clap clap blog: we have moved

Thursday, June 19, 2003
"Geez, I don't know why people keep comparing us to fratboys:"

The vice president’s chief of staff and national-security adviser, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, wants to be anonymous, but his personality sometimes gets the better of him.

A SLIGHT FIGURE, taciturn like his boss, Libby rarely speaks to reporters. But in April at a White House Correspondents Dinner after-party, he challenged various well-known journalists to drink tequila shots. Most of the reporters got drunk; Libby did not. “Typical Libby,” says Rep. Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio. “He was probably doing every other one.”

Doing tequila shots competatively: cool when you're, say, under 35 and working some random job. Not cool when you're an aide to the Vice-President. (Especially when you look like Scooter.) I like a man who can hold his liquor, but I get a little suspicious of a man who likes to show off how he can hold his liquor. Also, it don't got shit on ottering.

The article is generally a bit misguided otherwise; it tries to blame Scooter for pressuing the intelligence folks to come up with the now-partially discredited WMD evidence, but it doesn't have any particular evidence, and I don't think the question of whether the administration as a whole was desperate to find some info and that the intelligence folks catered to that--at least a wee bit--is really up for debate. Pegging it on an aide is a good way of shifting blame, but it's not really looking like any heads are going to roll for this anyway. This bit, however, is just dumb:

One senior administration official says: “You’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t. Before 9-11, the criticism was that we failed to connect the dots. Now the criticism is that we did connect the dots.”

You're not damned if you do and damned if you don't--we just want you to get it right, asshole. That's why we employ you. We don't care whether you get it wrong by overestimating or underestimating, because each can be highly problematic in different contexts. We just want you to get it right. Sheesh. This is not unimportant stuff.