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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Saturday, June 14, 2003

One For The Folks At Times Watch

Sheryl Gay and Adam Nagourney of the NY Times tell us that "Democrats Split on Challenging Iraq Arms Hunt".

We hope to come back to the broader topic, but what holds our attention right now is this bit:

...a number of Democrats, including an adviser to Mr. Graham, said they believed that the uncertainty surrounding the weapons could fundamentally damage Mr. Bush.

...But the risks for the Democrats are high. Mr. Bush has dismissed suggestions that he manipulated information, and Republicans were quick to try to paint Democrats as unpatriotic for raising such questions.

Emphasis added. We have certainly heard this before [example], but now the NY Times has picked up the story. What we expect next is some suporting evidence. Here we go:

In announcing the closed-door hearings, Senator Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused Democrats of using the war for political gain. And Senator Bill Frist, the Republican leader, said in an interview: "I think it's political posturing. Democrats are politicizing a very important issue."

OK, here comes the supporting evidence. Oh, wait, that was it! The Republicans are saying that Democrats are using the war for political gain, and politicizing it. Ahh, when Republicans say that Democrats are politicizing Social Security, is that an attack on their patriotism, or their sincerity? When Democrats said Bush was using the war to political advantage last fall, was that an attack on his patriotism?

My check of Google shows that the Frist quote seems to be a NY Times exclusive. The Roberts quote seems to be from the press conference described here, and runs as follows:

Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Select Intelligence Committee, charged at a news conference that some Democratic criticism of the intelligence, and the administration's portrayal of it, had "been simply politics and for political gain." He added, "I will not allow the committee to be politicized."

Mr. Roberts promised that his committee would examine the intelligence used in prewar analyses of Iraqi weapons programs and test their accuracy. The Armed Services Committee has already begun closed hearings.

But he rejected Democrats' calls for a "joint, formal investigation," saying that the phrase implied that there was "something dreadfully wrong."

Since the NY Times is reporting that the Democrats are pondering the political pros and cons of making these charges, are they also questioning the Demcrats patriotism?

In future stories, a bit of evidence to accompany the DNC talking points would be nice.

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