July 12, 2004
JAMES TARANTO has a Plame/Wilson roundup in which he notes that yet another manufactured scandal appears to have evaporated. He also says that there was probably no law violation here, making this already weak scandal even weaker.
The real scandal, it appears, lies in the dishonesty of those who tried to create a scandal where none existed. And as The Daily Howler notes, it was always manufactured:
But we can find no place in Wilson’s book where he resolves this obvious point. If Bush talked about Africa; and Wilson only addressed Niger; then how could his observations, however valid, shoot down Bush’s larger claim? By page 328, Wilson says that, “From the sixteen words on down, in short, the whole administration line was bogus.” But we simply can’t find the place where he resolves that problem from page 313. As far as we know, Wilson never addressed that obvious point in his 487-page book, although he did find plenty of time to describe the various standing ovations he received in subsequent months, as grateful citizens, from coast to coast, applauded him for his illogic. Modestly, Wilson records their applause. But when did he learn that the “sixteen words” referred to Niger and to Niger alone? We can’t find that part of his book. Maybe some others can help us.
Did Saddam seek uranium from Niger? From Somalia? The Congo? From elsewhere in Africa? We don’t have the slightest idea. But we do know pure BS when we see it, and Wilson’s construction has never made sense. Don’t be shocked when the Senate committee tells you the things that we told you last year—things that had many readers upset, although they were right smack on target.
UPDATE: Clifford May writes: "Exposed and discredited, Joe Wilson might consider going back. . . . I don't think Joe Wilson is an evil man. I do think he is an angry partisan and an opportunist." That's very charitable of him. And Jonah Goldberg wonders what the Kerry campaign will say:
Now that it's becoming increasingly clear that Joe Wilson lied and distorted the facts in order to preen in front of the cameras and attack the Bush campaign, shouldn't John Kerry disavow the guy? After all, Wilson was more than a mere Kerry supporter, Wilson was a designated campaign surrogate and foreign policy advisor. If you troll through Nexis you'll find numerous articles about Wilson's role as a de facto campaign spokesman.
It is an embarrassment for them.