Bill Frist Just Blew a Gasket

I’m not sure how or why I have this feeling, but I suspect this statement by Senate Majority Leader Bill ‘Cat Killer’ Frist’ is going to backfire:

I am troubled by these charges. I am equally troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their former service as a government insider with access to our nation s most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on September 11, 2001. I am troubled that Senators on the other side are so quick to accept such claims. I am troubled that Mr. Clarke has a hard time keeping his own story straight.

Frist’s statement then lurches further into pathos and outrage before winding down with

In his appearance before the 9-11 Commission, Mr. Clarke’s theatrical apology on behalf of the nation was not his right, his privilege or his responsibility. In my view it was not an act of humility, but an act of supreme arrogance and manipulation. Mr. Clarke can and will answer for his own conduct but that is all.

Now, I take it most of you have seen Clarke’s apology, so judge for yourself.

These attacks take me back to DiIulio’s sudden retreat, despite the fact that his charges were on paper in a letter to Ron Suskind, from his statments about the lack of any substantive policy-making apparatus in the White House (DiIulio coined the term “Mayberry Machiavellis”). Paul O’Neill also did a similar, though lesser, backtrack. Contemporaneous to both, I remember a lot of speculation about why they were retreating on their stated positions. Some were humorous (Rove must have pictures of DiIulio naked with a goat, and the like.) Some were more serious (speculation that the full right wing media and establishment would come against them if they failed to amend their positions.)

Then, all the reminiscing over DiIulio and O’Neill brought to mind Ron Suskind’s account of the time he visited Karl Rove:

Eventually, I met with Rove. I arrived at his office a few minutes early, just in time to witness the Rove Treatment, which, like LBJ’s famous browbeating style, is becoming legend but is seldom reported. Rove’s assistant, Susan Ralston, said he’d be just a minute. She’s very nice, witty and polite. Over her shoulder was a small back room where a few young men were toiling away. I squeezed into a chair near the open door to Rove’s modest chamber, my back against his doorframe.

Inside, Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him. I paid it no mind and reviewed a jotted list of questions I hoped to ask. But after a moment, it was like ignoring a tornado flinging parked cars. “We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him!

For those unsure of what Rove could possibly have meant by that last bit, keep your eyes on Richard Clarke.