Scandal, “The Warrior.”  For Mr. ReddHedd who had (has?) a huge crush on Patti Smyth… 

At what point do major media outlets wake up and realize that the Bush WH sees them as a bunch of easily manipulated pets in toothless “bi-partisan” sheep’s clothing?  Via Jay Rosen:

When Goldsmith suggested going to Congress, he thought he was expanding White House power by adding hugely to its legitimacy without sacrificing much at all. But this is where the radical part in the Cheney project emerged. The very act of seeking broader legitimacy diminished the president’s power, giving it away, according to Cheney and Addington….

Addington once expressed his general attitude toward accommodation when he said, “We’re going to push and push and push until some larger force makes us stop.”

…Goldsmith points out how great a departure was made under this president.

The Bush administration has operated on an entirely different concept of power that relies on minimal deliberation, unilateral action, and legalistic defense. This approach largely eschews politics: the need to explain, to justify, to convince, to get people on board, to compromise.

…You can’t run a press system that assumes the President feels a need to explain himself to the nation when the White House is running a system in which no such need is felt. Just one of the many ways in which by declining to develop a more savage narrative the press failed to figure out what was happening to itself under Bush.  (emphasis mine)

As Atrios pointed out yesterday, the failure to recognize Bush’s tossing normative ethics to the wolves also applies to politicians and their staffers.  You simply have to look at a single voting misstep — the Southwick fiasco — to see where the “trust in the ethical core of the GOP” gets them. 

GOP leadership’s sole focus is consolidating power and forcing through ideological extremism, but they will dress it up in pretty words and fake hurt when you call them on itAny lie, any manipulative process, any means whatsoever is justified if it gets them what they want.  As Digby says, “They are not seeking to create a new constitutional order because of some philosophical belief. They are seeking it solely in order that they maintain their power.” 

Transparency is important, but so is a hefty helping of skepticism.  As Dan Froomkin so aptly put it last year, you cannot be too skeptical of people in authority.  Consider this lesson one for journalists and active citizens of all stripes.  

As a lawyer, I learned not to take anything my clients said at face value — there was either evidence to back it up, or it was treated with healthy skepticism.  Why?  Because human beings have a habit of saying whatever it takes to get their asses out of hot water, and they sometimes lie or shade the truth to make themselves look better.  You think presidents and politicians are any different from your average con man?  

Perhaps it is too much to ask that the Beltway press (with a few admirable exceptions) admit they have been rode hard and put away wet.  The vaunted fourth estate has been had like a bunch of hayseed rubes in a slick city game of three card monty run by a President in a PR codpiece.  (And so has the political establishment on whom real oversight and accountability depend.)   I used to think it was a sort of battered press syndrome — now I see it as a sort of symbiotic ratings relationship, playing along with false PR narratives like a pack of hyenas scavanging scraps left by a maurauding predator.  No real work required to keep feeding the beasts.

You wonder why I get up every morning and blog?  Because that has to stop.