The International Writers Magazine
: REALITY CHECK 10.29.05

James Campion

A Top Republican Informant Comes Clean

The Republicans are reeling. The president has gone haywire and his approval ratings are plummeting by the week. Iraq has now out-lasted the First World War in length and busted every American military record for burning money.

Congressmen and senior advisors are being dragged into court like common thugs and the Supreme Court is filling up with Bush drinking buddies. The Second Term curse is in full swing. If there ever was a time to tap into the heart of the Grand Old Party, it is now.

This means trolling the depths with our resident snitch insider and all-around character sniper, Georgetown. Usually, even during what Georgetown dubbed "the dark days of Democrat rule" it was easy to get an audience with him. The last few years, when the Religious Right started running the country and propaganda freaks rode high in the saddle, he called weekly. Things were sunnier then. His team was on top, running wild inside the Beltway. But times are hard and informants and anonymous sources have become dangerous liaisons. Jail is a tough place to network, even for the initiated.

We were supposed to speak two weeks ago when the controversial Harriet Miers’ Supreme Court nomination hit the streets and conservative pundits began having the kind of fits that can shake the foundation of the Republican power base. The last time a Bush president pissed these people off ("Read my lips, no new taxes.") it cracked the party in two, creating the mad troll Ross Perot and ushered in the Minister of Fun for eight years of gut-busting mayhem. But Georgetown did not return my repeated calls. The word I got was that he was angered by my "Karl Rove Is Innocent" campaign, which has obviously gone belly up. Turns out he wasn’t ready to bark.
Late Monday, 10/17 he began to bite.

James Campion: Let’s start with the Miers’ pick for Supreme Court. Do you, or more to the point; major conservative voices in the party take this as a slap in the face or another maverick move by a political loose cannon? Georgetown: Firstly, I do not speak for the party as a whole or the conservative wing of the party directly. Let’s get it on record that I am more representative of the fiscally conservative wing. Our problems have been with this bloated federal budget, these insane immigration laws, the irresponsible Medicare Bill, and this cash-draining nation building this president promised would never be. I understand this president is in office because of the fine work done by Rove and his cronies getting out the religious vote. Rove is the one who has to worry that these people were assured of a challenge to Roe vs. Wade this time around if they put his boy back into office, but that is not our concern.
jc: So you think the extreme right wing of the party is being unfair to Bush?
GT: I didn’t say that. What I’m saying is that if you’re talking to me my problems surround a different argument with this president. Now, if you were to get into the social conservative wing then these people have a right to feel betrayed. There are dozens of qualified judges on the right who have solid records of being strict constructionists and social conservatives. This is the base of the party now, like it or not, and they put this administration back in office. The president owes the base. He has chosen to ignore it. That is going to be a problem for the 2006 mid-term elections and therein lies the big problem, because, as it is, you lose seats in a second term mid-term election anyway. This mess has made it more difficult for key candidates next fall, period.
jc: It’s hard to nail down what conservatives I’m talking to. You have the religious conservatives like Jerry Falwell, then there is the religious/isolationist/fiscal conservatives like Pat Buchanan, then there is the intelligentsia conservatives like Bill Krystal and George Will, and then the wacky hick conservatives like Charlie Daniels and Rush Limbaugh.
GT: I’m not sure if I’m supposed to respond to this, but I will say Will’s comment that "Miers’ has had seven decades on this planet to form an opinion, but there is no record of it" was brilliant. I thought Stephanopoulos’ head was going to explode.
jc: If you need a question, I’m asking: The conservative outcry on Miers is what then? Is it primarily with Bush’s hubris or a sense that there are no political guarantees for the Right to Life crowd?
GT: There is a sense that this president has chickened out, yes. He does not want a fight on this nomination. The Hurricane disaster put him on this spiral downward and he bet his legacy on this goddamned war. Now he watches the Social Security battle fizzle out and tries to avoid further political bloodshed with this god-awful nomination.
jc: Most of these people pot-shotting Bush are hawks. Are you telling me you didn’t defend this war now?
GT: The war is not the issue; it is the post-war plan or policing of this state with no end that is draining the party politically and crippling the country financially. I’ll tell you this, if you want to see bloodshed, let this maniac raise taxes to pay for all of it. Then you will see a revolt.
jc: What are you really worried about? The Democrats can’t take advantage of anything. This president was a fucking mess last summer and survived it all swimmingly. You think Hillary Clinton has a prayer to be president? Did you see the poll numbers for 85% of this nation? These people are living in the dark ages. Caligula would beat Hillary like a rented mule in 30 states.
GT: To hell with the executive branch. We could jail a Democrat in the White House if we keep congress. This is what Bush is banking on now. Think about it. You think one of these Republican Senators will fail to vote for Miers? I’d like to see it. Maybe one will protest. The rest is history.
jc: With Rove in court daily, you have any idea who is advising Bush now on whether he should consider rescinding the nomination?
GT: You’re kidding, right? Have you paid no attention to this man’s track record? There are so many yes-people in the White House now it would be hard to convince the president he isn’t the Sun God.
jc: Is Scooter Libby or Karl Rove going to jail? Because that would be boss.
GT: I think they’ll be indicted and then quit. It will be difficult to convict these people.
jc: Has there been a second term for a president in our lifetime where administration lackeys didn’t get indicted or investigated for something or other?
GT: No.

Update 10.29.05
James Campion: Before we leave these hearings on the Valerie Plame outing case, there is mounting evidence that this thing leads all the way to the vice president’s office. Now if Cheney is implicated, in any way, do you think he should stand trial or resign?
Georgetown: Cheney is untouchable, simply because that is precisely the type of finger pointing that has gotten this administration in the drink in Iraq in the first place. Private discussions about enemies of the White House do not have to end up in the NY Times or on Robert Novak’s desk. This is Libby’s problem, not Cheney’s.
jc: Yes, but Judith Miller has already testified to the fact that Cheney used her and the Times as his personal proving ground for war propaganda as far back as 2002. The vice president planted pro-war evidence in the Times in mid-week before a Sunday appearance on "Meet The Press" and then pointed to the story as proof of his argument for invasion. He did this directly and not with Scooter Libby’s assistance or even knowledge to my understanding.
GT: Look, no one is denying Cheney used his connections in the press to get his agenda out there. Who doesn’t do that? You’re using me right now?
jc: I’m a pissant columnist for a weekly music magazine. This is the Vice President of the United States, who, by all accounts now, hijacked the presidency from a hick dunderhead and rushed this nation into war on flimsy evidence. And all the time this shit-heel is telling everyone how swimmingly this will all go. I think he predicted a month or two of clean up, didn’t he?
GT: If you want to waste time trying to build a case against a vice president pushing White House policy on eager reporters you’re going to sound naïve. You know how this works. It’s the same reasons you and I both forgive a conniving little snake like Rove his underhanded weapons to protect the president. You know how this game works.
jc: Granted, but what about the effect of the Cheney implications on the party?
GT: Our plans for ’06 include spin doctoring this mess away from the candidates. That’s all that counts now. And there’s no sense speculating on this case until the prosecutor comes clean anyway. Look, no one with half a brain thinks Cheney didn’t leak this info on Plame to his assistants. It really begins with Cheney, but it should have also ended there.
jc: In the end, this whole thing is just a manifestation of the war propaganda machine that began three years ago. There was a sense of fantasy being conjured from the Cheney people, through Rumsfeld’s camp and pumped into the Oval Office. It is well documented that there was a fight about making a case for war in the White House, was there not? I specifically cite Woodward’s book that quotes Bush copiously on his indecisiveness regarding the CIA’s "slam dunk" case for invasion.
GT: I’ve been trying to tell you this for years now. This myth about Iraq being Bush’s war is nonsense. It’s his in the literal sense that he is commander-in-chief and makes the final call, but I think the president, and I’m pretty sure this is the accepted reality among top level Republicans, was less a hawk than some voices in this administration, yes.
jc: I smell a Reagan sneak-out-the-back-door plan here. Bush is going to claim responsibility even though he was duped, right?
GT: I don’t agree. Let’s leave it at that.
jc: What is your take on this crazy shit former Colin Powell assistant, Larry Wilkerson recently said about his time at the State Department. He described the war contingent at the White House as "cowboys", Condoleezza Rice as "weak" and he said of former defense undersecretary Douglas Feith: "Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man."
GT: I can’t speak for Wilkerson. He said those things at a closed affair for the New American Foundation.
jc: This may be, but he told the group that the president repeatedly told the state department to "screw off" when they piped up against the bogus CIA intelligence, and I quote, "What I saw for four-plus years was a case I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to the national security decision-making process." The guy is on record, I saw the tape, as saying the American people should know that the State Department doesn’t exist anymore.
GT: If that’s Wilkerson’s take, then you should take it up with Wilkerson.
jc: But my point of bringing it up to you is to get your opinion on if Wilkerson has an axe to grind or was bumped like Richard Clarke or is some kind of loose canon. Too many of these former government officials have piles of dirt on this presidency and this war.
GT: He’s Powell’s boy. Powell was unhappy about fronting the war effort to the UN, which the Bush Administration did not have and obviously does not have any use for. State has to eat shit for war presidents. It’s as old as the hills. This doesn’t mean Wilkerson doesn’t have a point, whatever that is, it just means it is common griping.
jc: Look, fuck the war and the recent past, let’s just say that this nation’s ability to negotiate in the foreign arena has been paralyzed. Is that a fair statement?
GT: No. It is not fair, and it’s only broached because it backs your argument for a Kerry Administration to wipe the slate clean for Bush’s sins. It was not going to happen. Forget my affiliation with the party and know this; if this president, and not his successor, does not clean up this mess in Iraq, it will drag on for a decade or more. When Nixon was handed Viet Nam, he was handed a fixed game. Kerry would have failed miserably and then shrugged his shoulders and blamed the whole thing on Bush. But he did not run as an anti-war candidate. That was Howard Dean’s trip and he was pummeled in a Democrat primary. These Democrats do not get to cry foul now. They’re as guilty as Bush.
© James Campion Oct 29th 2005

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