-Classified-Memo-In-Your-Pocket" Berger is getting.