Thursday’s New York Times has another good story on the political maneuvering around the Valerie Plame scandal, though still next to nothing on the substance.
The Bush administration pursued a two-track political strategy on Wednesday to minimize the damage from the criminal investigation into the disclosure of a C.I.A. officer’s identity.
The White House encouraged Republicans to portray the former diplomat at the center of the case, Joseph C. Wilson IV, as a partisan Democrat with an agenda and the Democratic Party as scandalmongering. At the same time, the administration and the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill worked to ensure that no Republicans in Congress break ranks and call for an independent inquiry outside the direct control of the Justice Department.
“It’s slime and defend,” said one Republican aide on Capitol Hill, describing the White House’s effort to raise questions about Mr. Wilson’s motivations and its simultaneous effort to shore up support in the Republican ranks.
“So far so good,” the aide said. “There’s nervousness on the part of the party leadership, but no defections in the sense of calling for an independent counsel.”
“Slime and defend.” Have you ever heard such a perfect description of the Spin Machine in action?
It’s got a certain ring to it. I hope the Republicans will grow tired of having “slime and defend” repeated back to them over the next year or so.
I promise to do my part.