Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Let the Distractions Begin 

Rovegate has certainly had legs, when it comes to news cycles. To the great consternation of wingnuts everywhere, this story isn't going away, even surviving the London bombings; in fact, outlasting them as a top of news item.

The more desperately they try to change the rules or redefine the terms, the more things come back to bite them in the ass, and my god, the MSM even seems to be doing some of the biting for once...And etc. The latest snafu, of course, was Bush's pronouncement that anybody in his administration who committed a crime would be fired -- followed almost immediately by everyone but the NewsMax bunch pointing out that the previous criteria was that anyone who leaked would be fired. Or, as several news outlets actually put it, "This statement seems to be Bush's gift to Karl Rove..."

Which brings us to this morning's rumor, that W will announce his Supreme Court nominee tonight, and there is "intense speculation" that that nominee will be Judge Edith Clement of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans. I read "intense speculation" to mean "anonymous sources tipped off reporters," and translate that latter to mean "the administration wants to float this rumor early."

Whether Bush announces Clement tonight or not, a couple of things are obvious. First off, Clement doesn't seem to be a rightwing ideologue. In fact, like Bush, she seems to be an utterly non-descript personage; merely competent (or not) and not much else. If this is, indeed, his nominee, then he's running scared (or stupid) and has totally backed off his promises to the far-right religiofascists. But there's also the possibility that Clement is not the nominee, for several reasons.
  1. Karl Rove is trying to save his ass. What better way than to leak out a phony name so that, when the real nominee is announced, anyone in the press who insisted Clement was the person will be somewhat discredited, and the Mighty Wurlitzer can take up the tune of "you can't believe rumors in the press, you need named sources."

  2. A big part of the day could be wasted in discussion of Clement's record, analysis of the meaning of the nomination, etc., only to have it become useless when the real announcement is made. (Although, in that regard, the strategy seems to have failed. Other than a couple of mentions of her name as a possibility, I haven't seen a lot of discussion otherwise.

  3. The surprise would be bigger than the story; that is, the switcheroo in the speech would kick the story to the top of the news chain, helping to distract from everything else.




BOOGA!!!! BOOGA!!!!!!

After Bush's speech does even worse in the ratings than his last one and his approval ratings dive a couple more points, expect the "non-specific but credible rumors of major terrorist activity" coming to a mall or tourist attraction near you.

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