Howie Gets … Something

If you remember the late, great site Media Whores Online, you might remember the place of honor held there by Howard Fineman. He was 2002 (I think) Whore of the Year for his sickeningly obsequious commentary on George W. Bush. Had MWO remained online, he might well have taken the title in 2003 and 2004 as well. He certainly earned it.

Today, although Howard is far from shrill, he seems to be struggling toward some approximation of reality.

Calling the Abramoff scandal “the biggest influence-peddling scandal to hit Washington in recent times,” Fineman lists winners and losers. Among the losers:

The Republican Party: The semi-conventional wisdom here is as follows: Some Democrats are likely to be stained by ties to Jack Abramoff; polls show that the public has a plague-on-both-your-houses attitude toward wrongdoing in Washington; therefore, the GOP won’t be hurt in November. I don’t buy it. Republicans are the incumbent party in the Congress. They are led by a less-than-popular president in the traditionally weak sixth year of his presidency.

Wow, that’s … right. Way to go, Howie.

Other losers are the DeLay-Hastert Crowd — “Look for a major shake-up in the GOP House leadership, perhaps soon.” — and the Bush-Rove White House — “Rove will have a hard time claiming now that he didn’t know how the machinery worked, especially since Abramoff himself became a major contributor to Bush’s re-election campaign.”

Among the winners is a third-party reform movement. I found this startling until I read Fineman’s description–

If Sen. John McCain doesn’t win the Republican presidential nomination, I could see him leading an independent effort to “clean up” the capital as a third-party candidate. Having been seared by his own touch with this type of controversy (the Keating case in the ’80s, which was as important an experience to him as Vietnam), McCain could team up with a Democrat, say, Sen. Joe Lieberman. If they could assemble a cabinet in waiting — perhaps Wes Clark for defense, Russ Feingold for justice, Colin Powell for anything — they could win the 2008 election going away.

McCain-Lieberman. Gag. Feingold-Clark … now, there’s a ticket.

Still, Howard has shown other flickering moments of promise. In another recent Newsweek column, he wrote,

As controversy rages over the war in Iraq, as his poll numbers shrink to new lows, as American leadership of the West comes under fire in ways we haven’t seen in a generation, you have to wonder: who does Bush think he is?

Now he asks.

These are murky times in Washington, when getting a handle on the truth seems especially difficult.

What do the Pentagon generals really think about how Iraq is going? Are Condi Rice’s denials about CIA torture camps to be taken at face value? What is really happening in Iraq outside the Green Zone in Baghdad? Bush and Vice President Cheney insist that American forces will stay until the war there is “won.” But what do they really mean by victory?

Hey, Howard, see that door over there? The one marked “Shrill”? Go ahead and walk through it. You know you want to. We’ll be waiting for you on the other side.

10 thoughts on “Howie Gets … Something

  1. Two power vacums in the region would not be a good idea, better do a Schiavo on him, send Frist and Jebbie over to stand vigil too.
    I think I’ll print up a batch of bumper stickers to sell to our law makers …..”I Don’t Know Jack”. Should be a good seller.

  2. Rove doesn’t knowanything about Abramoff, yhey just accidentally have the same administartive assistant Susan Ralston

  3. Anyone remember the Archer Daniels Midland [ADM}scandal of the nineties? Kurt Eichenwald of the NYT wrote a book about it called “The Informant”. Unfortunately for the public, Eichenwald in his book left out some pertinent information about eventual decisions within the Justice Department and the FBI which protected the politically connected ADM, allowing ADM to mostly get away with their ill-gotten profits and suffer only a slap on the wrist. James B. Lieber in a his later book, “Rats in the Grain”, exposes the information about the Justice department which Eichenwald chose to leave out of his book.

    I think of Lieber’s apt phrase “rats in the grain” when I read about the Abramoff network, the K Street project players, and the shenanigan-schemers of Rove et al as they burrowed into and fed upon our public institutions. Especially after getting ADM story fleshed out in Lieber’s book, I sure do question whether a Justice department prosecution led by a women previously known as a Republican operative and whose actions will be overseen by ‘torture memo Alberto’ could be actually going after the rats. Might this investigation end up protecting as much of the rat population as possible?
    will ever by

  4. The cold cold reality is that the Abramoff scandal is going to live simply because, like coingate, it makes other scandals worse. DeLay is in more trouble now. More over, he’s the first rat to truly dessert the sinking ship, a key sign that it finally is coming down to the fin du regime moment.

  5. “Fin du regime moment” jndeed.
    Bush was obviously circling the wagons this morning after the meeting with numerous former secs. of defense. There was an eerie “feel” to his words and a strange look about him as he seemed to cry out for help.
    With his flagging poll numbers, the growing outrage over domestic spying, the Iraq war going south, Sharon on the slab, and the widening Abramoff scandal,Bush is like a rodent in the coils of an anaconda….every exhalation sees a tightning of the grip.
    This is a perilous time for our republic, a wounded beast is a dangerous beast.
    We live in “interesting” times.

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