It seems like forever ago, but it was only this past Sunday (today's Thursday) that the Times was trumpeting "secret" tapes:
On the front page of this morning's New York Times, you'll find David D. Kirkpatrick's "In Secretly Taped Conversations, Glimpses of Future President." Calm down, no one's been taping the cast of Jack & Bobby.
This involves George W. Bush and his spiritual partner, Doug Wead. This overly long article notes that they established the authenticity of the tapes before moving forward with the article.
But I'm just not overly excited by this story. (Which I've heard elsewhere several times.)Did Bush know he was being taped? Did Wead only reveal the most innocent tapes? Did Bush speak a little differently (no mention of "asshole" in the sections on the media) due to the spirituality of the person involved.
The White House isn't denying the tapes. Which is strange since they attempted to smear Paul O'Neill with charges that he'd gotten copies of his White House records through questionable means. (Hearing an NBC reporter repeat that false charge on Today may have been when I finally gave up on TV news.) (All a reporter had to do was read the introduction to Ron Suskind's The Price of Loyalty, not even a chapter in the book, just the intro and he would have been able to explain where the recrods came from.)
Today Wead's back and Bully Boy's got him. Or rather the tapes. David D. Kirpatrick's "From Psst to Oops: Secret Taper of Bush Says History Can Wait" wastes more of our time. (Does the "D" in "David D. Kirpatrick" suggest a failing grade?)
Bully Boy's at one of his worst moments in public opinion polls (whatever happened to that so-called "mandate?" Ah, yes, Jeff Gannon.) and along comes Doug Wead with selected highlights of the Bully Boy. Hate gays? Heck he practically loves 'em. It's just sop for the evangicals.
The Times ran with these valentines to the Bully Boy because it was right up their avenue. (Surely the transcription could not have been done with more love and care than if Elisabeth Bummiller had fluffed them herself.) And so many got excited as though it were the second coming of Rosemary Woods, only this time, the 18 minutes were intact!
Now Doug Wead isn't sharing. He's taking his marbles and going home . . . after he hands the marbles over to the Bully Boy.
Isn't the whole thing just another press manipulation by the Bully Boy and his keepers?
If the tapes were genuine (no, I'm not doubting that it's his voice on them) was it ever news to begin with? Did the Bully Boy not know he was being taped? Would the Bully Boy open in front of someone close to his father to begin with? This was, at best, a snake oil politician on the campaign attempting to woo the evangical who'd helped his father.
Were there revelations somewhere on the tape? It's doubtful but not impossible. But now it's moot (or now even more moot) because we learn in this morning's paper that they're being gifted to the Bully Boy.
From today's Times:
Among the disclosures Mr. Wead made about the tapes was that he was keeping some additional undisclosed ones - coyness that prompted furious speculation this week about what else or who else they might contain since Mr. Bush and Karl Rove, his top political adviser, both had many conversations with Mr. Wead over the phone during that time. One of the tapes he played for The Times included what he said was a brief conversation with Mr. Rove.
Furious speculation indeed. A lot of time wasted on statements that he thought Al Gore was a liar, that he thought Clinton disgraced the oval office and that he thought GLBT (or at least the "G" part) weren't so bad. Did any of that make him look that bad?
He's played the have it both ways card on the gay issue many times. Trashing Bill Clinton (and Al Gore) shores up his base at the same time. (Honestly, it was like a Best of the Bully Boy. Was Karl Rove at the boards mixing this release?)
Let's ask again about why if these were so damn damaging that something wasn't done to stop them from being reported on (and this was old, old news when it made it into the Times) or to clamp down on Wead. In Kirkpatrick's own article, James Dobson of Focus on the Fool is bragging about having a heads up before Sunday's article.
Now is there anyone who believes James Dobson can keep a secret from the Bully Boy? Anyone want to argue Dobson knew something Karl Rove didn't?
Anyone willing to guess that maybe the press (and the Times specifically) got played? (Though one can argue, the Times was played willing since this is what passes for "hard-hitting" reporting at the paper of late.)
And anyone else bored, if not tired, with this non-story. Picture it, even if you weren't currently the governor of a state and planning your run for president, are you really going to open up about your crimes and misdeamnors to some old guy that's friends with your parents? Common sense on this one should have caused the onanistic orgasms to be tempered.
Smelling "scoop" where there's just "poop," Kirkpatrick rushes in with this:
As news of the conversations was about to be published last weekend, the White House warned some of its evangelical allies who might be mentioned on the tapes.
Get it? They knew.
Mr. Wead declined to comment on any contact with the White House about the tapes, but said the White House had not pressured him.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Mr. Wead, sounding noticeably fatigued, said he decided to change course because of "the perception that I have tried to exploit the tapes and make money off of it and hurt the president and had all kinds of agendas."
"This seems like the best thing to show that isn't the case," he said.
"Nobody believes my story that I saw him as a figure of history," Mr. Wead said with exasperation. "I guess I have got a story that is unbelievable to people."
If nobody believes your story, it's because your story was a little too pat to begin with. If nobody believes your story, it's because people with genuine stories to tell (Richard Clarke, Paul O'Neill, Sibel Edmunds, . . .) all find themselves attacked and undermined. Well ahead of time. And, no surprise here, Dobson and the administration knew about the tapes ahead of time.
If nobody believes your story, Mr. Wead (except the Times which is still front paging it), it's because it's as though you were on the road for nine months with Van Halen and the most concrete thing you came back with is that once, many years prior they may have smoked pot.
"David Lee Roth is a deeply spiritual person who really cares" might have gone over well in Tiger Beat circa 1984, but anyone who'd put their Barbie dolls away already wouldn't have believed it for a moment. (No verification has yet been made of the rumors that Kirkpatrick still plays with his Malibu Barbie Beachhouse.)
But didn't everyone (not just the Times) waste all our time with this non-story?