Lying Liars and the Hypocritical Lying Jackasses with Bowties Who Tell Them

I’m reading the transcript because I unfortunately missed what was surely a great Crossfire: Al Franken hosting and Joe Conason as a guest. Conservatives really just make shit up. And they’re hypocrites. Here’s Carlson ably displaying both at the same time:

CARLSON: Well, there’s mixed news, speaking of, to report this week on retired General Wesley Clark’s quest to become a vice presidential nominee. The good news is, he’s found a candidate who will take him. The bad news is, that candidate is Howard Dean….We can’t know whether Clark will succumb to Dean’s charms. We do know that Dean could use Clark’s help. During an appearance on “Meet the Press” earlier this summer, Dean admitted that he had no earthly idea how many American troops are currently on active duty or even, in an ideal world, how many there should be. Wesley Clark could help with that.

Dean said he couldn’t answer the question, but when pressed did not say that he had no idea but rather that, “I know there are roughly between a million and two million people active duty”–a true if somewhat imprecise statement that in no way resembles Carlson’s characterization (see the addendum).

Now for the hypocrisy. Dean also took heat for saying that there were 135,000 troops in Iraq when the true number was 146,000. Last week, Bush said that, “We’ve got about 10,000 troops there, which is down from, obviously, major combat operations.” At the end of major combat operations in Afghanistan, we had 3,000 troops there (see Milbank or Somerby). Dean off by less than 10%; Bush off by more than 300%. No wonder Carlson has to lie.

Here’s the ending of the Carlson-Franken exchange:

CARLSON: Do you think it is kind of important to know that if you’re running on a platform that includes fixing the United States armed services?

FRANKEN: Well, I don’t know if the platform is about fixing the American armed services. I think the American armed services did a damned good job in Iraq and a damned good job in Afghanistan, frankly. [Carlson repeats his question and they move on].

Shortly thereafter, they bring on Joe Conason. More highlights to come.


Addendum: What Dean really said (if you think my ellipses are hiding something, or just for fun, read the whole MTP exchange). [Note: reformatted to improve readability]

Russert: Let’s talk about the military budget. How many men and women would you have on active duty?

Dean: I can’t answer that question. And I don’t know what the answer is.

[…talks about the need for more troops in Afghanistan]

Russert: But how many troops—how many men and women do we now have on active duty?

Dean: I can’t tell you the answer to that either. It’s…
Russert: But as commander in chief, you should now that.

Dean: As someone who’s running in the Democratic Party primary, I know that it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of one to two million people, but I don’t know the exact number, and I don’t think I need to know that to run in the Democratic Party primary.

Russert: How many troops would have in Iraq?

Dean: More than we have now. My understanding is we have in the neighborhood of 135,000 troops. I can’t tell you exactly how many it takes. General Shinseki thought that we were undermanned by roughly 100,000.

[…talks about how he’ll have advisors]

[…debate over the merit of Russert’s seeking exact numbers]

Dean: I know there are roughly between a million and two million people active duty. I know that we don’t have enough people in Iraq. I know that General Shinseki said that we need 300,000 troops to go into Iraq, not 200,000 troops, and I’m prepared to assume the burden and have the proper people around me advising me on what needs to be done.