Thursday, April 19, 2007

Self-Exemplifying Mendacity

[Gonzales] acknowledged that he should have been "more precise" in discussing the firings and said that "my misstatements were my mistakes." But he said, "I never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people." WaPo 4.19.2007
You did, though. That is exactly what you have been doing. And you sure did a lot of it at the hearing today.

Here is but one example: Under questioning from Senator Brownback (R-KS), you gave a rundown of the supposed performance reasons behind the firing of each of the eight fired US Attorneys. In most cases, your answers lined up with prior explanations from Justice Department officials, particularly answers given by Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General William Moschella when he testified last month. [Here is the hearing transcript (WaPo); here is the video webcast (Real Player). Do you see, General Judge Gonzales, how the facts don't just slip into the mist anymore?]

You made a notable admission, though: You said that Bud Cummins was asked to step down just because the department wanted to "put a qualified individual in his place." In other words, there was not a performance reason for his firing. You said that you had failed to indicate that in your January testimony before the Senate because you were "confused," since Cummins had first been asked to resign in June 2006, not December 2006. Apparently you were still confused in February, because you were upset about Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty's testimony that there had been no performance reasons behind Cummins' firing.

OK, my point is not to digress on that one example. You know very well, sir, a number of other such examples [here's one]. For each one of them, we the media can write hyperlinked paragraphs like the above, drawing from collections like this and this and this. It really doesn't work anymore to rely on the ol' memory hole.

So your statement that you never sought to mislead or deceive the Congress or the American people is a wonderfully self-exemplifying utterance. I like self-exemplifying things, and I am always pleased to point them out.

Counterfactually illustrating the counterfactual. Brilliant. Like Nixon's 'not a crook.'

Is it that you didn't seek to mislead or deceive, yet ended up doing so through no fault of your own, while seeking to do some other purportedly legitimate thing?

Let me guess: you were seeking a permanent GOP majority. You maintain that this is a legitimate pursuit because, once achieved, any questions about legitimacy are moot.

Not that? Is it legitimate because only the GOP is uniquely made up of the serious, mature people in our society who understand the hard facts about the world and how to steer the Ship of State; and that anything necessary to get and maintain the rule of the ship is therefore justified?

Well then, what? Maybe you were not seeking to play word games, and are merely engaged in a shameful bit of self-exemplifying mendacity.

Well, here's hoping y'all don't achieve that permanent majority.

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TPM timeline

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