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Monday, July 18, 2005

Podesta Mehlman and Rove, Oh My!

I was hoping to post some humorous rant about the ESPY Awards, my Saturday evening on the town with some friends from high school San Francisco, or the Ying-Yang Twins new album…ok, maybe not the Ying Yang Twins’ new album (although I’ve only heard good things from NPR about United States of Atlanta). Yet the appearance of John Podesta and Ken Melman on Meet the Press yesterday was simply too unbelievable and nauseating to ignore. It’s Scott McClellan’s job to make shit up, and frankly you’ve got to feel sorry for the little guy after he was lied to by Karl Rove (‘Oh, no Scotty, I never would mention the name of a political enemy’s wife to discredit his accurate and truthful findings which contradicted the nonsense Condi and I cooked up in Dick’s bunker to invade Iraq’). But GOP Chair Mehlman’s litany of absurd distortions--from claiming of course if the roles were reversed and someone in the Clinton admin would have pulled a Rove and leaked a CIA operative’s name, the GOP certainly would not be calling for their resignation, to stating Scott McClellan would really love to reporters but because he’s a great American he simply won’t comment on an ongoing investigation—were sickening to the point of being impressive. The best part of the interview occurred when Russert pinned Mehlman after Kenny stated his complete confidence in the government’s special prosecutor investigating the leak, John Fitzgerald. Russert inquired as to whether, due to his complete confidence in Fitzgerald, Mehlman would back any indictments or charges Fitzgerald files. Mehlman’s response was comic—despite a line of questioning that could not be more direct, he failed to provide Russert with a straight answer. This is the man who runs the party which dominates every branch of government—thankfully, Russert made him look like a fool. If such intellectual and inquisitional domination could be backed by the same coercive force the Bush administration may exercise, we would be in much better shape.

My lack of political affiliation stems from a deep distrust of politicians—all politicians. If I do not appreciate a friend, significant other, parent, teacher, or boss telling me what to do under coercive threat, a stranger who desires taking away such freedoms is usually little more than a thief. Mehlman and Podesta personified this perfectly—they wield great power and somehow are of a high social standing garnering respect, yet unlike actual politicians they didn’t even have to gain public trust (as misguided as it often is) through a democratic vote. Mehlman’s legacy is still unknown, as the outcome in Iraq and the recovering American economy may color the Bush presidency in a positive light. Yet if his performance on Meet the Press is any indication, his future holds—at best—a Begala-esque turn on Crossfire. John Podesta certainly fared much better than Mehlman simply due his ability to attack rather than defend the egregious actions of Karl Rove. Podesta, however, was the wrong man to go on the offensive about the “character” of one who lies—and certainly looked out of place making accusations about Rove lacking “honor” because he is not stepping down from his post. Podesta currently runs the liberal Center for American Progress, a group whose focus recently has turned to increasing Liberalism (not liberalism) on campus. This may seem absurd--anyone who has spent anytime on a college campus, regardless of their political affiliation, knows the ivory tower is, for better or worse, a bastion of liberal thought. Every professor I had at UC San Diego was notably liberal, yet it is important to note this did not affect any of their teaching performances. A Bush joke here or there was the worst of it--even in political science and political theory however, not once did I encounter a professor hostile to more conservative political view despite each and every professor I took courses from being very liberal. Indeed, the attempts of the Center for American Progress to radicalize campus politics and churn out partisan hacks in the Podesta/Begala mold is more detrimental to higher education than a few conservative professors--a lack of free thought and adherence to the party line cannot be more beneficial for students than the thought of hearing a Nancy Pelosi joke once in a while.

Podesta’s other claim to fame is overseeing the Clinton white house in the midst of the Lewinsky scandal, and his continued service after Clinton’s amazing testimony (“that depends on what your definition of is is.”) shows his acceptance to leech off the teat of the American public as chief of staff for a man for whom truth is always malleable and—often—an allergen. Podesta’s comments on Meet the Press, especially calling for Rove’s resignation, rang hollow coming from a man whose professional relationship truth is at best tenuous. Remaining in the employment of a team leader at Wal-Mart who is a liar and a womanizer is understandable, as the employee has a family of five to feed. I do not know the immediate and material concern—other than a lust for and love of power—which would cause Mr. Podesta to remain in the employment of such a man such as Bill Clinton.

Critics may charge such a view of politics—and politicians—is naive. Living in California—and exclusively metropolitan areas—federal policy decisions have little impact upon my life, thus a critical view of politics as a profession is a convenience not afforded to many in America. Federal policies certainly reverberate to local levels, and politicians—especially those in the executive branch—receive Bennifer-like media coverage. Somehow their exploits are deemed more intellectual than those of Paris Hilton, yet rewarding friends and bashing enemies seems as praiseworthy—and significantly less stimulating—than creating a home-made porn.