Wednesday, January 25, 2006

There is one problem for the White House and the right wing everytime they find a 'Republican-lite,' a moderate or even a conservative Democrat who they can point to as 'proof' of divisions within the Democratic party, and heap praise on, holding him up as a 'statesman for his party,' or 'a real leader,' or some such tripe. That makes them look 'moderate' to Faux viewers (see, here is a Democrat who's OK) even while visciously attacking the rest of the Democratic party. And since the retirement of Zell Miller, their favorite example of a 'statesmanlike Democrat' has been Connecticut's Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.

The problem for them is this. Every now and then, even a guy like Lieberman will stand up and say something they don't like. And having just showered him with praise, they can't write it off as a 'partisan attack,' meaning they have to either stonewall and hope it goes away, or try and block it without their usual personal attack, slash-and-burn tactics.

And so it goes today. Lieberman offered a damning assessment of the White House's reaction to the investigation of what went wrong during Katrina.

The White House is dodging questions about Hurricane Katrina response and has instructed other agencies to join it in fending off investigators, Sen. Joseph Lieberman said on Tuesday. The White House denies the allegations.

Lieberman went so far as to suggest that the Department of Homeland Security is trying to kill the investigation.

"My staff believes that DHS has engaged in a conscious strategy of slow-walking our investigation in the hope that we would run out of time to follow the investigation's natural progression to where it leads," Lieberman said. "At this point, I cannot disagree....

"There's been no assertion of executive privilege, just a refusal to answer," Lieberman said. "I have been told by my staff that almost every question our staff has asked federal agency witnesses regarding conversations with or involvement of the White House has been met with a response that they could not answer on direction of the White House...

"They have opposed efforts to interview their personnel, and they have hindered our ability to obtain information from other federal agencies regarding White House actions in response to Katrina," the senator said.

He also made it clear that he is holding the White House responsible for potential consequences for this behavior.

Lieberman added that any stonewalling during the investigation could lead to more lack of preparation as a new hurricane season begins in June.

Now, for a moment ask yourself what would happen if the Senator leveling this accusation was John Kerry, Harry Reid, Mary Landreau, or even Hillary Clinton. You would hear cries of 'partisanship,' or 'politicizing the tragedy,' echo from the chorus on the right. But they can't do that when Joe Lieberman says it, without looking like the total hypocrites they are.

Now, having poked his head out on our side for a moment, I fully expect Joe to pull it back in and go back to 'Bush's favorite Dem' mode. But it's nice to know that even Joe can get disgusted by the tactics of this administration.

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