Wednesday, December 6, 2006, will certainly go down in history as the day the media used the release of a bipartisan report on the Iraq war as a way to thoroughly lambaste the president of the United States. Though this wasn’t surprising, the glee on the faces of those reporting what should have been bad news was quite striking.
For those that were interested in seeing such a merry bashing, MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country” was certainly the place (video available here, hat tip to NRO’s Media Blog). Host Scarborough nicely set it up for his guest, “Meet the Press’s” Tim Russert: “And I asked Tim if he ever remembered seeing a president undercut in such a dramatic way.” Russert didn’t disappoint: “I`ve never seen anything like this, Joe.”
You’ve never seen anything like this, Tim? How about impeachment proceedings against the former president? Might that qualify as a president being undercut in a dramatic way? What about a televised deposition of said president? Or a lawsuit filed against said president? Or the televised Iran-Contra hearings in the '80s? Or the televised Watergate hearings in the '70s? Did these historical moments in your lifetime conveniently elude your memory in your zeal to bash this president, Tim?
Regardless of the answers, Russert continued:
You know, this morning the president said that this report was a, quote, "tough assessment." That`s an understatement. Just look back less than a month ago. Donald Rumsfeld was the secretary of state. (SIC) The president said, “We`re make making progress.” The vice president had said within the year that we`re in the last throes of the insurgency, and that we were winning. And now you have a secretary of defense incoming saying, We`re not winning. You have the former secretary of state for Bush 41 saying we -- in effect, we`ve traded one nightmare for another, Democratic congressman Lee Hamilton saying this may not be enough, Leon Panetta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff saying this is one last chance. And I think the most important thing said today, Joe, was that we may not have lasting influence on the ground, that events may, in fact, be slipping away, that we may be heading to complete anarchy and chaos, that this may not be enough. This was such a sobering report -- powerful, passionate, bipartisan, unanimous. I think it`s not only a wake-up call for the Bush White House but I think for the whole country. We are in very difficult straits.
The dour duo weren’t done, for Scarborough set Russert up for another presidential whipping: “Do you get the feeling that this panel is trying to send a signal to the president, Hey, this is your last chance, this is your best hope for saving yourself, saving your legacy, and saving this country from further bloodshed?”
Russert again hit this softball out of the park:
One of the most senior Republicans in Washington, D.C., said to me, It`s over, and we have to convince the president that it`s over. We need to find a way for the Congress to come together, more important, the country to come together, and lock arms and say what`s in the best interest of the United States to deal with Iraq. I mean, when you sit here and read these recommendations, it is numbing how passionate, how bold they are and how bleak the assessment is.
Yes, Tim, and it’s also numbing how passionate and excited you seem to be about all of this. After all, if the assessment was so bleak, why were you smiling as you reported it?