the blog of DC Drinking Liberally
You’ve probably heard about John McCain’s latest unconvincing press conference from Iraq. But I think I have to give it to Lindsay Graham this time. He outfailed McCain by far, I think (video here):
Predictably, the jist of most of Graham’s remarks was that despite the terrible violence, yes, yes, he sees major improvement in the Iraqi military forces — they are more “empowered” now.
Every person I had lunch with today… said that the Iraqi military capability was better.
By this point the Iraqi forces are probably more capable fighters than they were a few years ago, sure, I’ll buy that. Whether they’re putting those skills to good use is another matter.
But Graham realized he also had to claim the security situation had somehow improved. Time for some theatrics:
So it goes back to who we’re gonna allow to define this war, the fanatics who wanna just blindly kill people or the folks who will go back to that market 4 weeks later and will bring their kids and shop and try to do business and say thank you to us. This is a great struggle and we’ve made tremendous mistakes and we’re finally getting it right. And is it too little too late?, I don’t know but I don’t think so. So yes, in my opinion things are better today than they’ve ever been since I came here 3 or 4 years ago.
PHANTO THE PHANTOM REPORTER WHO NEVER EXISTED: Senator, were things WORSE 3 or 4 years ago when there wasn’t even half as much violence as today?
GRAHAM: Well, now WAIT. 3 or 4 years ago we didn’t have any Iraqi Security Forces to speak of. We had no elections, no Iraqi government.
PHANTO: But now huge numbers of Iraqis are dying who weren’t dying then. How is that progress?
GRAHAM [wide Lindsey Graham smile]: Phanto, you’re ignoring the issue of infrastructure. We’ve built so much more infrastructure now, schools, markets — we’ve got a new Iraqi oil law- PHANTO: But, Senator, my question-
GRAHAM [wider Lindsey Graham smile, finger in the air]: THINGS — ARE — BETTER. I am a SENATOR. That’s what I’ve seen. [pause] OK, thank you…
You may have already seen the video, but this was too good not to preserve as text.
On Wednesday, Lurita Doan, Administrator at the General Services Administration, came to talk to talk to Henry Waxman’s committee. She was there to answer questions about a meeting this past January between GSA and Karl Rove’s Office of Political Affairs, a meeting that was by all appearances a Republican strategy session held in a government agency that is supposed to be nonpartisan. That’s why this was probably an illegal meeting.
Bruce Braley (IA-1) is the freshman Democrat who led the questioning. His focus was the Powerpoint presentation on recent Congressional elections that was given at this meeting by Karl Rove’s deputy, Scott Jennings.
BRALEY: Let’s look at Slide 578. This is the slide that has at the top “2008 House Targets Top 20″. … This slide is depicting Republican targets that identify Democratic seats that are vulnerable in 2006. Isn’t that what it says? … And it shows district by district the individual what the percentage of that district was in the 2004 election and what percentage that particular Democratic candidate received in the 2006 election. Correct?
DOAN: Yes, it appears… I-I-I honestly, I have not seen this chart until yesterday, I don’t remember, I mean, I really truly don’t remember seeing this chart until yesterday when I tried to dig it up and I have to say I don’t know what the explanation was that accompanies this. I truly do not remember this part of the presentation.
DOAN: [T]his was not my meeting, I did not convene it, I didn’t run the agenda of it, I did not invite… Scott Jennings to the meeting, I actually didn’t have any involvement in it.
WAXMAN: You were just there, though.
DOAN: I did attend the meeting. Yes, I was there, and I-
WAXMAN: Well I’m going to let Mr. Braley continue.
BRALEY: You would agree that a reasonable interpretation of this slide is that it was a political attempt to try to target the top 20 Democratic candidates for defeat in 2008.
DOAN: No, I would not say that. I would say that this was a slide that says “2008 House Targets Top 20.” I do not want to try to speculate what was intended by Mr. Jennings on the slide. I really think you have to ask him.
Sniff-sniff. Smell something?
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