August 22, 2005

The frenzy to save Jamie Gorelick's reputation...

Seems to have backfired. It sure drew my attention to the problem of her serving on the 9/11 Commission. I had barely even thought about her at all until a lot of people started viciously attacking me for quoting an op-ed that supposedly misstated the scope of her role as a government lawyer. The overreaction to what was at most a minor error prompted Captain Ed to marshall the facts against Gorelick: here and here.

UPDATE: Juan Non-Volokh:
Time will tell whether there is anything to the Able Danger story -- and whether or not the "wall" inhibited information [sharing] -- but it is clearer than ever that Jamie Gorelick should not have served on the 9/11 Commission. Whether or not she deserves credit or blame for the "wall" and other Clinton Administration policies, her presence on the commission undermines its credibility, and provides undo fodder for political partisans and conspiracy theorists.
Exactly.

26 comments:

somross said...

I have no idea about the validity of charges about Gorelick; I have heard her as a speaker, and she was quite impressive. But Juan should have warned about "undue [not "undo"] fodder."

Elliott said...

You see, Ann's not right wing; she just repeats right wing talking points.

- She voted for Gore
- She believes in gay rights and women's choice.
- She didn't trust Kerry and he looked and spoke strangely so that's why I voted for Bush.
- She voted for Feingold.
- She's afraid that Lefties are way too mean to be ever associated with them.
- She's criticized Rebublicans.

How could someone with all those defenses be a wingnut?

TopCat said...

Last week when this story first broke I told Kevin Drum putting Gorelick on the 911 commission makes as much sense as putting E. Howard Hunt on the Warren Commission.

Aaron said...

Hey Elliott:

Are all right wing "talking points" off limits? Who decides what is a point made in the public discussion that doesn't qualify as "talking point" and what does qualify as a "talking point". I assume if it is on the Rove memos sent every morning to Fox and Rush then this is a talking point. Suppose the point is germaine and interesting? Suppose it is informative or sparks further thought? Are we all doomed to wingnuttery if we sometimes find ourselves in agreement with arguments that are labeled "talking points"? If Rove says the sky is blue and I find it a particularly nice shade then what am I to do without becoming wingnutted. We are doomed! Better to never ever ever agree with any arguments marshalled by the enemy - it gives them credibility! We are falling into the wing nut trap if we ever give the political opposition a moments respect or agreement.

By calling Ann a wingnut for making the arguments she likes to make you are possibly driving her to the right. Or perhaps you will shame her into cleaning up her act. Good luck with that!

Ann Althouse said...

No one is sending me talking points. I mostly just read the news and then write up ideas I have that add something new (or are amusing). If I thought it was just someone else's talking point, I wouldn't post! But I'd be happy to receive talking points from both sides, which I would react to and blog about if I had something new to add. I don't think I've EVER been a blogger who just repeats someone else's points. If you think I am, Elliott, I'm going to say you're not really reading my blog. I do original work here, and if you don't give me credit for it, I'm going to think YOU're a hack. Did some "get Althouse" talking point go out?

Bruce Hayden said...

I like the analogy of putting E. Howard Hunt on the Warren Commission.

The problem (as I pointed out in the cited article on VC) is the appearance of impropriety. Because it is possible that her role both at DoD and DoJ may have affected the ability of our government to put together the dots in preventing 9/11, I would suggest that the 9/11 Commmission lost credability in this matter. In particular, I think that the question of whether the "Wall" affected intelligence gathering and coordination was not really adequately answered, and there is the possibility that her presence on the Commission had some impact on that.

In other words, her participation on the 9/11 Commission, because of her role in those agency, and as a high level Clinton apointee, potentially reduced the credibility of the Commission's report.

Elliott said...

I won't get into a long discussion. I didn't call Ann a wingnut; I suggested that Ann has numerous defenses to the charge that she is a wingnut. I apologize to her for thinking that she was just repeating the smears about Gorelick that have been circulating ever since Ashcroft misrepresented things in his testimony to the Commission. Obviously, her error was original and amusing; not just a repeat of the earlier smears circulated by others.

As to driving her into the right wing. Well, one of us is deluded about where she already is.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004
So why don't I just admit it?
http://althouse.blogspot.com/2004/12/so-why-dont-i-just-admit-it.html

Aaron said...

Elliot:

Touche! My only riposte is that I think Ann has not so much moved right as the center itself has shifted. L'etat c'est Ann.

Aaron said...

Try this again:

Elliot,

Touchet! My only riposte is that Ann has not so much moved right as that the center itself has shifted. L'etat c'est Ann.

Thersites said...

her presence on the commission undermines its credibility, and provides undo fodder for political partisans and conspiracy theorists.

Uh, that's a pretty silly example of circular logic, as it was the partisans and wingnuts whining about it in the first (and only) place. They still are alone in this. Good luck with the new ridiculous blogswarm, though.

Yevgeny Vilensky said...

Thersites--

Your argument makes no sense... Imagine a judge sitting for a case in which one of the parties is represented by his former law partner. Now, in theory it is possible for him to remain neutral. But unlikely. Is it an appearance of impropriety for the judge to sit on the case, or is the appearance of impropriety caused by the local paper bringing attention to the matter?

Daryl Herbert said...

The talking points people were using against Ann were that her posts were innuendo and not based on "facts."

Fact is, Gorelick was deeply involved in what she was supposed to be investigating on the commission--namely, government anti-terror efforts before 9/11.

I happen to think that fact is very important. I think that she should have resigned. I thought that when the issue first came up, when she had plenty of opportunity to do so. I'm not alone on this.

Certain people want to decide which facts are important and which should be ignored. Anyone who wants to publicize a fact they don't like is accused of operating outside of "the facts."

Daryl Herbert said...

Thersites: the circular logic claim doesn't fly here because we're not saying "Gee, we were wrong--but the fact that we raised the issue proves that we should have raised the issue." That would be circular.

Gorelick was too involved in what she was supposed to be investigating to have sat on the commission. Her role regarding the commission should have been "witness" and nothing else. There's nothing circular at all about that complaint.

That our complaint is gaining traction in certain media (namely: right-wing magazine editorials and the right-wing blogosphere) serves to bring attention to our point (and its underlying merit).

When you strip political debates of facts, down to nothing but ideological side-taking (incessant fretting about whose "talking points" a fact belongs to) and raw power (as measured by how much attention an argument gets), then things might look circular, because a small amount of attention can lead to more attention.

ziemer said...

thersites: you are just ridiculous.

and yevgeny, the truth even worse than the example you cite: it's not as though gorelick was a judge and and one of her former partners is an attorney representing a party to the case.

its like gorelick is judging a conspiracy trial, and everyone knew (or at least everyone who reads the wall street journal knew) she was part of the conspiracy.

Charles said...

Ouch... and so it comes out that Rush Limbaugh was right so long ago. Gorelick is either incompetent or viciously anti-American, but should not have been on a commission investigating herself.

bill said...

Charles - what are you talking about and what’s your point?

A more general question is I can’t understand why people get so offended by an opposing opinion. Is it just human nature or have we been conditioned that argument only have two sides? Therefore, if someone isn’t on my side then they’re saying my position is wrong meaning I’m stupid SO they must be stupid for disagreeing with me! Die, scum die!

A decade or so ago, I was having a conversation with a friend who is generally more conservative than I am. I made some negative comment about Bush1 and he immediately shot back, “well, Clinton isn’t any better!” First of all, I wasn’t talking about Clinton and I didn’t have a high opinion of him either. So we then had to discuss that not liking A does not mean liking B. If I say chocolate sucks, that doesn’t mean I’ve sold my soul to the vanilla lobby; likewise, expressing concern that maybe Gorelick wasn’t the best person to serve on the committee doesn’t mean I’ve offered my firstborn to Bushitler and RoveCo, Inc.

Lileks covers much of this in his current Screedblog

Please get this straight: there are no marching orders. There is no RoveHive to which everyone buzzes in the morning for a scrap of Royal Jelly we carry off to our blogs. If there sometimes appears to be a unaniminity of subject matter, that’s because certain ideas appear, flower, bloom, take root, and spread. Like kudzu. But kudzu is not taking orders from some dark shrouded mastermind made entirely of cellulose and chlorophyll. If you honestly think that everyone to the right of Noam Chomsky is part of some dark soulless cabal dedicated to extirpating all photons and replacing them with negative matter that strips the flesh from the bones of the poor, I envy you; the world must make perfect sense.
...
That shorter email that called me a name in the second sentence? Read it. Rocked my world. Completely changed everything I believe. Had to curl up in bed with my George Bush handpuppet and have a dialogue for half an hour before I stopped whimpering.

Thersites said...

the circular logic claim doesn't fly here because we're not saying "Gee, we were wrong--but the fact that we raised the issue proves that we should have raised the issue." That would be circular.

But that's exactly what you're doing. Oh, not you personally. More the collective "we" you yourself refer to, as well as the original silly post. The search to find any reason whatsoever to discredit the Commission began the instant Bush said he didn't want it. If Gorelick weren't on the commission you would have had to invent her. As indeed, you did.

Witness:

its like gorelick is judging a conspiracy trial, and everyone knew (or at least everyone who reads the wall street journal knew) she was part of the conspiracy.

Thanks for making my point about the ridiculous conspiracy-mongering.

Bruce Hayden said...

But that is my point about the appearance of impropriety. Because she was on the Commission, we don't know that there wasn't a conspiracy of silence in regard to her role in both DoD and DoJ in erecting barriers to sharing of intelligence that might have prevented 9/11.

It is her presence on the Commission that really raises the possibility of a conspiracy, and, thus, is why she shouldn't have been on it in the first place.

Indeed, I would suggest that you are engaging in the circular logic, assuming that because the 9/11 Commission didn't find her Walls to be relevant, that they, indeed, weren't.

We are left with a Commission report that didn't really address this policy, from a Commission that had the architect of that policy sitting in review.

Thersites said...

It is her presence on the Commission that really raises the possibility of a conspiracy, and, thus, is why she shouldn't have been on it in the first place.

No, it is the presence of the Commission that has raised the desire to taint it with a conspiracy.

Yevgeny Vilensky said...

Thersites--

You still haven't answered the relevant argument. Which causes an appearance of impropriety, a judge sitting for a case in which his former law partner is representing one of the sides, or the local newspaper bringing attention to the matter? I'm interested in your opinion (which means no namecalling please).

Thersites said...


You still haven't answered the relevant argument. Which causes an appearance of impropriety, a judge sitting for a case in which his former law partner is representing one of the sides, or the local newspaper bringing attention to the matter? I'm interested in your opinion (which means no namecalling please).


It isn't a relevant argument, because the 9/11 Commission was not a "judge" arbitrating between "sides." The fact that you see it as such is pretty revealing.

I really honestly don't think very much of you. Your preposterous "arguments" about Media Matters prove pretty conclusively that you are committed far less to objective discussions of actual events than to partisan fairytales.

Yevgeny Vilensky said...

It isn't a relevant argument, because the 9/11 Commission was not a "judge" arbitrating between "sides."

Well it is a relevant argument if one of the points of the commission is to find out who was responsible for some of these problems. Besides, your argument is a generic argument about the apperance of impropriety only being the result of attention to the matter not the actual matter itself. Your argument would apply to the judge situation as well.


I really honestly don't think very much of you.

Well, consider the feeling mutual. Though unlike you, I do not resort to personal attacks. I guess this is your MO, and I think it reflects correspondingly on you. And by the way, if you still think that Media Matters does not spread talking points for the Democratic Party then you are the one in fantasy land.

Charles said...

Bill, So terribly sorry to leave you in the dust of my laughter about this. Gorelick was the problem. Limbaugh has been railing about this for months. No one wanted to listen and now the 9-11 commission is coming apart because the problem was on the panel to protect herself. Next time I will try to be more long winded and blow hard about my quip.

Thersites said...

if you still think that Media Matters does not spread talking points for the Democratic Party then you are the one in fantasy land.

Prove it.

If you can, they're out of business.

Besides, your argument is a generic argument about the apperance of impropriety only being the result of attention to the matter not the actual matter itself.

No it isn't.

My argument is that as soon as the 9/11 Commission was proposed and Bush opposed it, wingnuts started making up conspiracy theories to discredit it.

The silly Volokh post merely says that as long as you believe real hard and click your heels three times, you don't have to read the 9/11 report and think about what it says about Bush.

bill said...

Charles - OK. I think it was your second clause that confused me. With “but should not have been” I thought you were arguing that someone who was incompetent or viciously anti-American *could* be on the commission and that made no sense to me. Or it was sarcasm that completely escaped me. Also, I’ve never lasted more than 5 minutes with Limbaugh; just don’t find him entertaining.

I also don’t think it’s likely that “Gorelick is either incompetent or viciously anti-American.” Well, she may have been incompetent, I just don’t know enough to say. My thinking is more in line with Instapundit in that only after the fact did we realize just how wrong our policies were. I do agree she should have been a witness and not a committee member.

Yevgeny Vilensky said...

Thersites,

Do you think that the Christian Coalition or the FRC spread Republican Party talking points?

I certainly think that they do.