Monday, March 20, 2006

Score one for the MSM

Man, do I love a good "tell" -- what poker players call the way a player unconsciously betrays attempts to bluff or mislead his opponents.

Craig Crawford pointed out a big one tonight on Countdown. Dubya made the mistake of taking some real questions from real people in Cleveland today, and some guy (probably now on his way to Gitmo) nailed the Preznit but good:

"Mr. President, at the beginning of your talk today you mentioned that you understand why Americans have had their confidence shaken by the events in Iraq. And I'd like to ask you about events that occurred three years ago that might also explain why confidence has been shaken. Before we went to war in Iraq we said there were three main reasons for going to war in Iraq: weapons of mass destruction, the claim that Iraq was sponsoring terrorists who had attacked us on 9/11, and that Iraq had purchased nuclear materials from Niger. All three of those turned out to be false. My question is, how do we restore confidence that Americans may have in their leaders and to be sure that the information they are getting now is correct?

THE PRESIDENT: That's a great question. (Applause.) First, just if I might correct a misperception. I don't think we ever said -- at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein. We did say that he was a state sponsor of terror -- by the way, not declared a state sponsor of terror by me, but declared by other administrations. We also did say that Zarqawi, the man who is now wreaking havoc and killing innocent life, was in Iraq. And so the state sponsor of terror was a declaration by a previous administration. But I don't want to be argumentative, but I was very careful never to say that Saddam Hussein ordered the attacks on America."

As Crawford pointed out, this is probably not how Bush's team scripted out the 2006 explanation. Sure, they were careful to avoid letting Bush make the connection that explicit back in 2002-2003. But that's the point we've been making on the left for more than three years - that they skated right up to the line and did everything they could to create the impression among the bubbasphere that Saddam damn near flew the 9/11 aircraft by remote control, without quite saying it.

Recall the brilliant comment about Dubya from Graydon Carter on Real Time a few weeks ago: "He speaks to the audience as if they're idiots. I think the reason he does that is because that's the way these issues were explained to him."

Thus the unambiguous tell -- when W.P.E. says he was "careful" not to say Saddam ordered the attack, he's parroting his instructions ("Never explicitly say Saddam ordered 9/11") -- and admitting that he was told to say everything but. When he admits he was careful not to say it, he's admitting how hard he tried to imply it -- that it really was all a con.

Too subtle for most of the media, perhaps. But kudos to Olbermann and Crawford for making the point.


Blogger <-<--esoder<---<----<----- said...

Nice Read on the tell. I didn't see it, was he wearing another bulging sport coat?

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of the jacket bulge, one thing I've never understood. Wasn't this at the first debate when idiot boy was making all those faces and in general acting like a spoiled 5 year old who wasn't getting his way. I mean, how anybody could have watched that display and still vote for him is way beyond my understanding...and if he really was communicating with someone why they didn't tell him to cut it out and act like a grown up. I mean really, it was quite a show and I couldn't believe any adult would behave like that on television...let alone a President.

3:32 AM  

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